My Makes

Favorite makes of 2019: Paper edition

The year is quickly coming to a close, and I thought to share just a few paper makes that brought me much joy and some challenge.

I’ve always enjoyed playing with paper. Wrapping gifts has never been a chore for me. I discovered the world of origami when I was about 18 years old, and working in a toy store. There was a tiny book about origami, with no photos – only line diagrams – and I taught myself the basics from that.

I haven’t done as much paper folding this year as I normally would have in the past. I’ve been a bit more involved with fiber arts, in particular crochet and also teaching myself how to sew on my new machine. I still love collecting and folding paper, though, and every time I visit Japan (about once every 1 or 2 years), I pick up a huge variety of colors, sizes, and textures. I’ll be in Tokyo in February 2020, and will be sure to blog about my crafting adventures there, including the incredible paper shops and their wares.

One kind of paper I like to work with is a foil washi, which I used to make Jo Nakashima’s squirrel. The finished figure is about 5 cm tall.

Squirrel pattern by Jo Nakashima

This figure of Yoda is one of my favorites, so I had to include it. I love Yoda for nostalgic reasons, but I also think Kawahata’s pattern is ingenious. My version uses a green floral paper, because it’s all I had at the time that was the proper size. The result is a little humorous and less austere than it probably should be; I call him my Primavera Yoda.

Yoda pattern by Fumiaki Kawahata

This fox figure is another of my favorites. I made one to decorate the top of a friend’s cake, and I liked it so much that I made one just for myself. I used Korean hanji for this figure, which I thought might be risky and not hold the folds (there are actually two sheets folded at once, a white and a rust); however, it seems to have held up pretty well. Hanji is a durable paper, so it should last for some time.

Fox pattern by Hoàng Tiến Quyết (I used 2 sheets of Korean hanji, in white and rust)

A few weeks ago, I blogged about my love of using paint samples to create mosaic portraits of animals and people. I’m not sure that “mosaic” is exactly the right term for what I do, because at least some of the elements of the pictures are literal (the eyes, for example).

Free-hand cutting paint samples is kind of raw, and definitely not precise. I’m still developing a better technique and style with this – it may take some time, because I don’t have easy access to paint samples in South Korea, and I have to really discipline myself to begin one of these portraits, as they are messy and involved. Making one 5×7 or similar size will take a few hours over the course of 2 days, depending on how long it takes me to choose colors and cut the shapes to my liking. There are still lots of bugs to work out of my “technique, ” too.

I like some of the words to show in the figures.

You can see that I use pretty primitive tools – a glue stick, various scissors, and an old cutting mat.

Hopefully I’ll have many more paper creations to share with you in 2020!

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