Tag Archives: paper arts

Slide into Creative Saturday

Some imaginative sites to give you some ideas for a beautiful Saturday (here).

Casey Cripe does careful, layered, intricate art that looks like many illustrations layered into one. Thanks to frequent commentor Pete for this one. Your eyes drop deep into the work, then come back up to understand the concept, then dive down again.

Richard Sweeney's intricate paper sculpture.

Richard Sweeney’s intricate paper sculpture.

Richard Sweeney works in paper forms. He does three-dimensional work in paper, and the intricacy is amazing.

The lighting of some of the sculptures make them feel otherworldly.

The link above takes you to Sweeney’s Flickr site, with a big selection of the projects that fill his mind–and, I’m assuming, a lot of his time.

If you need a place to store all those books you are going to turn into art, visit books1You May Say I’m a Dreamer.com  You’ll find wonderful bookcases as chairs, as window seats (didn’t you always want a window seat?). Personally, I’d love the book-treadmill, which seems to combine both reading and exercise. Sounds good to me.

If you want to play with paper this weekend, but just have the machine-cut paper, here’s a link to one of my blog posts on creating your own deckle-edges on paper that doesn’t come with them.

Derwent’s Inketense inks are suddenly finding a new flush of popularity. I’ve loved them for a long while for their transparency and their ability to blend well. Here’s a review I did on Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils. In that article, you’ll find a link to Derwent’s Graphitints, too.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Quinn McDonald is making the samples for next week’s class, Art Journaling for Perfectionists. (March 9 at Paradise Valley Community College) The link takes you to the basic information, including the registration link.



Amazing Paper Art: Li Hongbo

The art that fascinates me is the art created by an someone who has an idea and follows it. Even if other people don’t love it, even if others don’t understand it, the creative force that changes the world and how we understand it continues making art.

Li Hongbo works in Beijing. He turns pure white paper into art. Pure White Paper is the name of the exhibition you want to see if it comes your way. He creates amazing sculptures that expand and collapse. They look like porcelain, and move like magic. Here’s the video.

Li is a book editor and designer, and spent thousands of hours gluing sheets of paper together to form shapes inspired by the Chines paper gourd children’s toys. After that, it became art. You can see more photographs by seeing the exhibition at the Dominik Mersch Gallery in Australia.

Quinn McDonald is amazed at the inspiration that makes art.


Book Review: Extreme Origami (+ a Giveaway)

 Book winner: Congratulations to Kristin McNamara Freeman, who is the winner of the book!

A book review on a different paper art: origami. I’ll give the book away on Tuesday morning, and the winner will be posted here. To win the book, let me know in the comments. The book is hardback, and heavy, so this time its new home is in the 48 contiguous states.

Book cover

Title: Extreme Origami
Sub-title: Transforming dollar bills into priceless works of art.
Author: Won Park

 Details:  Hardback. Race Point Publishing, 2012. Size: 11.25 inches x 8.25 inches.  Page count: 144. 20 projects and more than 1000 illustrations on folding. Price; $25.00 U.S. $28 Canada, £16.99 UK.


  • Introduction
  • Terms and Symbols
  • Are You Ready to Take the Extreme Origami Challenge?
  • Instructions for: butterfly, toilet, tank, spider, fox, pig, swordfish, sea turtle, ox, Pegasus, praying mantis, stag beetle, car, fighter jet, bat, scorpion, koi fish, stegosaurus, dragon, formula 1 race car.
  • Acknowledgments
  • About the author

What I liked: You have to like a book that uses only American dollar bills to fold into shapes of everything from a toilet to a formula one race car.

The hardback book is beautifully designed. The pages are rich, cream-colored stock with clean black type.

In the front there are explanations of lines, folds, directions.

The completed pieces make the best use of the printing on the dollar bill, so that the pieces appear to have eyes in the right place.

The instructions are always on the right side, or start on the right side, making it easy to keep the book open flat while you follow directions.

The illustrations (of which there are many) are in clean olive green and white and clear.

What I didn’t like: I discovered that Won Park used dollar bills because they are hard to tear during the hundreds of folds and bends it takes. In other words, it’s too intricate for me. I realize it’s called Extreme Origami, and that means it’s way over my head. And it is. You have to have some experience with origami to be able to complete any of these.

Some of the large photographs don’t look as appealing as the smaller photographs that accompany the directions. It would have been been fine to show the completed work at 150 percent instead of much larger.

-Quinn McDonald is a writer who is busy writing a book about conversations with the inner critic.

Book Arts Eye Candy

Su Blackwell is a jaw-dropping paper artist who uses books the way other artists use canvas and clay. She’s got an extensive repertoire, but my favorites are the fragile truth she tells about fear and vulnerability by using pages from old books.

The light on the wolf makes the shadow large and scary, for the viewer as well as for Red Riding Hood.

”I often work within the realm of fairy-tales and folk-lore. I began making a series of book-sculpture, cutting-out images from old books to create three-dimensional dioramas, and displaying them inside wooden boxes”.

”For the cut-out illustrations, I tend to lean towards young-girl characters, placing them in haunting, fragile settings, expressing the vulnerability of childhood, while also conveying a sense of childhood anxiety and wonder. There is a quiet melancholy in the work, depicted in the material used, and choice of subtle colour.”

The paper in her work is often left in its original color with the original print on it. It gives her artwork a sense of freshness and raw emotion.

Hedi Kyle is an inventor of the possibilities of paper. She invented the flag book structure, blizzard book and spider book. The flag book is a fascinating shape in which pages travel in different directions at the same time. Kyle spent most of her life inventing new books in new materials.

Hedi Kyle's amazing mica book for Bind-O-Rama

This one is made of mica already scribed on. It allowed Kyle to explore a book as a transparent screen.  “I often envision the flag book as a movable screen to define space. Light and shadow capture my interest. At Penland I came across pieces of mica with inherent markings. They were transformed into this flag book.” [quote from Flagbook Bind-O-Rama.]

I love Brian Dettmer. So does anyone who has ever watched him perform the anatomy of a book or seen the results. In The Donut Project, you can see a step-by-step of his work.

Brian Dettmer defies gravity and creates art with old books.

Best of all, at the end of the article, there is a link to Dettmer’s Flickr site. Amazing work.

Matsaaki Tatsumi is an artist who, like Dettmer, cuts. His papers are cut into thin strips, arranged, and then lit to form otherwordly effects.  In all fairness, I should mention that he also creates edible books out of seaweed.

Cut paper by Matsaaki Tatsumi

My favorites, next to the lit ones, are the sculptures he designs on cardstock. A generous piece of paper is topped by a delicate skyline, often defying gravity.

Quinn McDonald is a writer and certified creativity coach who is in awe every day of the amazing reach of the creative mind.


After this weekend’s class, I’m convinced that every artist needs a Dremel tool. And every Dremel tool user needs a class from Jill Timm. In the two-and-a-half day class Jill led us through the mechanics of using a Dremel to … Continue reading