Archive for March, 2012

DO or DIY-London’s Whitechapel Gallery and The Paper Place in tandem!

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

I recently travelled across the Atlantic to London, UK, for a visit with my brilliant brother, Elliott. As London is arguably the art world’s current capital, I made a point of visiting as many galleries as I could. What inspiring exhibitions are on show this month! The Tate Modern is host to a phenomenal retrospective of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama‘s art work and the Victoria & Albert Museum offers a surprising look into the evolution in the 1950s and 1960s of the British Adventure Comic. I’ve loved comic books for as long as I’ve been enamored with the paper from which they are made, so I can only imagine the other paper and paper-ephemera lovers who gormandized the exhibit!

With paper art daydreams in my head, I popped into one of London’s east end attractions, Whitechapel Gallery. To my pleasant surprise, their annual Writers in Residence exhibit was being shown and really resonates with the spirit we try to conjure at The Paper Place. The theme of the show? DO OR DIY!

The show’s premise is a wonderful platform for any writer, artist, or crafter who wants some inspiration. If Martin Luther self-published his ninety-five these as a site-specific installation in 1517, there is no reason why you can’t create an art project of your own for either private or public viewing! Virginia Woolf, Marcel Proust, Gertrude Stein, and Marcel Duchamp were all self-starters who went down in history for the risks they took!

Anecdotes found on the walls of DO OR DIY reminded me that our current DIY aesthetic has really special roots. For example:

Fact-Walt Whitman financed the first print run of Leaves of Grass before helping to set the type and pull the pages from the press at a local shop himself.

Fact-More than one thousand of Emily Dickinson’s poems are self-published in handmade booklets which have since been privately archived.

Fact-Many of today’s most beloved artists and art-makers have no formal training and did not wait for permission to make, published, show, or try.

So, if I took anything away from this exhibit’s wall-mounted anecdotes and glass vitrines full of paper artefacts, it is that today’s print-makers, letterpress lovers, crafters, and paper enthusiasts have no reason NOT to take one of the world’s most accessible resources and turn it into something magnificent. Paper is as innovative as you are. The last line of the show’s catalogue says it best: “Don’t wait for others to validate your ideas. Do it yourself.”


Washi Windows

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Before it gets replaced with the fabulous collages from our March Break Kid’s Challenge; I wanted to document Nick Rubi’s mesmerizing window installation. Nick’s installation was conceived to give passersby the oppotunity to experience the beauty of our some of our Japanese papers, which we seldom have an opportunity to display.

 Close up and full view of washi windows

close up and outside of washi windows

Nick carefully attached long strips of different types of washi and Chiyogami papers and labeled them all with the proper name of the paper.

Close up of Washi names
Although these photos can hardly capture the sublime image of these strips of paper hanging in a gentle breeze, I hoped to share Nick’s beautiful windows with anyone who didn’t get a chance to experience them first hand.

❤ Mariel ❤


Sushi Time in Origami Land

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

This past week was the 101st birthday of Akira Yoshizawa, who is renowned as the grandfather of modern day origami.  You may have seen the Google Doodle dedicated to him on Wednesday.  He was born in Kaminokawa Japan on March 14th, 1911.  His most significant contributions to the world of origami were the Yoshizawa-Randlett System as well as the wet-folding technique.

Yoshizawa-Randlette System

The Yoshizawa-Randlette System is a set of basic diagrams with arrows and line folds which have come to represent the standard language of origami today.  Even if the written directions aren’t in a language you can read, the symbols of this system still allow you to execute each step.  Wet-folding creates more sculpted looking, finished products through moistening the paper.  This technique is usually used on thicker paper rather than thinner origami paper that can rip easily when damp.

Growing up, I did a lot of origami with my mom and sisters.  I think it’s a great Sunday afternoon crafting project.  I recently made some food origami from a sushi kit that looked good enough to eat!

I made some origami sushi and a pancake with butter, yum!

origami sushi

origami pancake

The Paper Place carries a lot of fun origami kits, books and different sizes and patterns of paper for any type of origami you would like to create.  Come in and try something!



Sonya Sheats

Monday, March 12th, 2012

I recently came across the work of an inspiring artist named Sonya Sheats. Sonya practices fine French Bookbinding. Using traditional techniques, she incorporates very modern design and materials such as paper, cloth, leather and wood into her handcrafted bindings. When i think of bookbooking, I usually think of it more as a craft or a very traditional skill, so it’s refreshing to see someone treat it as a contemporary art form. Her work is amazing and truly unique.

^ Cross-structure binding in Chagrin goatskin.

^ Cross-structure binding in Chagrin goatskin.

^ Full embossed leather binding with colored foil tooling.

^ Full buffalo leather binding with decor in salmon skin.

^ Full Oasis goat leather with decorative tooling.

^ Full embossed leather binding.

Visit Sonya here to see more samples of her work!


A Challenge of Creativity for March Break!

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

It’s March again and back for the 3rd year running is the March Break Kid’s Collage Challenge!  Proving to be a continuous crowd pleaser, this event helps occupy those little fingers while they are out of class for a whole week.

Drop by The Paper Place in person between Saturday, March 3rd and Sunday, March 18th to sign up for your free collage kit.  The kit will contain a variety of decorative paper and scraps as well as a large piece of cotton paper to create the collage on.  Just add glue, glitter, stickers, drawings, and whatever else you can find that help transform a pile of paper into a work of art!  Bring back the completed collage by Monday, March 19th and have it displayed in store for all of Queen West to see.  The works will be on display in the store windows from Monday, March 26th through the month of April.

Only one package will be given per child, under the age of 12.  This challenge is for kids only!