Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hand-Torn Newspaper Art - Keiko Suzuki

I was introduced to the unusual recycled paper collages that Seattle artist Keiko Suzuki creates when we followed one another on Twitter. She utilizes an ancient Japanese technique called chigiri-e, but with a twist... instead of traditional mulberry paper, Keiko tears bits of colored newspaper to make original botanical, pet, wildlife, and aquatic images that are softly textured and appealing.


I enjoyed watching a video that shows the steps of her interesting process from start to finish. She uses minimal supplies - just recycled newsprint, awl, brush, water, starch glue, and watercolor paper as the mount board.


Keiko answers a few questions:

I'm curious how you happened to start making torn paper collages. Have you had formal training or are you self-taught?

I am a self-taught artist who earned the special newspaper collage making skill from a how-to book written by Masako Ogawa, the inventor of the technique. After I moved from Tokyo to live in the U.S. with my husband in 2011, he encouraged me to do what I really love. I have always enjoyed being creative with papers, such as making origami and drawing pictures since my childhood. Also, I am a recycling enthusiast. 


One day I stumbled upon Masako Ogawa's instruction book that showed beautiful arts created with newspapers while searching for traditional Japanese cut paper how-to books online. The art style and the concept of creating with discarded newspapers hugely inspired me, and I ordered her book from Japan right away. After about a year of practicing newspaper collage making, I decided to publish my art on Etsy in mid-2012. 

Keiko's Etsy shop is called Bless Hue - clever name! For the Himalayan cat picture below, she painted the supermoon with soy paint and the ikat background with Japanese clay dye using her own handmade stencils. The background is a new technique for Keiko... as an experiment, she shared the image (which she plans to fine-tune) on Instagram to gauge if it should be added to her shop. It definitely caught my eye, so I vote yes.


The video moves along quickly and so I'm curious if you first draw your images by hand?

Thank you very much for watching. It was fast-forwarded from the original duration of 3 hours to 3 minutes. And yes, I sketch the subjects by hand and use them as templates.


Your process appears to be labor-intensive as you carefully add minute details by tracing and scratching layers of paper, but I have a feeling you find it relaxing - it that right?

It is relaxing for me from sketching to finishing with the Asian style stamp as my signature.


What do you enjoy most about the type of art you create?

The most fun parts for me are when I am drawing a subject for a template, and finding the right blank spots in the right colors on newspapers (mostly from advertisements) to create the subject.


Visit Keiko's website, blog (quick, check out her print giveaway that ends today!) and find her on Facebook.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Paper Hat Book - Alyn Carlson

I can't think of a better way to kick off the work week than by introducing Alyn Carlson, a Massachusetts fine artist, graphic designer, actress, and even a hat maker. Her Etsy shop, Madame Alyn's Bin, is where you'll find a whimsical collection of headgear created from random papers and throwaways that would ordinarily be destined for - you guessed it - the trash bin.


Here's Alyn modeling Lemon Bag Chira. Her hat descriptions are a hoot... 

A sweet little turban style hoochie coochie marimba wannabee. An oversized Netflix and coated postcard feather, letterpress scrap, mesh lemon bag makes this one a favorite at beach clean up day.


Cancelled stamps, magazines, a bill envelope, letterpress scrap, and thread come together as this chef-style hat called Queen of the Compost. I bet she's thinking about what to make for dinner - ha, or not.


The Sustainable Cloche: Lovely little"belle" as the French call a cloche, built by layering grocery bags. Tiny pine trees punched out of its edge, magazine, vintage whaling storybook and Sudoku pages form rosettes. Please note: storybook and magazine will vary depending on this week's thrift store sale bin.

While the hats in the shop would be ideal for any adult at a loss as to what to wear to a costume party, she has a book coming out on September 1 for Quarry called The Paper Hat Book: Super Hats for Super Kids.


Alyn designed twenty hats that are great projects for parents and kids to make together. Easily obtained goods such as shopping bags, newspapers, comics, junk mail, glue, and imagination are the main ingredients for creating playful dress-up garb. Designs range from pirates and Viking warriors to floral flappers and butterflies.


She paints lovely abstract landscapes, but has been known to dabble in the trendy craft world as well... consider this stunning cake she made for a friend's wedding a couple of years ago using retired paint chips. It was designed to hold one very special cupcake.


Alyn blogs at Colorgirl Alyn and can be contacted via her website or Etsy shop.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cut Paper Illustrations - Sarah Dennis

Let's have a look at delightfully fresh paper illustrations by Sarah Dennis, a freelance artist in Bristol, England. Her work combines paper cutting with sculptured elements, and often features fairy, folk tale, or nature themes that she brings to life in delicate detail. Sarah has created children's books, editorial designs, animations, privately commissioned pieces, and teaches paper cutting classes.



Knitting Fox (above) and Jellyfish (below) appear to be in motion! 

Jellyfish was recently featured in the Paper Cuts group show at Spoke Art in San Francisco.


Sarah's latest collection was created for Rose & Crown, a Cuckfield restaurant recently launched by her brother (the chef) and father (the foodie).


Sarah pitched in to help by producing all of the logos, graphic designs, and even different menu covers for entrees, drinks, and desserts...

Cut-Paper-Menu-Illustrations well as tasty paper cut vegetables that adorn the walls as framed artwork.



What a treat it would be to visit the restaurant and be greeted by Sarah's paper creations! Here's her whimsical interpretation of a beetroot salad.


Visit Sarah's new website. She blogs and can also be found on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Personalized Paper Cuttings - A Giveaway from Twenty Fingers

 Congratulations to the winner - Nicole-Lynn

Giving a customized gift when invited to a wedding, anniversary, birthday or housewarming party makes the occasion even more special. Today I'd like to introduce a new company, Twenty Fingers, which offers lovely ways to do just that!


Located in Milton Keynes, England, the home-based business is owned by Lana and Ivan, a married couple who create cut paper family trees, pet portraits, love trees, initials, and new home portraits.

Lana draws the artwork on her computer, laser cuts the design in your choice of eighteen paper colors, and hand finishes the tiniest details.


To help get the word out about their new venture, Twenty Fingers is offering an unframed family tree ($50 value) or dog or cat portrait ($77 value) as a worldwide giveaway.


To enter, just leave a comment on this post by the end of Sunday, July 27. Please be sure to include a way to be contacted within your comment.


To earn extra entries, share this post on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and/or Google+. Leave a separate comment for each and include the link to your share.
Note: this is not a daily entry giveaway.
The lucky winner will be selected by a random number generator and announced as soon as she/he has been contacted.

Visit the Twenty Fingers website or Facebook page to see additional personalized products, such as metal iPhone cases and wood pet tags.

Twenty Fingers is offering a 15% discount to All Things Paper readers valid through July 31. Enter ATP15 at checkout.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Paper Maché Fruit - Peter Black

Care for a bite?

Paper Maché Apple and Pear

Perhaps you'd better not... these incredibly realistic pieces of fruit are paper maché!

Paper mâché apples

I spotted Peter Black's photos via his Flickrstream and just had to share some of the apples, pears, and avocados he skillfully creates.

Paper Mâché Avocado

Peter, originally from Poland and now residing in England, makes the fruit from recycled paper pulp. When dry, each hollow piece is painted with watercolors, then he applies satin yacht varnish to achieve what appears to be a natural luster.

Paper mâché apples

Lastly, Peter adds a real stem to each piece of fruit so it is even more convincing.

See more of his photos on Flickr.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Paper Jewelry: Mayumi Origami Accessories

I love the way a quick browse on Pinterest can open up a whole new world in an instant... that was the case recently when I was led to Mayumi Origami Accessories. Renata Mayumi folds small squares and rectangles of decorative paper to make modern jewelry.


Lovely Renata Mayumi is of Japanese descent, born in São Paulo and currently lives in Lisbon, Portugal. She has been a direction assistant in the television and film industry for the past nine years and began selling unique paper creations via craft shows in 2012.


Please tell us about the launch of your origami business.

Mayumi Origami started as a delightful hobby! After watching many tutorials and practicing hundreds of diagrams, as a self-taught Origami Artist I’d finally taken the initiative to create my own pieces.


In the beginning, what really caught my attention was the challenge to adapt origami structures to jewelry and home decor accessories in an unseen and original way. But later on, trying to find the perfect paper was also a very exciting task. To combine fashion trends with the exact textured and patterned paper has definitely been a challenging mission, but I love it!


To make her sophisticated jewelry, Renata Mayumi uses colorful papers from Italy, Portugal, Japan, India, and Korea. She coats each piece with a lacquer finish that repels water. 


Renata Mayumi also creates contemporary home decor and wedding accessories, such as battery-operated lotus candle holders and this beautiful bridal bouquet. The white kusadama flowers are striking accents against patterned papers.


What do you especially enjoy about working with paper?

The greatest things about working with paper are definitely the flexibility, the delicacy, and the unique touch of it. Handmade papers from India and Nepal with an Oriental gold touch and organic patterns are no doubt my favourites. They are just perfect for my projects!


What are your future plans for Mayumi Origami Accessories?

I'm currently working on a website and will be opening an Etsy shop. My main goal is to never give up on looking for new shapes and foldings, as there’s nothing more pleasant than having a smiling customer thanking me for having the patience to fold and fold and fold and fold… 


Mayumi Origami is on Instagram and Facebook or reach Renata via email:

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Quilled Wedding Invitation and Quaker Marriage Certificate

It's been a while since I last posted about quilled wedding projects, but I've been busy with invitations and marriage certificates behind the scenes. For this one, the bride's mother contacted me to quill her daughter and son-in-law's invitation as an anniversary present, appropriate because paper is the traditional first year gift.

Quilled wedding invitation by Ann Martin

She loved this modern design, but asked if I could modify it to include white roses, hydrangeas, and Scottish thistles. The couple's wedding colors were aubergine and silver.

Quilled wedding invitation by Ann Martin

I punched and shaped tiny, textured foil flowers to create rounded hydrangea blossoms and used shades of purple and burgundy paper to make quilled flowers that complement those on the invitation.

Quilled wedding invitation by Ann Martin

The bride's mother wrote to say she had it professionally framed in a silver frame and the couple loves it!

Quilled Quaker marriage certificate by Ann Martin

You might remember the first woodland marriage certificate I did a few years ago for an autumn wedding. Recently a couple asked for the same design, but because theirs would be a summer wedding, I used a lighter, brighter color palette. It was fun to revisit feathered and furry creatures.

Quilled Quaker marriage certificate by Ann Martin

The wedding colors were indigo and ivory. The certificate itself is a warm white hot press watercolor paper and I made the birds a mix of rich blues.

Quilled Quaker marriage certificate by Ann Martin

Riva Brown of Living Letters Studio did the beautiful hand lettering; we often collaborate on Quaker marriage certificates and ketubot. By the way, Riva has a new blog [edit: no longer available] that I'm enjoying. She writes about calligraphy and art processes.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Quill Ease Slotted Motorized Quilling Tool Review and Giveaway

 Congratulations to FirstBlushes, winner of this giveaway!

There's a revolutionary new tool in the quilling world called Quill Ease. It's from 3Birds Studio and is motorized! I tested it out over the weekend and am excited to tell you how much fun it is to use. Just slide the end of a paper strip into the slot, press the button on the handle and whoosh... a moment later you'll have a smoothly rolled coil - just like magic!


The battery-operated tool (AAA battery included) is sturdy, quiet, and eliminates tedious hand rolling. It's a breeze to slip a strip into the wide slot and the chubby handle is lightweight and comfortable to hold. While the Quill Ease Tool is ideal for beginner quillers and those with hand or vision problems, everyone else will find that it is simply an enjoyable and fast way to quill. I can just imagine the belly laughs of children who give it a try!

A wooden circle template and a selection of quilling strips are included in the package along with a cap to protect the slotted tip when not in use. There is also a detachable disc that fits over the tip to help slide a coil off the tool and into the circle template where it can expand. I have to admit I don't find it necessary to do this, but it may be useful for beginners.


While the crimped coil center is larger than the one my usual favorite tool produces, I found that by altering the way I normally shape a coil, I was able to incorporate the crimp as part of the design. Here's a closer peek at my example... the center of each flower petal is flattened for a unique look.

Quilled Flower Card

Watch for Quill Ease to make its debut on July 23rd on HSN television and The bundle pack will include Quill Ease, wooden template and a starter pack of quilling strips for $22.95.


And now about that GIVEAWAY... the folks at 3Birds Studio have offered to send a Quill Ease Tool and a Quilled Cardmaking Kit to one winner with a U.S. mailing address. Just leave a comment on this post by the end of Sunday, July 13 as your entry. Please include a way to be contacted within your comment.


For extra entries, share this post on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and/or Twitter. Please leave a separate comment for each and include the link to your share.

The winner will be chosen by a random number generator and announced as soon as she/he has been contacted. Good luck!

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