Thursday, December 27, 2007

Publishing Opportuntity

We sent out a blurb in our newsletter for a call for entry from Rockport publishers. They are working on a new book titled "1000" handmade greeting cards. Some of you were not able to see the PDF so here it is. We also linked this to Etsy News so check that out. Contact Good Luck!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Lisa Kokin's Coming Our Way!

We are exciting to announce that Lisa Kokin will be coming to teach a weekend workshop with us the weekend of March 8 & 9th at The Paper Studio! She'll be doing two one-day workshops--Photocycle Diaries and The Open Book. Here are some samples of Lisa's work--she is really an amazing artist and instructor. Gary and I went out to Oakland this summer and spent the day with her and Lea at one of her workshops and were really impressed to see the creative juices flowing! While we have been book and paper artists for years, Gary and I hardly ever work with the existing book form--we usually make our own books from scratch so it was great to have a day to play in an area that we don't normally work in. Cliche as it sounds, getting outside your comfort zone is where the new ideas start to percolate--we found it to be true, true, true! Here is some of Lisa's imagery from her work to give you a peek at her style. Visit her site at to have a more comprehensive look!

Here's Lisa at her studio with her newer work. My photo doesn't do them justice because I didn't didn't shoot any closeups. Her books transform into these amazingly organic looking "beings" or stuctures--so organic looking and feeling like they might have come from the bottom of the sea.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Phoenix Downtown Magazine Cover

Tis the season--nothing gets done in a vacuum here at The Paper Studio I must say! Really almost everything we do is a team effort and it's great for me that I get to work with many talented artists--specifically--Mike O'Connor on this project who teaches our letterpress classes, started the Amalgamated Printers' Association (APA) & is still on the board and publishes the most popular online letterpress newsletter--Galley Gab.
We were asked to be the December cover for the Phoenix Downtown magazine and we jumped at the chance. Thanks Forrest!
(the cover is the magazine's offset version of our print)

We have been acquiring some wood type and old vintage letterpress cuts so wanted to do a retro looking piece utilizing both the cuts and wood type. We didn't have a lot of time to get everything together so I came up with 3 different schemes with three colors that I thought would be interesting to print. The look on Mike's face as I was rattling off the 3 totally different ideas (to print in one session, mind you) was priceless--incredulous but priceless. Life is definitely that balance of ying & yang--Mike is there to bring some reality to my hair-brained ideas.

We first laid out all the cuts to form a map. This was after I spent the day before running all the cuts through the Nolan proofing press to make sure they would print. You never know with some of the old cuts. We still had to do some interesting packing to make them all print at the same time.
Next we left the cuts that would be printed green.
Then switched the cuts out that would be printed blue.
Finally the red layer for the wood type.
We used crane's lettra and it was interesting on the deep punch how the lower layers etched though. A fun printing day had by all!

Winter Blue Handmade Letterpressed Book

Since Mike put the kibosh on my printing three ideas at one time--i.e. talking some common sense into me, I still needed to get those ideas worked out of my head and onto paper. They just took different directions with different projects. I wanted to do a series of snowflakes with three ink runs over handmade blue jean paper--for a project with a them of blue--could you have guessed that? I made a plate with chipboard snowflakes that we die cut and glued down and made type-high.

Here's Donna on her maiden run on the Vandercook. See how her clothes coordinate with the project? It always seems that I'm wearing the color of ink I'm printing that day. I figure it's a biological mimicry strategy so if I get ink on me, then no one will know ;) We printed the front side of the paper with 3 colors and the back side with only the dark snowflake color. We rotated the paper each pass to get movement on the page in terms of shape and color.We started with the darkest color ink first and they went to opaque lighter inks. I love the tone on tone!

The last layer we printed wood type in white for the text--it's a cinquain poem titled Winter Blue. It was a long printing day with a couple of snafus during the day but near the end I was generally elated. I exclaimed to Donna--"We make a great team"! I thought so because we never printed together and it worked out so well.

"Not really" was her reply as she didn't miss a beat and kept printing. I almost coughed up a lung and totally burst out laughing when she said that--she has such dry sense of humor! She explained that snafus might not happen if we were a better team--or she had more experience printing. I think about every editioned project we do whether its papermaking, letterpress, bookbinding--sometimes it goes smooth as glass and other times snafus & hiccups are bound to happen--you run out of the right letters of type, there can be a last minute typo, the packing on the press changes, sheets won't form, glue won't dry, Federal Express is closing in 15 minutes, etc. You just have to adjust where you can while maintaining the original intent and keep on going. The final outcome is the reward. By the way, she is the best art partner!

Flora & Flauna Handmade Paper/Letterpress Print

This was supposed to be a book for a book exchange. It started out being a book that I was going to print than make into an origami fold. But the more I printed it, the more I decided to leave it as a simple print.
The handmade paper is an "ends of the day" paper--which means it is a combination of a bunch of natural fibers--cholla, palm pine, cotton, abaca and anything else we had in the pulp refrigerator. Sometimes that makes the nicest paper. I've been intrigued with bird images this past year, so when the topic for this exchange was Flora and Fauna, I decided to print the bird cuts with old wood type that I'm quite partial to. The key thing is that you have to be careful when printing handmade paper. If there are lumps or knots in it, it can actually break or mar your letterpress cuts or type. Mostly we try and print on smooth paper so not to run into this problem (we did that once with a handmade paper made with soft inclusions where we broke an "e" in a magnesium plate). But this paper was malleable and cooperated pretty nicely. Some of the old wood type had nicks in it so they show up but that just gives it character.

Because this was supposed to be book, I had to do a little book explaining why everyone was getting a print. Sometimes, I make my life crazy!

New Video Demos Added!

Contemporary LuminariesWe've added a couple of new video demos. You must watch the one on contemporary luminaries. Gary is doing this one! He's great and his video goes into nice detail on how to make the luminaries with beautiful handmade decorative paper. We are using tap lights--the kind that go in your closet--two of them in a pack at home depot for under 10 bucks. I was inspired to use the tap lights because I had a bunch left over from grad school from a lighting prototype and I'm really bad with fire. This is a person who accidentally set the front lawn & evergreen bushes on fire when trying to surprise her mom by grilling dinner when she was 13 (who knew you weren't supposed to pour gas right out of the can onto the charcoal?) and who singed off her eyebrows the first time she used a gas grill in her 20's. So needless to say, I avoid flames at all opportunities.

We also wanted to look at a way to do simple functional lighting that would add ambiance to your space. Imagine how beautiful it would be to see three of these luminaries as lighting on your table or mantle? Think how lovely these would be for a Valentine's Day or wedding setting. Ohh la la!

We designed this project for a segment for Channel 3 TV Everyday Entertaining that aired on December 21. You can see the condensed version of the luminaries demo with Cindy and Suzanne that aired as well. Looks a little different with fancy editing!

Making Ornaments with Paper Strips

The 2nd video we uploaded is Making Ornaments with Paper Strips. We do lots of different projects at the studio and we always have tons of left over long strips that seem to good to throw away. A lot of time we can re-pulp them into new paper but if they are really stiff or metallic that doesn't work too well. When I saw these projects and how they used strips of paper I was elated! Now both of these projects have been all over the planet this year in blogs, magazines and more.

I used to make these ornaments when I was a kid in 4-H club using construction paper. I must say the moms who led our 4-H classes in our town were pretty good a keeping a bunch of kids busy during the holidays! The problem with construction paper is that it is, well sort of yukky--it fades and it doesn't have the strength of card stock. Now that card stock comes in all the colors and designs you can imagine, it's pretty limitless. Plus, these ornaments can translate to decorations for weddings, showers, parties and other holidays depending on the papers you select. Make them in mass quantity to create impact!

As we said, we didn't invent them but we like them and think you need to see them so you will recycle your strips of paper into fun ornaments. These are projects you can do with your kids, family and friends. Recycling, easy, quick, simple and instant gratification. What more could you ask for?

You can also see the condensed & edited version on Channel 3 TV with Suzanne Bissett's Everyday Entertaining.

Charles Phoenix--Go and See Him or Book Him in Your Area!

December is a crazy month for everyone. But my good friend Lisa emailed me and told me that I MUST go with her to see Charles Phoenix Retro Holiday Slide Show. Now my friend Lisa is always up to something fun but she has never insisted that I MUST go to an event so I knew this had be good.

It was a crazy day at the studio and I had 2nd thoughts about going because to get all the way to Gilbert AZ by 7:00, Gary and I would have to be out the door by 6:15 which is like having a day off leaving that early! But we were intrigued because we had watched Charles Phoenix video clip from his recent appearance the Martha Stewart Show and found it wildy interesting.

Who is Charles Phoenix??? may be asking--he's an author, entertainer, and a lover of mid-century design & American culture. And he shares this with you in the most hysterical two-hour slide show you'll ever see. Real slides from the 40's, 50's & 60's that he has collected from thrift stores, yard sales and now folks unearth them out of their attics and give them to him. He is an astute observer and has this unique ability to point out the hysterical and historical, the ironic and the iconic in these slides from everyday American life. (I think he and our friend Marshall are brothers separated at birth. They look alike and have similar personalities...)

We got to see lots of holiday slides. Remember the aluminum Christmas trees? Our family had a 4 foot tall sliver one with red satin balls. Oh yeah! If you don't remember them the first time around, check eBay out--they are making a huge comeback. All the slides of boys toting their brand new BB guns were hysterical (mostly due to the wacky pajamas they were still wearing). Housewives with clothing matching the table decor were also quite a scream. I could see my own family on those slides which I think is why it resonates with so many people. Even if you are not from that generation, family traits & traditions don't change a whole lot--they just look funnier 50 years ago. And the show is for the whole family--it's totally fun & clean! We laughed so hard for two hours our sides ached--you just couldn't stop.

Before we left, Lisa asked Charles Phoenix to randomly select a recipe in her 1950's Jello Cookbook by Home Economic Teachers. She was so inspired by Charles, she decided she would make the Astro Weenie Christmas Tree (you must see this holiday video and send it to your friends!) and a jello salad to take to her work potluck. The Astro Weenie Christmas Tree is straight out of the 50's replete with tin foil, toothpicks, peanut butter for glue, and all sorts of veggies for relish appetizers. Thankfully he randomly selected a lime, pear & cream cheese salad--it could have been a jello and meat salad--eeewww! (she scored 2 swimming fish molds at savers!)
Here's a photo of Lisa's Astro Trees and Swimming Jello Fish at her potluck. How Fun! I told Lisa, had I been there, I would have clapped my hands with delight and skipped on over to the buffet table had I spied such a delightfully colorful display! The photo friends--we all met through photography years ago and still love to hang out together even though our schedules hardly allow it. It was a night filled with so much laughter and camaraderie--just the best Christmas present--to feel that much joy!

Marshall and the Cyanotype Ties

This is our friend Marshall who arranged the
Charles Phoenix show. He's a talented photographer (see his vintage camera case that is holding his new digital camera--nice!) who does lots of fun alternative things with clothing--printing, reconstructing--you name it, he probably does it!

He got a hold of 50-60 lbs of old negatives and has been printing up a storm. With 50lbs of negatives, he could probably print forever! He started a series of cyanotypes portraits on old ties. They are just crazy fun!

Pulp Fiction--Fuller Craft Museum

The Pulp Function show at the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton Massachusetts has gotten great reviews, including one in the current issue of American Craft magazine. The show is ending on January 6, 2008 so if you are in the MA area, get out and see it.

I just ordered the exhibition catalogue because there are tons of really good artists in the show and I want to do a more comprehensive post down the road. A couple of people I went to grad school with are in the show--my super talented professor friend, Kerri Cushman and fellow artist Aimee Lee--congrats to both of you! Aimee Lee's piece is pictured in the American Craft photo spread. It's the paper brick wall on the far left. Go Aimee!

I was finishing the grad program the year Aimee was starting so I didn't get to know her well but I'll tell you the work that I've see this gal produce has been amazing! She is one hard working artist. I loved reading her documentation when she was building the brick piece for her thesis performance. I'm contacting her for a more indepth post about her work. So stay tuned!

Departures Magazine

We were tickled pink to find out we were mentioned a few times in the Nov/Dec 2007 issue of Departures Magazine article entitled "The Wrap Artists".

We appeared in the first paragraph as a favorite source for designer Douglas Little (thank you!) for our crocodile and lizard papers using them for gift wrap.

Here's a nice photo of the Douglas Little's project--now we know why we were selling so much crocodile and reptile paper during the holidays! These papers are crazy popular throughout the year but they went wild over the holidays.

Then they even gave us a nice listing in their where to buy section. Thanks Departures Magazine!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Obsessed with paper dresses and paper sculpture

I think I was a fashion designer in a previous life because goodness knows I cannot sew anything wearable in this current life! The only show on TV that I have to watch is Project Runway--maybe that would change if they would have a paper reality show ;). Fabric and paper are so similar--textures, colors & patterns.

Once I saw all the buzz about those paper dresses, I thought about the class paper sculpture class Bett York taught at the beginning of the month. The way cool thing about Bett's class was that she had everyone bring in photos or drawings of what they wanted to make into paper sculptures--and she showed them how to turn the concepts into reality! Here are some photos from her class. Can't you just see some of these pieces evolving into the most amazing paper sculptures and paper dresses? Yes, Yes, Yes!! (Somewhere down the road, I'll do more extensive posts on paper clothing--I've collected a bunch o' stuff on that and need to dig it all out!)

I love these organic shapes!

Bett and some of the paper cutting proteges in action!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Jum Nakao--Paper Fashion

Okay, I know this has been flying around blogs this week, but I love this work and it's all made out of PAPER! Jum Nakao documents the activities of a dressmaking workshop during the São Paulo Fashion Week in 2004, where Nakao presented a fashion show performance in which models wore designs made with vegetable paper constructed using digital technology and hand-made pieces. The following video clips show a glimpse of Nakao's creative process during this project, from his initial concept to the finished designs and the Paris fashion show. Watch the two following videos for more info!

The Making of the Paper Fashions--paper fashion show--jum nakao - ar de paris - part 1

A clip from Jum Nakao's video...a nice little segment that shows the sketching, hand-cutting of the paper, taping (a lot of tape) and the making of the garments. It looks like they were all hand-cut & scored. Oh my!

Paper Fashion Show--jum nakao - ar de paris - part 10

I love the paper cuts, the sculptural quality of the garments, the hair and make up of the models and the way they have to move in these paper dresses. Watch the video to the end!


Oh about a luscious about CUPCAKES!! AND ONLY CUPCAKES! Take a peek at this blog for some great ideas for treats for the holidays. It's a blog by Cheryl Porro – software quality engineer by day and baker for hire by night. (Note: Those little ruffly paper liners go around the cupcakes so this is technically a post about paper ;-)