Thursday, September 18, 2014

Assembli DIY - Folded Paper Animals

I came across Assembli DIY via an Etsy email and knew immediately I would feature the fun paper animals that Joop Bource, a product and set designer in Breda, Netherlands, creates. Because who wouldn't love this face?!

Folded-Paper-Hippo-Kit
 
Longtime readers will remember how fond I am of paper crafting kits, and Joop's wall trophies seem like they would make for enjoyable crafting sessions. I'm picturing a colorful lineup as playroom or nursery decor.

Folded-Paper-Bear

A purchaser's review mentions that putting together the hippo is just like assembling an IKEA flat pack. So there you go... the animals are completely doable once you make up your mind to get started.

Folded-Paper-Giraffe

The giraffe is the newest member of the menagerie. Kits are shipped in cardboard tubes along with appropriate adhesive and a burnishing stick to sharply crease the folds.

Folded Paper Rhino Kit

If you prefer immediate gratification, make a batch of pretty paper crystals. They're available as downloadable templates.

Folded-Paper-Crystals

In addition, Joop has created templates for a folded airplane and boat, and previously, this cool/creepy skull. He mentioned to me that he's considering a new, downloadable skull, and be on the lookout for a simple Christmas tree template and a larger tree kit coming this autumn.

Folded-Paper-Sapiens

As usual, this is not a sponsored post - I just liked what I saw when I visited Assembli DIY, which is also on Facebook.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Upcycled Woven Home Decor - BluReco

In response to a recent post about woven paper baskets, a commenter asked whether I was familiar with BluReco, saying she thought I would like it. She wasn't kidding! I was astounded by the variety of woven objects on display, not to mention each item is made with upcycled paper and precise workmanship.

woven-recycled-paper-basket-detail 

BluReco is the blog and Etsy shop of Alicja Pełda, who grew up in Poland and now lives in the U.K. In fact, the blog is written in Polish - translate.google to the rescue.

woven-recycled-paper-laundry-basket 

I was curious about Alicja's interest in paper weaving, so wrote to ask her several questions that she kindly answered in excellent English.

woven-recycled-paper-basket

When did you begin paper weaving?

It all started over three years ago... I was always fascinated with paper and its usage, but I had never done any type of basket weaving. I was studying printmaking at the time and one day after class I was browsing the internet looking for interesting paper art works. When I saw a paper basket I said to myself, “No way, that is impossible…” but my curiosity didn’t let me ignore it. As soon as I made my first basket I knew it would become the greatest passion of my life. 

woven-recycled-paper-lampshade

I use materials that would normally end up in the bin - newspapers, magazines, catalogues, etc. My friends, family, and people who know what I do collect them for me and I give them a new life... so weaving with paper combines traditional weaving methods with caring for the environment. That is really amazing.  

woven-recycled-paper-clock

rolled-recycled-paper-earrings
  
You are able to shape, edge, and add interest to your woven objects in many different ways - each piece looks so stylish and modern.  It's impressive that you were new to weaving when you began working with paper!

Weaving baskets was something completely new for me. I learned the basics from instructions found on the internet. All the rest I have taught myself by experimenting.

paper laundry basket BluReco Aa

What do you enjoy most about the process?

I love being surrounded by hundreds of paper tubes and thousands of sheets of paper! I really do. :)  

upcycled-paper-supply

The whole process is fascinating, but what I like the most is when the idea I had in my mind becomes real. For example, it is a wonderful experience to see paper change in shape from a phone book into a wall clock. Weaving with paper is also relaxing for me to do. 

rolled-paper-tubes

What type of glue do you prefer when rolling paper straws?

I use an ordinary glue stick. I love the amazing effects that result from rolling different types of paper. These tiger-striped tubes were rolled from leaflets advertising a new bakery - all kinds of bread on a black background.

woven-recycled-paper-waste-basket

woven-recycled-paper-basket

I noticed a post on your blog that pictured you at a craft market... any upcoming craft shows and/or do you have an online shop? 

I haven't done craft shows very often, but I plan to do more next year. What started as a hobby a few years ago now is becoming a full-time job. I have a small Etsy shop at the moment, BluReco, but I’m planning to sell my paper weavings in a few other online shops. 
 woven-recycled-paper-placemats

BluReco is also on Facebook.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Flow - Rolled Paper Art by Amy Genser

The magnitude of a site-specific rolled paper installation, Flow, that artist Amy Genser recently completed is outstanding, and it is located right here in northern Delaware.

rolled-paper-art-flow

The 45 x 10 foot mural - the largest piece Amy has created to date - hangs in a brand new wing of the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. Undoubtedly, stressed families will be drawn to the soothing cool colors, graceful curve, and textured surface.

rolled-paper-art-flow

A bonus is that Flow can be seen from outside the building... the colors coordinate perfectly with its exterior. I'm looking forward to visiting in person - the expansion will officially open in October, but on Saturday, September 20, the public is invited to tour it during Nemours Community Day.

nemours-alfred-i-dupont-hospital-for-children-new-wing

Amy and a group of assistants assembled Flow in four sections, working in her Hartford, Connecticut studio - you can imagine the number of hours spent at floor level! She transported the sections to the hospital, supervised the week-long installation, and lastly filled in additional coils where needed.

rolled-paper-art-flow-in-progress

rolled-paper-art-flow-in-progress

In case you missed my earlier post about Amy, you might like to read this description of her creative process.

I usually work with Thai Unryu [mulberry paper] but I have hundreds of papers in my studio from all around the world. I treat the paper almost as a pigment, layering colors one on top of the other to create different colors. My pieces are about a foot wide. Then I roll one layer on top of the other in all different thicknesses. I seal the roll with acid-free, archival glue stick, and then cut the long piece into sections with scissors or pruning shears. I have pruning shears of all different sizes to accommodate different widths. 

The rolling and cutting process is actually pretty quick. At this point I could pretty much do it in my sleep. It's the composition/editing process that usually takes the longest. I paint my surface, either canvas or paper first, with acrylic and a lot of gel medium. Then I place my paper pieces on top and manipulate them until I have a satisfactory composition. It's like putting a puzzle together, only I don't know the final picture until I see it. I roll my pieces accordingly as I develop and build the piece. It's a back-and-forth process. The paper and the piece lay on different tables in my studio. I attach the paper onto the canvas with PVA once I have the pieces where I want them.

rolled-paper-art-amy-genser

Above is a close-up of Amy's typical coils as seen on her new website. She is also on Facebook where you can view more photos of Flow's construction and installation.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Quilling by Victoria Brewer Pure Designs

Many people around the world enjoy paper rolling - more and more all the time it seems - consequently there's a long list of quillers whose work I admire. One such person is Victoria Brewer of VBPureDesigns in England. She is known for perfectly constructed Christmas ornaments with gilded accents that sparkle on the tree. Recently Victoria developed a new line of ornaments made with an unusual, but pretty color combination. Move over traditional red and green... orange, pink, turquoise, lime green, and silver are jockeying for position!

Mystery Tool

I admire Victoria's flawless technique, in fact, it's so precise I was curious about the type of quilling tool she uses, so wrote to ask and was surprised by her answer - she doesn't use one! We chatted back and forth... Victoria has lots of good advice so I compiled our conversations into an interview - settle in with a cup of tea and enjoy.

Quilled-Ornament



How did you begin quilling and have you been doing it for a long time?

I have always loved working with paper, and as a child I devoured origami books, but didn't actually start working with quilling paper until autumn 2011 when I began playing around with ideas for eco-friendly Christmas decorations. This was inspired by my lack of enthusiasm over mass-made plastic baubles I'd seen in a shop. I stood in front of them thinking in a few years when these colours and designs go out of fashion, these will be lying in landfill and they'll probably still be there in 100 years time! 
  
Quilled-Star-Ornament

Not surprisingly, Victoria chooses her materials carefully... glue is natural latex combined with dammar (a plant resin derived from the meranti tree, grown in sustainably managed forests in Sumatra), rosemary, and orange oil. She applies eco-matte varnish and uses organic cotton thread for the hanging loop.

What drew you to quilling and what do you most enjoy about the process?

Three things were probably the prime motivators for beginning quilling over any other craft: the eco aspect, the great range of colours, and the cost. The thing that I find most enjoyable about quilling, other than the act of creating, is photographing the items afterwards and seeing the results. It often leads me to view a piece at an angle I might not have seen otherwise, and often inspires and informs my next project. 

Quilled-Star-Ornament

What are your favorite tools?

I don't use many tools in my work; all my coils and shapes are made freehand. I do occasionally use a quilling board, which in my case is an upcycled polystyrene ceiling tile, though only for large art pieces and almost never for decorations or earrings. My desk usually features tweezers, a small pair of scissors, and cocktail sticks for applying glue.

Bright-Star-Ornament
   
Do you have any organizational tips to share?

I definitely wouldn't be without my cardboard storage drawers. These are just the right length for keeping quilling paper flat. Nothing is more frustrating or wasteful than finding squashed or twisted papers!

Quilling-Paper-Storage

From your Facebook posts, I know you enjoy gardening which I'm sure provides a nice balance with the close work of quilling. What else do you like to do?

My other interests are tai chi and alternative diet/therapies. My previous job was as a holistic therapist, working with back pain sufferers, so all these activities really help when I've been sitting at my work desk for too long. I feel it is very important to have at least one day each week entirely away from the desk.

Quilled-Christmas-Ornaments

I've noticed that rolling coils by hand stresses my thumb and index finger. Do you have any tips on caring for hands?

I always massage my hands in the morning with a special oil I blended - mainly rosemary, ginger, and sesame oil, all of which help to warm the joints and increase circulation. I know quite a good tension release hand massage routine, again from my previous work. My husband is a tai chi instructor and has taught me a method called pulsing, which basically lengthens the muscles and tendons to keep space in the joints. Then, before bed, I often use a Chinese cooling oil called white flower oil, which reduces any inflammation.

The beautiful lavender wands you make are new to me. They aren't quilled, but the woven ribbons remind me of quilling paper. Are they something that is traditionally made with lavender or are they another of your original designs?

Lavender-Wands

They're actually a very old traditional craft, originating in France I believe, though I only came across them myself about three years ago. I love lavender and have a garden full; about nine different varieties. My husband is from Bermuda and my mother-in-law loves lavender too, but cannot grow it there, so one summer I thought I'd take her some in the form of a lavender bag or something similar. Looking around on the internet for inspiration I came across a tutorial on YouTube and ended up making a small bouquet for her. They were so popular with friends and family that I was soon getting orders. They can only be made with fresh lavender so the making season is a short one, but it does make a lovely change from quilling for a month or so, and of course my craft room smells heavenly!

Quilled-Star-Earrings

What are your plans for the future?

I have so many ideas, my notebooks are bursting: new jewellery ranges, framed typographic pieces, and a wildlife series, to name a few. But commissions and orders have kept me so busy this year that I doubt I shall be able to work on any new designs until 2015. My Christmas order book is already nearly full! In fact, I'm already thinking of closing my shops for two months in the new year, just to give myself space to do something new.

Victoria is accepting Christmas orders through October 31via her Etsy and Folksy shops, as well as Facebook.

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