Monday, February 5, 2018

Talent Runs in the Family

My daughter Lila just launched an Etsy store. She just started using watercolors a few weeks ago and has no formal art training, just a mom with a fully equipped craft room and lots of innate talent. It doesn't hurt that her grandparents are animators, her maternal grandmother is also talented and I will take a little credit as well. Of course, I have little talent for painting. Mine, as you know, is all about folding paper. Here are some pictures of her work. I hope you will take a moment to check out her store.




This one is mine, so back off!

Monday, January 15, 2018

In Which I Revisit Spirals

I put spiral play on the back burner for much of the second half of 2017, but as the year was coming to an end, I was folding a piece of origami paper diagonally and it reminded me of how I start folding a spiral. The only difference is that spirals use trapezoid shaped paper and this was a square. I decided to try folding it anyway and it worked well. I was journaling about the experiment and wrote "I wonder what would happen if I folded a rectangle corner to corner and spiraled it?" So I did that too and recorded my results in diagrams and samples. Here are the results.


The first trial using origami paper. This photo shows the model closed.

Here is the model open.

There are two ways to crease the diagonals with the rectangle. Here is version A where I scored each side of the center line from the top of the horizontal line to the bottom corner of the next one. This creates different angles on each side of the model, but it still collapses.

In version B I just scored with the center line folded and creased from the top to the bottom of the longer edge of each horizontal section. That means the diagonal angles are the same on each side, but where they end differs. It looks very much like version A, but is easier to score and collapse.

Here is the model open. I like the way the leaf shapes cross each other in this model. It is very dynamic.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Sculpting Dyed and Painted Papers

I have been eco-dyeing paper for a few weeks. I also played around with another Leslie Marsh technique which uses paint to print leaves onto black paper. With lots of paper piling up on my work table I decided to turn some of them into a paper sculpture. Here are the results.


Some of the painted leaf papers. Mom and I used Ranger Dylusions paints and a gel press plate to make these. Roll paint on the leaves, brayer a contrasting color on the gel plate, apply the leaves, place black paper on top and press. This technique is so fun and fast that I made about 20 pages in one sitting. 

I used the painted leaf papers to make the book spine. In my other blog post about this structure I used a single sheet of paper cut and folded to make the spine. Here I used a different sheet for each section then used leftover painted paper as hinges to hold them together.

I used the pale Texoprint paper from week 2 ago for the folded inserts. 
I like the contrast of the dark and light papers.

This is the finished sculpture. I love the shapes and colors and subtle leaf patterns everywhere.

Still Eco-Dyeing: Week 3

I am still playing around with eco-dyeing a month after taking Leslie Marsh's workshop. I usually get distracted by a shiny new technique, but I think this one appeals to my science brain. I am experimenting with different papers, plant materials and water baths. I just want to keep trying out new combinations. Here are the results from this week's batch.


I used Arches Textwove and Somerset Book paper for this week's project. I cut the large sheets (20 x 26) into 3 long strips, sprinkled leaves on top and rolled them onto my copper tubes. They were tied with twine and boiled for 1.5 hours in water, vinegar and Ranger Distress dye (Vintage Photo). 

1. Spanish moss, onion skin and eucalyptus leaves sprinkled on Arches Textwove.

2. Liquid amber, spanish moss and eucalyptus leaves on Somerset Book paper.

3. Onion skin and liquid amber on Arches Textwove.

The papers still wet from dyeing are number 3, 2, and 1 from left to right. The Arches came out the best again with the Somerset looking pretty, but pale in comparison. The onion skin surprised me with its orange-brown color. I was hoping for purple. The edges of the papers did come out purple so that may be where the color went. The liquid amber seems to be very yellow in the recent batches I have made. I continue to enjoy the process and the results.

Here are the finished papers, cut down and folded to fit in my journal.

 Please check out my next blog to see what I made with some of last week's papers.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Adventures in Eco-Dyeing: Week 2

I am still fascinated with eco-dyeing and spent time making two different batches of paper. I am playing with paper types and ways of dyeing. Here are the results so far.

Method 1
This dyeing process involved placing leaves and flowers between folded sheets of watercolor paper. They were sandwiched between two ceramic tiles and boiled in water and vinegar for 1.5 hours. RIT dye (Jeans color) was added 10 minutes into the steep time. 

Issues with this method: 1. The color faded quite a bit after the sheets dried so I used Distress Micro Glaze to bring up the color and seal the pages. 2. The center folds on the pages were weakened by the boiling process. Several pages tore either while wet or after drying. 

Conclusions: I like this method of dyeing, both with the addition of the blue dye and sandwiching the paper flat instead of rolling it. There are no string marks and both sides of each page have good coverage with leaf shapes. Also the open pages are mirror images which makes interesting patterns.

The journal I made from the blue and eco-dyed papers.

Method 2

This trial was more like the way we dyed our papers in Leslie Marsh's class. I made cooper tubes from some cooper sheeting I had lying around and stacked paper with leaves then rolled them up around the cooper. I placed a large leaf on the outside of each bundle before rolling so that there would be vegetation on the outside instead of just string. I used 3 kinds of paper in this experiment to see how each would take the tannin and color from the vat. I used Liquitex Muted Pink dye to color this pot as well as eucalyptus bark.

Issues with this method: 1. Rolling the thicker, cover weight paper caused it to wrinkle and tear. 
2. Some of the paper took the dye and tannin well and some didn't. 

Conclusions: I like this method for the thinner paper and I can use a smaller pot and still dye large sheets of paper without creasing them before boiling. 

Dyed paper while still wet. 
These strong colors are on Arches Textwove and cover weight Neenah paper.

These very pale papers were dyed at the same time as those above, but this is Texoprint paper and it didn't take the colors as well. I kind of like the ghost-like prints though.

Cover weight paper dry.

Arches Textwove paper dry.

Texoprint paper dry.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Dyeing Paper and Workshop Pictures

I took a workshop last weekend with Leslie Marsh and she taught us how to eco-dye paper using leaves, onion skin and water dyed with walnut shells. I have wanted to try this for some time and it was so easy and thrilling to see the results that I wanted to try it at home. I looked up ways to make dye from natural materials and found this site. I made 3 dyes: avocado skin, avocado pit, and pomegranate skin. My favorite is the avocado pit as it makes a delicate pink dye. The pomegranate skin was supposed to be maroon, but came out yellow instead. Here are some of the dyeing effects I got from the three dyes.


Avocado pit dyed papers. The small one was stamped and clear embossed before dyeing.

Avocado skin dyed papers.

Pomegranate skin dyed papers.

Some of the ephemera I dyed using the three dyes.

Trying out different techniques. This one was dipped in a puddle of dye, dried and dipped again. I repeated this 3 times, drying between each application of dye. I like the details and pooling this produces.

This paper was dyed with avocado pit dye then dried. Then I used a spray bottle with the same dye to get droplets on the paper. I dried the paper immediately with a heat gun so the drops wouldn't spread out and disappear.

This paper was dyed with avocado pit dye, dried, stamped and embossed then dyed again with avocado skin dye. I think this one is my favorite. I like the way the embossed part resists the second layer of dye and shines while the non-embossed paper is dull. It's a nice contrast.

Eco-dyed papers from Leslie Marsh's workshop: Stamped Nature Bound.

My workshop book in pieces before I coptic stitched it together.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Origami Flapping Butterfly

When I started attending San Diego's Origami Society two years ago, I met a man named John. He was welcoming and kind and taught me several interesting structures. He invented the modification to this butterfly that makes it flap when you squeeze the last fold between your finger and thumb. Sadly, John is no longer with us, but I enjoy making his forms and am happy to be able to share this one with you.


Fold a crisp new dollar (or a piece of paper that measures 6 1/8 x 2 5/8) in half lengthwise. Turn and fold in half the other way as shown. These are mountain folds.

Fold down each top corner from the centerfold until the corner touches the bottom of the dollar. Do not crease the corners flat. Stop when you meet the center crease.

Fold back the long center mountain fold. Allow the points of the bill to stand and curve as shown.

Flatten the previous curved paper by folding in the bottom of each side until it meets the long mountain fold. This fold should result in the top points being divided in half.

Fold back the bottom points until they open out as shown.

Valley fold each side of the dollar along the middle fold. This picture shows the left side folded down.

This is how the dollar looks after you fold down both sides along the center. Turn over the model and fold back each side to the center fold. 

The butterfly looks like this after the last fold. Turn the model over again.

There is a center kite shaped that needs to be folded to make the flapping mechanism. 

Fold up the bottom of each side of the center kite. Invert these folds as in the bird base (see the picture below).

The point you just created can be grasped and pinched and the wings will flap.

Enjoy John's flapping butterfly!