Thursday, February 27, 2014

Layered Paper Cuttings - Louise Jenkins

Admiration of the British countryside and farm animals is evident in the color washed paper cuttings of illustrator/designer Louise Jenkins . She creates layered nature scenes in her home studio located in Worcestershire. The use of watercolor and gouache results in a contemporary folk art style.


Deciding which pieces to post was quite the challenge... as I clicked through Louise's deeply serene images I liked each and every one. The paper cuttings are composed of at least four layers to give the sense of a foreground and background. Often she creates a raised, textural effect by building up the line work with gouache.


It was only a year ago that Louise began paper cutting, which led to the discovery that it is what she loves doing most. Previously she was mainly illustrating and earlier, after graduating in 1997 from Staffordshire University with a degree in Ceramic Design for Industry and a Masters in Industrial Design, was the creator of many commercially successful patterns for porcelain companies.


While employed as Senior Designer for Royal Worcester, Louise produced the popular Jamie Oliver line of cook, table, and giftware. She has also designed for Royal Doulton, Wedgwood, and Spode.


Each cut paper work is individually created and original. Even if they are of the same subject, such as her whimsical hares, no two are identical. Find Louise's art in shops and galleries throughout the UK. By the way, the tiny piercings you'll notice in some of the pieces are done with a single manual hole punch and a big hammer. The embossed dots are gouache. Tedious work, but perfectly placed by an experienced ceramics artist!


Louise Jenkins also has a blog. [edit: Website and blog are no longer available, but she is on Twitter.]


And lastly a reminder to U.S. and Canada residents, the 5-copy GoodReads giveaway of the All Things Paper book ends this coming Monday, March 3.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Altered Book Lamps from Bomdesign and Limp Bindings

Michael Bom and Antoinet Deurloo of Bomdesign in the Netherlands are artist-designers who repurpose discarded materials into creative handmade items such as birdhouses from billboards and paperboard cows from milk cartons, but it was the unique shapes and light emanating from between the pages of their Boeklampen, or book lamps, that first caught my eye.


Etsy shop BomdesignNL opened in 2012, but Michael has been making these lamps since 2004. They'll reconstruct the cover and pages of your favorite book into a lamp, and also offer ready-made atlas and sheet music models.


Atlas Book Lamp

The sculptural lamps can be found in restaurants in Barcelona and Madrid and hotels in Spain and Germany, and have been featured in magazines such as Architectural Digest and Elle. Stay-cool LED lights keep them safe. Bomdesign is on Facebook.


And this is timely since today's topic is unique ways to bind pages...

Just yesterday Monica Langwe, a Swedish artist, papermaker and bookbinder, wrote to introduce us to her new book Limp Bindings.


She presents a study of the historical limp binding method that was used to construct books with flexible covers, usually of cloth, leather, or vellum. Monica details eleven books from the enormous Vatican Library that were bound with ingenious variations of the technique. This is followed by a gallery of new books created by eleven book artists from around the world, each inspired by a limp bound medieval book. For ordering information, visit Monica's website - you'll find an English translation button at the top of the page.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Exotic Quilled Fringed Flowers

There's a new type of paper in the U.S. quilling world... graduated color strips called Exotic that are imported from Australia. Denise Cameron, owner of Custom Quilling, sent me a package to try. I've enjoyed quilling with graduated color strips in the past, but this is the first time the color change appears as a stripe that runs horizontally along the length of the strip, giving a unique effect.

Exotic Fringed-Flowers

The 5/8 inch x 10 inch strips I received were all two-toned except for one that had a third band of color which added a nice bit of interest (upper right flower). The festive color combinations were mostly bold, but there were a few pastels too - light green, pink, and blue.


After fringing several strips by hand (I don't have a mechanical fringer, but I've read that a reliable one has just come on the market), I realized it's best to cut toward the widest color stripe so the variation will be more noticeable when the paper is rolled. Fringing aficionados will enjoy mixing colors and combining strips of different widths. By the way, the color is printed on one side of the paper; the reverse and core are white. I made folded leaves to go with my flowers from little rectangles cut from green strips - the color shading gives them a nice look.

Exotic strips are available in three widths (3/8", 1/2", 5/8") and come in multi-color packages as well as separate colors. CustomQuilling is offering a 10% discount on the Exotic line through February 26 - use code word Exotic at checkout. It's only a small reduction, but quilling paper is not expensive and the profit margin on imported items is especially low.

If you've never made fringed flowers, here are a few examples of ways they can be used for card making.

Fringed Flower Tutorial

The flowers above are created with two colors rolled together using a slotted quilling tool. After fringing the stacked strips, glue together at one end and add a 1/8 inch x 3 inch strip which will form the center. When the strips are rolled, glue ends in place and fluff the fringe. Sometimes I curve the fringe using a scissors blade as if curling ribbon. You'll find more tips on making fringed flowers here.


The scattered look of the fringed flowers below is the result of cutting a pennant-shaped strip. I used a variety of scrolls instead of leaves and metallic wrapping paper for the background.

Fringed Flowers - Spider Mum Variation Tutorial

Lastly, here's a card idea from the Spring 2014 issue of CardMaker Magazine. I used washi tape to create a plaid background.

Fringed Flowers Tutorial

You'll also find two fringed flower projects in the All Things Paper book that were made by talented card maker Agnieszka Malyszek. Here's one of the designs - a showstopper frameable flower.

Fringed Flowers Frameable Card in All Things Paper, the book

Have fun making fringed flowers... they'll help tide us over until we see real flowers this spring!

Monday, February 17, 2014

3D Paper Craft Animals - Paperwolf

A colorful trophy animal caught my eye via an Etsy email... one click over to Paperwolf and I knew I had to share the fab sculptures of Wolfram Kampffmeyer in Stuttgart, Germany. A special aspect of these animals is that DIY-ers can enjoy constructing their own.


Wolfram studied computer animation at Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg in Ludwigsburg, Germany where he came across a program that aided the transfer of virtual 3D models into papercraft templates... and thus LittleBigPiggy, the first member of the Paperwolf zoo was born. It is, as he says, "easy to handle, house-trained and always in a good mood." Looks like it to me!


It wasn't until the development of The Big Five however, did the Paperwolf animals truly catch on.



The clever figures are most disarming, plus there's the attraction of naysaying big game hunting. I can picture one as eye-catching decor in a child's bedroom or playroom. While little boys may go for a lion, elephant, or rhino, I have a feeling many young girls would like a pastel unicorn to grace their walls. In fact, the unicorn is the best seller.


The high quality card stock animal in your choice of color is shipped pre-cut with perforated folding lines, along with the all-important construction manual.


Wolfram advises that a glue stick, time, patience, and some spatial sense are necessary for successful construction. Stuck? Not to worry... he is only an email away; this is backed up by positive customer reviews.

Wolfram has extended an offer to All Things Paper readers... the first ten customers to place an order for a trophy animal will each receive two Paperwolf template postcards of choice with their order. Be sure to include a message to seller stating that you have come from this site.


Wolfram's favorite animal at the moment is also his most recent creation - the impressive fox at the top of the page. All that the paper menagerie needs now is a wolf!

3D Big Game Trophy Paper Sculptures / Wolfram Kampffmeyer

Paperwolf is on Etsy and Facebook.

This is not a sponsored post - I just happen to admire Paperwolf's animals.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

DIY: Paper Yarn Heart Knot Necklace

Maybe there's just enough time to squeeze in one more Valentine project before the big day.... talk about last minute. But it's super-quick, I promise!

Heart Knots

The backstory... Linda Thalmann of Paperphine sent me red/white and black/white paper yarn from Austria last year before Christmas and I'd used it on gift tags and ornaments...

Paper Yarn from PaperPhine

... which was all well and fine except that I've had it in mind ever since to actually make something with it, but what? When I happened upon this YouTube video by TyingItAllTogether that shows how to create an ingenious heart-shaped knot, I knew I'd found just the ticket!

First, I used five strands to make a braid (about a 12-14 inch finished length) so it would be a thicker cord and then I made a heart, starting and stopping the video until I got the hang of it. A knot takes less than 30 seconds once you've watched a few times. To finish it off, I glued the ends at the top with Crafter's Pick - The Ultimate and trimmed the excess.

Heart Knot Necklace

I turned the heart into a necklace pendant by slipping it onto a length of black silk cord, easy-peasy. Elementary school kids might enjoy making these for their friends.... paracord would be a good alternative if you don't have paper twine.

Heart Knot Necklace

For the black and white heart, I did a three strand braid and added a jump ring to hold the cord. And last, but not least, dressed it up a little more with a silver chain.

Heart Knot Necklace

So there you go... lots of options. Paper twine/yarn/string - I've seen it called by all three names - is very strong and can even get wet without any ill effects.

Crocheted Necklace

Linda uses paper yarn to make lovely things. In fact, she designed this sophisticated crocheted necklace from the finest paper twine... you can learn to make it too because it's one of 20 projects in the All Things Paper book. Speaking of which, there is a 5 copy giveaway - woot! - going on now over on GoodReads.  Enter through March 3, 2014.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Embroidered Geometric Heart Tutorial

I'm loving the geometric and metallic gold design trends, so had the idea to use ornament cord to stitch a golden geometric heart on paper. Okay, you caught me - I hadn't put away the Christmas craft supplies quite yet... turns out they're handy for Valentine's Day too.

Stitched Geometric Heart on Velvet Paper in Frame

After googling geometric heart images and finding one I liked, I printed it out and cut around the perimeter. Next, I trimmed down a piece of deep red suede paper to fit my frame. Suede paper, if you haven't run across it before (also called velvet, but it looks more like suede to me) is very nice stuff and comes in rich colors.

Stitching on Paper Supplies

I taped the heart to the center of the paper and used a straight pin to pierce a hole at each angle. The holes barely showed on the suede surface, but were clearly visible on the paper backing.

Stitched Geometric Heart Tutorial

After discarding the heart pattern, it was time for the fun part - seeing the design take shape while stitching from hole to hole. I used a counted cross stitch needle because the eye was large enough to accommodate the cord, but the barrel was not so thick that it would enlarge the holes too much.

Stitched heart on velvet paper

I used small pieces of tape to adhere ends on the back - there's no need to tie knots.

My 3-ply cord tangled a bit, but the glittery shine made the struggle worthwhile. DMC Perle Cotton embroidery thread would be a good alternative.

Quilled Wedding Portrait in Frame

I had purchased the frame several years ago when I was into doing quilled borders. The look was romantic in an old-fashioned way, but it was time for a makeover. Who are the couple in the picture, you ask? No idea - ha! Just the result of another Google image search. I hope their family doesn't mind that they've been living on my mantel.

Stitched Geometric Heart in Frame

Guess what? I finally posted answers to your Quilling FAQ. If you're interested in learning to quill but don't know where to start, I hope you'll find them helpful.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Quilled Valentine - Hearts in a Heart

Here's a quilled Valentine card idea that was the result of experimenting with the quilling technique called alternate side looping or husking. It's the looping of paper strips - rather than more typical rolling - and is often used to make leaves or flower petals. What if I made long loops of irregular lengths and shaped them as if curling ribbon? Voilà! The result was this white shape that kind of/sort of reminds me of a heart.

Quilled Valentine Tutorial

By adding small heart scrolls and text that declares it a heart, there will be no misunderstanding. :)

Directions for alternate side looping/husking can be found in this recent quilled Valentine tutorial. You'll create loops of different sizes by hand, gluing each one at the heart base as you wrap the paper back and forth from side to side. (no need to use straight pins and a board - I find that method is too fiddly) Unlike the husked leaves as seen at the link, don't surround the loops as the final step. Instead, hold the base and curl each loop with the edge of a scissors blade.

Quilled Valentine Card Instructions

I printed the interior message on a square of patterned paper and quilled a small motif for each rounded corner made up of two flag scrolls and a heart scroll.

To make a heart scroll: Fold a 3 inch strip in half. Roll one end to fold, allow coil to relax, and slip it off tool. Repeat with opposite end.

To make a flag scroll: Fold a 3 inch strip in half. With strip still folded, roll ends together toward fold.

Quilled Valentine Tutorial

I like the way the sheer ribbon with solid edges goes with the lines in the embossed card card blank by DCWV. I think this card style has been discontinued unfortunately, but I've seen them at Michaels in boxed sets.

Quilled Valentine Card

Hearts can be used for more than just Valentine's Day cards - engagements, weddings, and new babies come to mind. And so I made this version with pale pink and silver-edged quilling paper and topped it off with a bit of angora yarn. Hmm, the heart looks more like a shamrock though.

Quilled Baby Card with Hearts

How would I mail a dimensional card like this one? Very carefully! It's probably safest to deliver it in person - perhaps as a gift topper. If it has to be mailed, put it inside a sturdy box with packing noodles so the loops won't be crushed.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Botanical Surprise Balls - Anandamayi Arnold

Perhaps you saw a paper kumquat branch featured in Martha Stewart Living magazine a year or so ago... it was made by Anandamayi Arnold, who has been creating botanical surprise balls from crepe paper since the 1990s when she was just a teen.


Believe it or not, each piece of realistic fruit you see here is actually a vehicle for tiny hidden treasures.


As a child, Anandmayi became intrigued by the notion of surprise balls when her mother told her about them. So began the making of these extraordinary versions which, I think it's safe to say, are far more lovely than the typical surprise balls you'll find in a Google search.


A problem arises though... how does one have the heart to break into such beauties? Not unless someone assured me the prize is a diamond ring would I tear one apart!


Perhaps Anandamayi would consider hiding a teeny window under a leaf ... no, actually that wouldn't be helpful as her process of incorporating items is more complicated than just wrapping a cluster of mini-gifts all at once. Instead, she attaches them one by one to streamer ends throughout the rolling process.


Alice Hoffman Erb, one of the owners of Tail of the Yak in Berkeley, California where the balls are sold, explained the opening of a surprise ball in this excellent SFGate article... Things come out slowly and sequentially. Each package contains secreted within it, almost organically, a precise selection of three stickers, three pieces of candy and four toys, one surprise at the end of each crepe streamer. They are chosen with care, some on Arnold's travels to Indonesia and Europe.


I asked Anandamayi about the customer experience - to open or not. She replied... I find some people are mystified that anyone would open them and others are equally mystified that anyone would not. I'm glad that there are some of each, so some balls are kept intact and others get to reveal their treats. I feel either can be the right thing to do, but the giver of a surprise ball should let the recipient decide which it will be. No pressuring. Overall, I'd say the very young and the very old are more likely to open them. 

I've always thought a ring would be fun, but no one has asked. The proposer would have to know the recipient would be the opening type, as a fight over whether to open or not would be a bad way to start off! I have put a Georgian necklace in a Christmas cracker and diamond studs in a surprise ball for a young girl who was being surprised with getting to have her ears pierced, which was fun!
Anandamayi refers to botanical illustration books and natural specimens to create fruits, vegetables and flowers, and has created about 100 varieties to date.


In an interview on the Living blog, she says a bird's nest with a flowering branch may have been the surprise ball project that has taken the longest to make so far - about eight hours. Even the nest is paper.


Anandamayi  uses a wide variety of scissors, tweezers, an air brush and inks, pliers, and Tacky Glue to create the balls that are as realistically accurate as she can make them.


She also creates papier mache masks, and historical dresses, hats, and life-size animals from paper. I was interested to read she sometimes collaborates with Aimée Baldwin to paint murals and signs, and is inspired by the life and art of Mary Delany, both of whom were featured here previously.


See Anandamayi's latest creations as they arrive at Tail of the Yak on the shop's Facebook page... it is the only location where the balls are sold...


and don't miss this short, but very interesting video interview.

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