Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Paper Art and Paper Craft via Twitter

There's no place like Twitter if you enjoy learning all sorts of new things; a constant stream of tantalizing links flows by.

Graphic and paper artist, Patricia Zapata (Twitter name alittlehut) tweeted yesterday about these cute woven shoes. Designed by Colin Lin and manufactured by a company called All Black, they're made of... can you guess?... newspaper!

Recycled strips of newsprint are folded and woven in a lattice pattern by Chinese cottage industry artisans (who we trust are being paid a fair wage) and then dipped in plastic for durability in a Taiwanese factory.

One thing led to another, as they sometimes do... not an hour later I noticed I had a new Twitter follower, bookbinder Sarah Hindmarch (repaper). Skimming her recent tweets, I noticed this intriguing one: Museum conservation gets some love, Slate takes a look at the trouble with plastic art. 

So I clicked on the link and came across this food for thought:

"Worst of all, when plastics weep and bleed they can corrupt everything around them. Chemicals evaporate from their surface and acidify any moisture inside a display case. This causes mini bouts of acid rain that in turn eat away at the plastic in nearby objects—as well as any cloth, metal, or paper in those objects."

Coating newspaper shoes in plastic for durability makes sense, but what will happen over time to quilling paper that's been sprayed with an acrylic fixative? It would be a shame if what is often used to "protect" the paper actually does more harm than good.

Since we know that some paper filigree pieces from the 1700s have held up quite well when kept in controlled humidity and light conditions, I personally think it's best to coat only those paper filigree pieces that will receive much handling, but not those that I'd like to last more than a couple of decades.
And speaking of quilling that's been well preserved, you might remember my mention of this antique piece. It was blogged about on Give It a Twirl recently.


  1. Great tip about "acid rain"! This can happen with some minerals too.

    Love the shoes.

  2. Congratulations!

    His work is fantastic!

    Estela Oliveira
    Rio de Janeiro/Brasil


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