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My Favorite Tools

Tools I use in my art include  not only pens and pencils and rulers, but also technology. I use an iPod Touch as my camera and photoshop to make sure my photos look like the real thing when I post them on my blog.

Tools I use in my art include not only pens and pencils and rulers, but also technology. I use an iPod Touch as my camera and Photoshop to make sure my photos look like the real thing when I post them on my blog.

For the month of March, I shared a tool a day on my Facebook page. It was fun watching people’s reactions over the course of the month. The responses I received have encouraged me to share with you some of my favorite tools. I hope you find it interesting.

These are my four essential tools: bone folder, Olfa knife, straight edge and cutting mat.

These are my four essential tools: bone folder, Olfa knife, straight edge and cutting mat.

My top four essential tools for the overwhelming majority of my paper arts are bone folders, my trusty Olfa knife, my cutting mats and a good quality straight edge. At least one (if not all) of these tools see use on a daily basis. And with all four, I can do almost any of my paper projects.

This is my favorite ink pot. It's just the perfect depth for dipping my pens into.

This is my favorite ink holder. I just learned that it’s called an inkwell and that what it’s held in is known as an inkstand. It’s just the perfect depth for dipping my pens into.

As a calligrapher, I find myself using ink a lot with my dip pens. Dipping my pen into the bottle of ink is usually messy. This my favorite ink holder. It was left to me by a dear friend many years ago. I believe it’s an antique. I love to use my inkwell because the ink is just the right depth and I don’t get it all over my fingers (quite as much) as when I use the ink bottle itself.

I use quite a variety of pencils, including double pencils.

I use quite a variety of pencils, including double pencils.

I use so many pencils, lots of different pencils for different projects. Most of you, unless you are fellow calligraphers, probably haven’t made or used double pencils. My double pencils are the ones on the right, held together with rubber bands.

Double pencils are used for practicing calligraphy to see more clearly if you have the correct pen angle, branching and other things calligraphers are so interested in improving. I’ve photographed the pencils on a piece of my practice paper I filled with my double pencils.

For seeing tiny details, these are great.

For seeing tiny details, these are great.

Okay, I have to admit it. Sometimes, such as when I am working with tiny lettering or cutting tiny pieces out of a piece of paper, I need to see just a little more clearly. A magnifying glass requires the use of one of my hands and I usually need both for my projects. So, here are the glasses I use in my home studio. I have purple ones for my studio at the Ashland Art Center. They don’t need to be colorful, but it’s fun that they are.

When I need to punch a hole, or lots of holes, this Japanese Hole Punch can't be beat.

When I need to punch a hole, or lots of holes, this Japanese Hole Punch can’t be beat.

My Japanese Hole Punch has interchangeable punches that enable me to punch from 1mm to 4mm holes in paper. I don’t know what I ever did without this tool.

This is my board shear. It will cut paper or mat board or davy board.

This is my board shear. It will cut paper or mat board or davy board.

This is my “paper cutter.” It’s actually a board shear that I bought and had to have shipped from the east coast. It has a foot pedal to clamp down and hold the paper or board while it is cut. I can cut paper or boards for making books up to 29″ in length (or width).

This board shear is what I use to cut the paper I use to make my Earth Spirit Vessels. In the board shear right now is the black paper I’m cutting for my next vessel. The paper starts out 18-3/4″ by 24-3/4″ with four deckled edges. After I’ve squared it and cut the width to 18″,  I’ll cut it into 4″ by 18″ strips, then cut those strips into 2″ by 4″ pieces of paper ready to fold.

This is my camera. It's actually an iPod Touch that I use as my camera. Most all of the photos in my blog have been taken with my iPod Touch.

This is my camera. It’s actually an iPod Touch with a camera built in. Most all of the photos in my blog have been taken with my iPod Touch.

One of my tools is my iPod Touch’s camera which I use to photograph my art. I set up a large piece of watercolor paper in the corner of my living room where there are both east and south facing windows. I put the subject of the photo on it and use my iPod Touch for my camera. This photo is of my one of my latest vessels. In this photo the top row of folded paper hasn’t been glued to the rest of the vessel. If you look closely at the photo, you can see that it’s not quite straight.

People don't usually think of cattails as tools, but they make great inexpensive pens.

People don’t usually think of cattails as tools, but they make great inexpensive pens.

Cattails make great inexpensive pens. I made around 25 of them and taught calligraphy to a 6th grade class once. The teacher had ink and paper, but no pens and no money to buy pens. So I went out and picked cattails. Using a knife, I cut the cattail to make an edged pen point. Put the cattail in ink, then write. By changing the width of the edge, you can make your “pens” write differently. It can be a fun change, even for professional calligraphers.

My book press might be small, but it's just perfect for my purposes.

My book press might be small, but it’s just perfect for my purposes.

When I’m making books, my book press comes in very handy. Before I had my book press I had to resort to hauling around heavy books and various weights. I even went so far as to purchase 50 pounds of lead shot which I stored in plastic vitamin jars (once the vitamins were gone, of course). They still come in handy when I am trying to weigh something down, like gluing the burl wood bases for my Earth Spirit Vessels. Though I don’t think I need need quite so many.

Which doesn't belong, yellow coat hanger, knitting needles or lead shot as one of my paper arts tools?

Which doesn’t belong, yellow coat hanger, knitting needles or lead shot as one of my paper arts tools?

I have a reputation, within my family, for using things as tools in ways they weren’t originally made for. The lead shot I used for weights is one example. Another was the knitting needles I used in bookbinding before I had my metal edged boards to make indentations, or creases, for the opening of hardback books. So when I put 25 yellow plastic clothes hangers on my Christmas Wish List one year, my parents wondered how I was planning on using them in bookbinding, and why they needed to be yellow. The fact that I actually wanted to use them for their intended purpose never occurred to them.

I have a friend who sometimes wants to borrow tools. He has learned to describe the tool in detail without naming it, because I may have it, but know it only as a bookbinding or paste paper tool.  Examples include a carpenters square, wood chisels, calipers and putty knives, which I have finally learned the official names for. There are many others which are simply “my bookbinding tools.”

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about some of the tools I use in my paper art.

Happy creating, Candy

Paper Lotus Flowers

2014 Lotus Flower 1

 

During 2011, I made at least one paper Lotus Flower each day for the entire year. It was a very hectic year for me. Making a paper Lotus Flower requires a great deal of calm and patience. If I’m not in a peaceful state of mind, the paper will tear when I fold it. Making a Lotus Flower a day for the year ensured that I would have about an hour of peaceful meditative time every day. I came to look forward to it.

 

2014 Lotus Flower 2

 

Today, I still make paper Lotus Flowers and still enjoy the peace and tranquility that comes to me as I sit and fold my flower. I no longer make one a day, but I will still make time to make paper Lotus Flowers when the urge comes. It has become a form of meditation for me.

 

2014 Lotus Flower 3

 

I use a variety of papers to make my paper Lotus Flowers. The above Lotus Flower was made using a beautiful red and gold Japanese paper with white and black cranes and a textured gold paper.

 

2014 Lotus Flower 4

 

The above paper Lotus Flower was made from a piece of hand marbled paper I was given years ago. I knew it needed to be made into something special. It reminds me of the saying, “April Showers bring May Flowers.”

 

2014 Lotus Flower 5

 

I made this paper Lotus Flower for all my music loving family and friends. I had to buy lots of music paper and make lots of these because I know so very many music lovers.

Enjoy, Candy

DIY Bunny Bookmarks Kids Can Make

This Bunny Bookmark is made out of a corner of an envelope that was headed to the recycle bin.

This Bunny Bookmark is made out of a corner of an envelope that was headed to the recycle bin.

These darling little bookmarks are made from the corners of envelopes. In my case, envelopes that would have otherwise ended up in my recycle bin. These bookmarks are super easy to make and a perfect craft project to do with children.

Here are two Bunny Bookmarks before they are put on the page of a book.

Here are two Bunny Bookmarks before they are put on the page of a book.

 

 

 

And this shows the back side of one of the Bunny Bookmarks with his little tail showing.

And this shows the back side of one of the Bunny Bookmarks with his little tail showing.

I found the idea on a blog post by A Thrifty Mom. She has instructions for her version there. I modified my bookmark to include a bunny tail, because you just can’t have a bunny without its fuzzy little tail. All you need to get started is an envelope, scissors, colored paper, glue (I used glue stick) and a marker or black pen.

Bunny Bookmark holding my place in my book.

Bunny Bookmark holding my place in my book.

Enjoy, Candy

Earth Spirit Vessels

This Earth Spirit Vessel is titled, Awakening.

This Earth Spirit Vessel is titled Awakening. It contains 528 individually hand-folded pieces of paper. It now has a new home with some friends who collect art.

Each of my Earth Spirit Vessels is made from hundreds of pieces of hand-folded paper. Within 25 of the papers of each vessel are hand-calligraphed quotes, inspirations and prayers relating to the Mother Earth and Nature. Once folded and made a part of the vessel, these messages are not meant to be seen or read, but to be embodied into the spirit of the vessel itself.

Earth Spirit Vessel Chance Encounter, made from 530 pieces of hand folded paper, is now en route to Massachusetts to its new home.

Earth Spirit Vessel, Chance Encounter, made from 530 pieces of hand folded paper, is now en route to Cambridge, Massachusetts to its new home.

I include, with each vessel, a photo of the hand-calligraphed messages that are in that particular vessel.

These are the calligraphy quotes, prayers and inspirations that are folded within the Earth Spirit Vessel Chance Encounter

These are the calligraphy quotes, prayers and inspirations that are folded and included within the Earth Spirit Vessel Chance Encounter (above)

The paper I used for these three vessels is Hahnemühle Ingres. It is a mouldmade, high alpha sheet that is acid free and highly lightfast. That may seem highly technical, but what it all means is that it’s a beautiful archival paper that is not supposed to fade over time when exposed to light. It took me a while to find a paper that had all the qualities I wanted. It has a wonderful tooth and texture. I buy it in full sheets, 18 and 3/4″ by 24 and 3/4″ and cut it into the 2″ by 4″ pieces of paper that I fold 9 times to make the units that become my Earth Spirit Vessels.

Earth Spirit Vessel titled Wonder, contains 288 pieces of hand folded paper.

Earth Spirit Vessel titled Wonder, contains 288 pieces of hand folded paper.

Messages in some of the Earth Spirit Vessels.

Message – Healthy earth equals healthy inhabitants -

This type of folding is often referred to as Golden Venture origami or Chinese modular origami. It was made popular in 1993 when a group of illegal Chinese refugees arrived on the ship “Golden Venture.” They were held in an American prison while waiting for their immigration trials. While in prison they began making traditional Chinese folded models using materials such as magazine covers. These models were sold at charity fund raisers. The resulting media coverage of the refugees helped to popularize this type of folding worldwide.

Message - Nature does nothing uselessly - Aristotle

Message – Nature does nothing uselessly – Aristotle

Most of the Golden Venture origami I saw was of traditional forms like dragons, swans and boats. I have always loved baskets, boxes and other containers. I decided I wanted to see if I could use this form of folding to make vessels. At the same time, I started learning to play the Native American Flute. As I combined the meditative processes of playing the flute and folding the paper, I decided I wanted to incorporate the feeling of both together into vessels. This is how my Earth Spirit Vessels came into being.

This is my drafting table with one of my Earth Spirit vessels beginning to be formed.

This is my drafting table with one of my Earth Spirit vessels beginning to be formed.

I have a few Earth Spirit Vessels on display at the Hilltop Gallery in Ashland, Oregon. I am happy to say that I took them three vessels on Sunday and they sold two of them within just a few hours. I posted the photos  of the sold vessels on Facebook and received commissions for two more. It makes me very happy to find other people loving these vessels as I do. It takes me a week or more to make each vessel (I can only do so much folding a day), so guess what I will be doing for the next several weeks.

Enjoy, Candy

DIY Boxes For Chocolate

This triangle box is made from one of my paste papers. It could hold more than one piece of chocolate.

This triangle box is made from one of my paste papers. It could hold more than one piece of chocolate.

The anticipatory tingling of my tastebuds is telling me that the 10th Annual Oregon Chocolate Festival is this weekend. There will be three days full of chocolate tastings, chef demos, competitions, chocolate workshops, even a chocolate-makers dinner. And it all kicks off with the First Friday Art & Chocolate Walk on Friday, March 7.

Five boxes, all perfect for holding a small piece of Dagoba chocolate.

Five boxes, all perfect for holding a small piece of Dagoba chocolate.

I’ve teamed up with Dagoba Chocolate and will be offering free Dagoba Chocolate with the purchase of any handmade box at my studio during the Walk.

Wouldn't this be a perfect box for white chocolate? I made the paper for this box by rolling a comb through drips of white acrylic paint on black paper. The black and white bead which was a gift from a friend. I think it goes perfectly with this box.

Wouldn’t this be a perfect box for white chocolate? I made the paper for this box by rolling a comb through drips of white acrylic paint on black paper. The black and white bead which was a gift from a friend. I think it goes perfectly with this box.

After all, what could be more perfect for a Chocolate Festival than boxes for chocolate? Whether to display the perfect truffle, give to the perfect person, or simply to haul your loot home in, boxes and chocolate go together like chocolate and strawberries, or chocolate and ice cream, or chocolate and peanut butter. Actually, is there anything chocolate doesn’t go with?

I put truffles in Crown Jewel Heart Boxes and used them as place settings for Valentine's Day.

I put truffles in Crown Jewel Heart Boxes and used them as place settings for Valentine’s Day.

Put a piece of chocolate into this Cube Heart Box and give it to a loved one. It will make a big hit.

Put a piece of chocolate into this Cube Heart Box and give it to a loved one. It will be a big hit.

 

This 2-Toned box and Dagoba Chocolate are made for one another.

This 2-Toned box and Dagoba Chocolate are made for one another.

I’ve put together an array of boxes (and their templates so you can make them yourself) that are perfect for giving to the chocolate lovers in your life. Just don’t forget to add the chocolate. I’ve shared these templates before on my blog, but now they’re all together in one place. And, while I’ve shared them before, the boxes are ones I’ve made just for this occasion.

Truffle Box Blog Post
Truffle Box template

Crown Jewel Blog Post
Crown Jewel Heart Box template

Cube Heart Box Blog Post
Cube Heart Box template

Triangle Box Blog Post
Folded Triangle Box template

2-Tone Box Blog Post
2-Toned Box small template

Happy Chocolate Loving, Candy

Sneak Peek – Earth Spirit Vessels

This Earth Spirit Vessel is made from nearly 300 individually folded pieces of paper.

This Earth Spirit Vessel is made from nearly 300 individually folded pieces of paper.

Here is a sneak peek at what I’ve been working on recently: Earth Spirit Vessels.

Recently, in this case, translates to ‘roughly the past year’. And it’s been a year of ups and downs—looking for the right papers, figuring out how to finish the bottoms (wood base it turns out, which meant finding the right wood) and more. Fun, but a very involved process.

Here is one of the 25 individually calligraphed messages that are in the above Earth Spirit Vessel.

Here is one of the 25 individually calligraphed messages that are in the above Earth Spirit Vessel.

Each vessel is made from literally hundreds of folded pieces of paper. I have handwritten or calligraphed messages and quotes on many of the papers before folding them, and they will never be seen after the Earth Spirit Vessel has been made.

It’s been an adventure. I’ve also done some playing around with the folded pieces, and another time I’ll show you some of the other things I can make from them besides vessels. You’d be amazed at their versatility.

I ‘ll post more about these vessels later, but I wanted to give you all a sneak peek of what I’ve been working on when I’m not making new art to post on my blog.

Enjoy, Candy

DIY Truffle Box – with Template

This Truffle Box (named because my friends said it was perfect for a single truffle) was made from one of my scanned paste papers.

This Truffle Box (named because my friends said it was perfect for a single truffle) was made from one of my scanned paste papers.

My friend, Nancy, introduced me to this cute little box years ago. She showed me how to make it by using an 8 1/2″ by 11″ piece of paper and drawing all the lines in with a pencil and ruler.  And even though that’s how I have been making this little box for years, when I decided to share it on my blog, I figured it would be easier if I made a template you could download.

For this Truffle Box I used watercolor on printmaking paper. I cut a slit in the front flap and threaded wire ribbon through it and scrunched the ribbon to look like a bow.

For this Truffle Box I used watercolor on printmaking paper. I cut a slit in the front flap and threaded wire ribbon through it and scrunched the ribbon to look like a bow.

I painted, using a roller, on the piece of paper I used to make this Truffle Box.

I painted, using a roller, on the piece of paper I used to make this Truffle Box.

This is a speckled piece of card stock. Even a fairly plain piece of paper can make a lovely Truffle Box.

This is a speckled piece of card stock. Even a fairly plain piece of paper can make a lovely Truffle Box. Note that I used a corner rounder on the front flap of this box.

This Truffle Box was made with one of my paste papers. I cut a slit in the front flap and threaded the ribbon through it, then tied the bow.

This Truffle Box was made with one of my paste papers. I cut a slit in the front flap and threaded the ribbon through it, then tied the bow.

In this photo I show how you fold the box. It can be a little difficult to understand how to fold the box the first time around, so I hope this helps.

In this photo I show how you fold the box. It can be a little difficult to understand how to fold the box the first time around, so I hope this helps.

If you’re like my friends, you probably think that the best thing to put in boxes is chocolate. This box is no exception. My friends named it a Truffle Box for  it’s sheer perfection in holding a delicate truffle. I’m not at entirely certain that all the Truffle Boxes made it to their intended recipients, though.

This Truffle Box works best if you use card stock. It can be made with a heavy text paper, but could need a reinforcing square in the bottom of the box.

It's easy to make the box look extra special with gold thread and beads that match the color of your Truffle Box.

It’s easy to make the box look extra special with gold thread and beads that match the color of your Truffle Box.

Click here to download the Truffle Box template.

Enjoy, Candy

Hearts I’ve Shared on Facebook

These hot pink and gold hearts were punched out, then sewn on embroidery thread. They made a wonderful little garland.

These hot pink and gold hearts were punched out, then sewn on embroidery thread. They made a wonderful little garland.

On my Facebook page, I have been sharing a photo every day on a particular topic (one topic per month). January was Hearts and February is Red. Yes, a little bit of an overlap for hearts and red. I just love hearts. So here are some of my favorite Heart photos.

These are paper covered pencils. I love the hearts. You can see more paper covered pencils along with instructions on my blog post: Paper Covered Pencils

These are paper covered pencils. I love the hearts. You can see more paper covered pencils along with instructions on my blog post: Paper Wrapped Pencils.

These heart paperclips I made from regular paperclips I love colorful paperclips. Now I even have heart ones. What fun!

These heart paperclips I made from regular paperclips I love colorful paperclips. Now I even have heart ones. What fun!

I found this card when I was going through some old files. It was a proof for a wedding invitation for a friend a number of years ago. She actually chose a different design of mine that didn't include a heart.

I found this card when I was going through some old files. It was a proof for a wedding invitation for a friend a number of years ago. She actually chose a different design of mine that didn’t include a heart.

This is how the above card looks when it is opened.

This is how the above card looks when it is opened.

 

This is a blast from the past. As I was looking through some old files for some mail art envelopes for a blog post I am working on, I found this. It is a proof that my mom did for a wedding that took place in 1977. I introduced my mom to calligraphy only a couple years earlier and this was one of her earliest pieces of calligraphy.

This is a blast from the past. As I was looking through some old files, I found this. It is a proof that my mom did for a wedding that took place in 1977. I introduced my mom to calligraphy a short time before she did this. It is one of her earliest pieces of calligraphy.

For this card, I folded a piece of decorated paper I had left over from another project into the heart. Then I printed "Love Ya" in red with a stencil font.

For this card, I folded a piece of decorated paper I had left over from another project into the heart. Then I printed “Love Ya” in red with a stencil font.

I made this using ink and gouache on printmaking paper.

I made this using ink and gouache on printmaking paper.

Just to let you know, March will be Tools (as in the tools I use to make my art) and April will be A-Word-A-Day and May will be Flowers. Feel free to offer suggestions for future topics for months to come.

You can join in, too. Post your own Red photos on Facebook in February and tag them #MyFebruaryChallenge #Red #MyPaperArts.

See more at www.facebook.com/mypaperarts

Happy Valentine’s Day, Candy

DIY Crown Jewel Heart Box – Template included

This Crown Jewel Heart Box was made from a piece of decorated paper that was red on one side and had a wonderful print on the other.

I named this the Crown Jewel Heart Box  because the shape reminds me of the Crown Jewels. The above box is made out of light weight card stock. 

I discovered a puffy little box and absolutely fell in love with it. I’ve modified the box a bit and turned it into what I call a Crown Jewel Heart Box. I even made a template that you can download, so it’s very easy to make these cute little boxes yourself.

This Crown Jewel Heart Box was made from hot pink card stock that was sprayed with some purple ink. The heart shows the unsprayed hot pink. I love the contrast.

This Crown Jewel Heart Box was made from hot pink card stock. I sprayed purple ink on one side of the paper. The heart shows the unsprayed hot pink. I love the contrast.

The Crown Jewel Heart Box looks lovely even when made in just red text paper.

The Crown Jewel Heart Box looks lovely, even when made in just red text paper.

I named this box the Crown Jewel Heart Box because the shape reminded me of the Crown Jewels.

Solid red or print, the Crown Jewel Heart Box looks great. The print papers I used to make the boxes above are both light weight card stock.

The Crown Jewel Heart Box in red, hot pink and purple text weight papers. Card stock or text weight papers work for this box.

The Crown Jewel Heart Box in red, hot pink and purple text weight papers. Card stock or text weight papers work for this box.

Print the template out on the back side of your chosen paper. Cut along the solid lines. Fold along the dashed lines. Then slip the two halves of the hearts through the slits and open the heart. You can either crease the heart halves or push them open gently for a softer look.

This Crown Jewel Heart Box works with either text weight or cover weight paper. Click here to download the Crown Jewel Heart Box template.

Enjoy, Candy

Long-Stemmed Hearts Revisited

Long stemmed hearts in a variety of colors are perfect for Valentine's Day.
Long stemmed hearts in a variety of colors are perfect for Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day is approaching and I decided I would revisit a post I did last January on Long-Stemmed Hearts. It is a favorite of mine and I hope you enjoy it again too.

Lately I have been playing around with paper hearts. My favorite I have dubbed the Long-Stemmed Heart. I started out making the traditional red heart. Then I decided to add pinks and purples. Why stop there? I got a little carried away and have made the hearts in all sorts of colors. Then it was time to play with different color combinations for the bouquets.

Long stem hearts 3
Purple, blue and teal Long-Stemmed Hearts.
Long stem hearts 4
Warm colored Long-Stemmed Hearts.
Long stem hearts 5
Purples and blue look great. You don’t always have to have red hearts.
Here I went with reds, pinks and purple long stemmed hearts.
Here I went with cool colored Long-Stemmed Hearts.

Unlike roses, my Long-Stemmed Hearts won’t wilt after a week and never need watering. In fact, it’s highly advised that you don’t.

I hope this inspires you.

Enjoy, Candy