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Scribble Artist Interview with Guy Laramée!

Pétra (2007). Eroded encyclopedias, pigment, 12 x 11.25 x 8.5 in.

Pétra (2007). Eroded encyclopedias, pigment, 12 x 11.25 x 8.5 in.

Scribble Town (ST): We are constantly traveling on a journey.  It’s amazing how each part seems like a whole world of it’s own with all it’s intricacies and surprises. From books, to words, to feelings, all these experiences connect us, either to each other or to our surroundings.  That’s how I felt when I saw Guy Laramée’s work.  I found myself walking through his artworks, which are fantastical microcosms in the grand scheme of things.

Due to it’s uniqueness, I would rather not attempt to classify your art, but how would you describe it?

Guy Laramée (GL): People define me socially as an artist. I make art.

ST: What are you up to at the moment?

GL: Right now I’m doing exactly this : beginning what looks as an “Atlas of No-Mind”.

ST: Wow, I can’t even begin to imagine just how overflowing with indescribable findings this atlas will be!

Your artwork is very full, complex and interdisciplinary in a playful and magical way!  How do you combine music and art?  And what about words and art?  For example, your poem titled Rain has many oil paintings related to the text.  What came first?

Pour Calame (2010) Oil on canvas 102 X 147 cm

Pour Calame (2010). Oil on canvas 102 X 147 cm

I don’t combine music and visual art. They were different moments of my life. Maybe I’m more multi-disciplinary than interdisciplinary.

I have a love-hate relationship with words, that’s why I both love and destroy books. I find that words are beautiful, they open up entire worlds, but at the same time they fix things in a way that binds us.

Rain (pluie in French) came as a body of work first. But while I was doing the research and starting the actual paintings, I collected poems and texts to understand my feelings about rain, how rain is profoundly nostalgic, calming and beautiful. To translate these feelings on a more existential level, I wrote the poem.


May it rain
May it rain on this troubled world
May this rain erase borders
May it mix colors, forms, and times.
May it rain upon me
May the sound of this rain
Wash myself from myself
May this rain dissolve me
Until I recognize myself in trees, mountains, and people.
May I keep hearing this rain
Through the clamour of ambitions.
May it rain
May it rain upon our confused minds
And (that) through this rain
May we return home.

-Guy Laramée, March 2010

 It’s a beautiful poem!  It lends itself to giving the reader images in their minds and context for your paintings. How have your studies in anthropology inspired your artwork?  What has been you artistic path?  I can see your interests run deep and wide with the range of mediums and concepts you use.

GL: Anthropology came as a way for me to understand that there exist different worldviews and that in their own world, they are all equally valid. They clash one with another, but all worldviews have some fascinating coherence. Thus my problem was/is : if truth – by definition – is unique, if truth can be equated to Oneness, then how come it manifests itself under so many guises, in so many forms? How can Truth encompass contradictions?

The variety of mediums I used only reflect the incapacity of each medium, of each piece, of each work to say it all. The incompletude (uncompletedness ?) of each art work keeps me on the move.

Tuyos, Microtonal and Gestural Music for Invented instruments, 1986-92.

Tuyos, Microtonal and Gestural Music for Invented instruments, 1986-92.

 The way you manipulate and use books as sculpture is amazing!  How did you start carving books?  Please let us know more about Les Livres-Lumier.  I would love to visit those mountain tops one day!

GL: I cannot really say how I’m doing it because I feel more and more that it is not me who is doing this. When I enter the process (often reluctantly…!) I am possessed by a force that is quite powerful and that “decides” so to speak how things are going to go this time, what tools will be used, etc. Tools and processes change all the time, sometime new tools have to be created. The only thing I know for sure is : since I invent tools, I’m not a monkey, thus I must be human (lol). Even that I don’t really know for sure. I’d rather see the artistic process as a process of Unknowing rather than a learning process.

DRAGON OVER THE CLOUDS. 2014.  Webster dictionary, inks,  pigments, Plexiglass, wood, LEDs.  18 x 21 x 16 (h) inches.  (47.7 x 53.3 x 40.6 cm)

Dragon Over the Clouds (2014). Webster dictionary, inks, pigments, Plexiglass, wood, LEDs.
18 x 21 x 16 (h) inches. (47.7 x 53.3 x 40.6 cm)

 Your work ranges from 2D to 3D.  Do you feel that some of your 3D works could also work at 2 dimensional pieces?  How do you decide what mediums and platforms to best portray your ideas?

GL: Once I showed an art magazine to a friend who happens to be a photographer. There was a piece in there that was quite ambiguous, like a painting stretched on a sculpture. I asked him ” “What do you think, is this a painting or a sculpture ?” I went for the sculpture. I shouted at him, laughing : “It’s neither ! It’s a photograph !!”

Think about it : 99 % of the art works you saw in your life, you know then only through photographs. Interesting, right ? So in a way you could say that the ‘essence’ of the work can make it into a translation, either photographical or textual; or you could say that for you, the real work is the photograph. If you were to be true to yourself, the work for you is a photo.

So of course my 3D work works very well in 2D, people buy it after seeing it on the internet…!

Guan Yin. Wood, linen, rags, integrated lighting. 16 x 16 x 13 feet ( 5 x 5 x 4 meter). 2011.

Guan Yin (2011). Wood, linen, rags, integrated lighting. 16 x 16 x 13 feet ( 5 x 5 x 4 meter).

 You’re absolutely right!  The transformations between mediums and documentations of those changes creates a whole new piece of it’s own every time.

When you come up with an idea what is usually your process for working it through?

GL: If I had found a recipe to make my work, I would SELL IT ! There’s no recipe. Like in love. The moment you fix it, it’s gone. That’s the beauty of it, that’s why also I’m always in a state of profound anxiety (half kidding : it is not easy to make insecurity your home…).

ST: Did anybody encourage your creativity when you were a child?

GL: Nobody encouraged me really. My parents gave me the usual painting boxes and tools, but when they saw that it was becoming serious, they did their very best to discourage me. I wish they had succeeded, really, because see in what mess I’m in now : don’t know where the next $$ are going to come from, don’t know what I’m going to do this morning, don’t know how I will ever come out of that terrible state of solitude that I ended up closing myself in, etc etc. Creativity is not a choice and thus it cannot even be fostered. Creativity is an imperative. It is the imperative of life itself. We chose nothing. We follow the current of life or resist it. Even to think that we decide to follow or resist is fallacious. The current of life is all there is.

ST: Guy, what would be some artful advice for our Scribble readers?

GL: Don’t fear solitude. That’s the only advice I can give. When you are alone, don’t try to escape it. Drop your cell phone in a pond. Put your TV to the trash bin. Stop losing your time on computer screens. These things suck your creativity.

Be alone as much as you can. Then the voices of the muses will take care of the rest. They will guide you.

ST: I understand what you mean. We are, in the end, our own best friend even though sometimes it can seem like we are our own enemy!  Thank you so much for sharing with us!  You have given us all whole lot to chew on- from concepts to techniques.  Scribblers, for more inspiration please have a look at Guy’s website at


Scribble Artist Interview with Dan Reeder!

Buddha and Jo by Dan Reeder

Buddha and Jo by Dan Reeder

Scribble Town (ST): Always inventing, always creating, Dan Reeder makes the imaginable life size!  Dan says, “Around the Pacific Northwest I am known as Dan the Monster Man.”   He made my first dragon when he was twenty-two years old and that was quite a while ago. Dan, this career started when you were younger.  Do you see it coming?  Perhaps as a kid?

Dan Reeder (DR): I don’t recall thinking at all about careers.   I have always done art because I enjoyed it.  But I never dreamed of becoming an artist.  I was just busy being a kid.  (And that’s the way it should be I think!)
ST: Being a kid means to be in the moment! Can you remember the first time you saw a paper mache project? What inspired you to get involved with this technique? 

Bulldog by Dan Reeder

Bulldog by Dan Reeder

DR: I was teaching elementary school in 1972.  The budgets were being cut and the first thing to go was support for our “art specialist”.    So the kids only got art for 40 minutes every other week, not long enough to make anything that they were truly invested in.   Because I’ve always believed that art is important, I wanted an art project to do with my 5th graders that would a) take significant commitment, b) guarantee their success (that was “goof proof”) and c) that was fairly inexpensive.   A paper mache monster unit was the ideal solution.  I made my first monster in preparation for teaching that unit.  It ended up almost defining my career.  The popularity of that unit was beyond anything I could have imagined.

ST: Our paths are full of surprises! Paper mache is obviously your forte. Did you ever get involved in any other types of mediums before you discovered your passion for this one?
DR: I dabbled in several mediums growing up.  I worked with clay, but gave up after breaking some of my best pieces.  I loved using water color and pen and ink.   I resurrected some of that interest when I wrote (and illustrated) my children’s book, William’s Treasure.

ST: You are full of talent!  I see you’re very much into mythological creatures.  Any particular mythology you are fascinated with? What draws you towards them?

Sea Dragon by Dan Reeder

Sea Dragon by Dan Reeder

DR: I’m really not into mythological creatures. I’ve only made one I think, my Minotaur. I would like to make a Medusa and maybe and Hydra.  But I’m only interested in mythology in so far as there are interesting creatures to consider.
ST: Do you ever see yourself exploring and creating a different type of theme in the future?
DR: I just want to make dragons.  It’s what I love to make.  I force myself to make other non-dragon projects just to show my skill with the medium the versatility of paper mache.  But I have made many different kinds of projects over the years.
ST: Did you ever study art in school or was it more of a side hobby?  What has been your artistic path? 

Maleficent by Dan Reeder

Maleficent by Dan Reeder

DR: I didn’t have any formal art education other than my classes in high school.   Once I started doing paper mache I added my own innovations.   And I just haven’t been interested in other mediums since (with the exception of doing my children’s book).   If you want to do art I think it’s important to experiment for a while, but to eventually land on a medium that you can make your own.  I consider myself fortunate for having found a medium that I love.

ST: Many of your videos are shot in hyper-lapse. Around how long does it take you to complete one of your masterpieces?

I’ve tried to time how long it takes but have failed miserably.  Partly because there is drying time to consider and I’m always making more than one piece at a time.  And I’m usually taking video and photos which adds time to the project.   So I would guess that most are 40-80 hours of work.   But that is a guess.   btw.  The videos are actually in time-lapse.  They are fast because I shoot at only 1 frame per second. 

ST: Masterpieces don’t happen over night!  You are full of wise tips, anything else we should know?  

DR: I think you can do paper mache at any age, but you must obviously adapt the medium to the age you are teaching.   My only advice is to make something.  Don’t avoid the messy art.   Practice is key. 

ST: Practice and play with the medium. For sure!

DR: My best advice for someone wanting to learn my techniques would be to watch my videos and visit my blog.  I show many of my pieces being made, step-by-step on my blog,   Of course I also have how-to books on my website,

ST: We will definitely do that.  Thanks Dan and keep us posted on your artworks!

Naga by Dan Reeder

Naga by Dan Reeder

Getting Started with Paper Mache!

 Papier Mache Sculptures by Shirley Hintz

Papier Mache Sculptures
by Shirley Hintz

Are you feeling crafty? Well, of course you are! Why not make something fun and easy that will leave you wanting to create more and more? The good ol’ Paper Mache technique allows you to build your own creation and develop any form or shape you can imagine! Starting in 1725, paper mache as a craft was first experimented in Europe. It began as a low-cost alternative to creating sculptures. It has developed successfully to this day and continues to be one of the most popular creative methods to explore.

In essence, the process is quite simple. First you need a pile of newspaper. You can form the inner piece, or frame of your paper mache object by simply folding a bunch of newspaper together and taping it to develop the shape you want. The frame can also be made of wood or chicken wire. From here you rip up newspaper into strips. Next you must coat your pre-built object with the paper mache paste. There are several different ways you can create this paste. The way in which most people make it is by mixing water and glue together. Another way is by mixing flour and water together. Either way your paper mache will still come together, so it’s really your choice whether you want to choose the glue or flour!

After your paste is stirred and ready to go, you then dip each piece of ripped newspaper into the paste. You then begin to place these pieces of wet newspaper onto your object one by one, filling up all the spaces and building your masterpiece. Although it can get a bit sticky, paper mache is always worth the mess! It can take a while for paper mache to dry. Best thing to do is to wait 24 hours and continue working on it the following day before adding anything extra to it. Once your paper mache dries, you can paint it the way you want!

Dan Reeder is an artist that takes paper mache to the next level.  He is a paper mache artist from Seattle, Washington. He is known as “Dan the Monster” for his exquisite work and has been creating these pieces for over four decades. He was given this name because of the article written about him in 1982. Without him knowing, his mother sent his work to the Seattle Post Intelligencer’s “People” section of the Seattle newspaper. From the newspaper many heard of his amazing work and were astonished by what he was able to come up with. Here is also a 360 view of his artwork in his own studio! Click the link and click again on ‘Auto Rotation’ on the bottom right hand corner.

Check out this video about one his great paper mache dragon trophies. Enjoy!

Published by Andi Thea, on January 29th, 2015 at 12:44 pm. Filled under: Arts & Crafts,Design,Paper Art,Uncategorized Tags: , , , No Comments

Scribble Artist Interview with Martina Miño!

Animals playing in the water

Animals playing in the water

Scribble Town (ST): Martina Miño, an artist from Quito, Ecuador, combines theory and the practice of art through her collages.  Her work challenges the viewer to create their own interpretation from her mix of images and text.

Martina, where are you located and what are you up to these days?

Martina Miño (MM): Currently I live in Helsinki, Finland. Moving away from Ecuador has given  me a lot of new inspiration and material to explore the media that I currently work with. At the moment I make physical and digital collage and writing. I feel very curious about where the limits lie between the meaning created by the word and the meaning created by the image. The juxtaposition of ideas and different media interest me because I can build meaning through contrast and through the close exploration of fragments.

ST: It’s from these juxtapositions and created cut together contexts that your collages are such good story instigators!  The titles seem to play a very important part in your artwork.  How do you play with text and image?

MM: The titles of the collages play a huge role for the building of sense of many of my projects. The presence of the title not only portrays the collages as narratives but also gives tools for the audience to access them. The use of both the word and the image allows me to explore the permanency of ideas through their immateriality. Through the collages I wish to reflect upon the randomness and awkwardness our reality is built on.  The projects may tell and inhabit recognizable stories and settings that we can explore in a new way through our own subjectivity.

The void in inside you.

The void in inside you.

ST: Your titles really set the stage for the image, but in the end, we perceive them so individually with our personal histories. From an image comes one thousand stories! How did you get started with creating collages?

MM: My involvement with collage has been part of a very long process of exploration. I have always felt attracted to writing and the thing I enjoy the most about it has been to create questions. I have always felt uncomfortable expressing definite truths or closed answers through my texts because for me truths are completely subjective and answers are in many cases temporary.  Many people use images to support the meaning of a text and its understanding, but I realized I wanted to do just the opposite. I wanted to create a void and an opening to portray narratives of uncertainty. I have a great passion for the universe of images as well and how our world works through their appropriation. We live overexposed to a huge amount of images that work as instigators and ask for a reaction. The interest I have had in creating the collages has probably started when I realized the power of the fragments and how could I create meaning through the juxtaposition of incomplete ideas.

ST: What’s your process for creating these collages?  Do you feel that the images you find inspire you or do you have a story you want to tell and then you seek the images you need to support that?  What prompted you to create “You Never Come Around Anymore”?

You never come around anymore

You never come around anymore

MM: The process of creating a collage normally  starts when I overexpose myself to a huge amount of images through the internet, magazines and through my own camera. In most situations I get initially inspired by an element I might have found in a particular picture that interests me. This can be a facial expression, a texture, or the feeling I get when I look at it. From that point on I start to think why do I feel this interest and how can I emphasize it. Inspiration comes from feelings and situations I can’t understand and through which I try to portray that state of confusion or strangeness. The characters of the collages come most of the time from my camera while the landscapes and surreal backgrounds are created with the help of the internet. In the cases of all the works the title is created in the end of the process, and its based on the general feeling I get of the finished image.

In the case of “You don’t come around anymore”, this collage was initially inspired by the background which is the moon. This setting was perfect to represent the sense of loneliness inside an unexplored feeling. Space portrays for me a fascinating but hostile and asphyxiating setting, where life and love are impossible, and death almost certain.



The building of ICE:FLESH was also very interesting for me because I guided this collage through the exploration of the sensuality of textures. This collage seeks to explore the physicality of sensations such as the carnality of love and the coldness hidden inside a flame of passion. Another project that opened new horizons for my work was “Rushing Somewhere, Going Nowhere” and “Ups..” Through these collages I used some important narratives from video-games. Even though everyone understands that the video-game reality is fictional I focused in certain behaviors that are replicated in our society such as the lightness with which some pull off the trigger as they press Enter in their computer keyboard.

ST: From 2D a 3 dimensional world comes to life! What tools does one need to start collaging?

MM: For me, and indispensable condition that has allowed me to explore the world of collage is to de-attach myself from the preconceptions of reality and accept the fact that our subjective realities are always in a transformative state. It is also important to believe in the value of imagination, most of the ideas that are created through imagination are not conceived in a rational way but many gives us amazing ideas  to express the way we appreciate life and the world. As I said before I work through physical and digital collage. The wonderful thing about physical collage is that it is born from waste, for example, the old magazines we don’t use, old books and newspapers. This wasted images and texts carry a historical weight of the contexts they used to belong in before and that makes them even more interesting for a new use.  In the case of digital collage my main tool is Photoshop. The feature that attracts me the most about digital collage is that it exists only in a virtual world which makes them accessible only through the use of technology. These are exposed to a virtual audience that is very unknown to me. This gives me the sensation of creating something in a reality I do not control, trust, or will ever understand completely.  The results achieved through physical and digital collage create very different results from each other, but a thing is very important for me to maintain in both of them is the feeling that each fragment comes from a different context and its relationship with the other elements is uncomfortable but existent.

Rushing Somewhere. Going nowhere.

Rushing Somewhere. Going nowhere.

ST: Here we have subjectivity again; one persons idea of garbage is gold for another.  The images you have found in the trash are now being used to create more stories.  I find comfort in that nothing is always something.  Your artwork proves that too.

Who are some artists you get inspiration from?

MM: I get inspiration from some collage artists, assemblage artists and photographers. Gabriele Beveridge and Wangechi Mutu are a great source of inspiration for me. I feel inspired by them because they have been able to make interesting statements about femininity and have transcended the bi-dimensionality of collage with the use of unexpected and interesting materials that linger through the poetics of the assemblage. In the future I would also like to  work with three dimensionality because it would give me the opportunity to have more contact with the physicality and real texture of objects. Another artist I get inspired by is Roger Ballen, through his white and black photographs he transmits “complex meanings through simple forms” which is something I would also like to attain through my work.

ST: I am sure you are full of creative tips. What are some of your secrets?

MM: Some tips for collage making!



Paper, scissors and glue is all you need to start collaging! These following tips can make your experience more enjoyable:

– I normally work with spray glue, because it doesn’t wrinkle the paper and gives you flexibility of movement of the pieces for a while until it dries. It is better to use this glue in the exterior due to its strong smell, or wear a mask during its use.
– Canson paper is a good option for doing collage, its texture is thick enough to resist the humidity of the glue.
– Collage is not only about cutting and pasting. Drawing and writing can also bring you interesting results.
– Organize the pieces in the paper without glue first and manipulate the pieces as little as you can, especially if you work with newspaper because its ink might spread.

Some tips on creativity an ideas!

– If you want to get inspired you can think of a story you would like to tell through your image!
– Sometimes it can be helpful to imagine one of you favourite fictional characters and build their world or explain their life through the images! This will introduce to another worlds and realities.
-You can also imagine your life in another country or another planet and build the landscape, create the animals, imagine weather etc.
-Trust you imagination, anything can be possible!

ST: Thank you, Martina! You have been a great inspiration for many! Please have a look at Martina’s blog to see more of her artwork at 

Gabriele Beveridge Untitled 2012 Magazine pages, glass, frame, spray paint 84 x 42 cm

Gabriele Beveridge
Magazine pages, glass, frame, spray paint
84 x 42 cm

Scribble Artist Interview with Joy B. Thurston!

Scribble Town (ST): Joy B. Thurston’s collages take you to another world!  A surreal place where buildings stand diagonally and the sky feels like it’s flying.  With such images the creator of these artworks must be a visionary storyteller!

Meteor Over Tribeca, 16"x16"

Meteor Over Tribeca, 16″x16″, Joy B. Thurston

Joy B. Thurston (JT): I was very fortunate to have attended New York University in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Soho and the art world were just beginning to become the epicenter of all that was new.  It was a very exciting time. One did not venture too far off of West Broadway as it was dangerous and dirty. There were about seven art galleries and just two places to eat. Artists’ lofts were accessed by having a freight elevator lowered each time there was a visitor or one would have to walk up flights of steps that were unstable and sometimes not always there.

A Laurelton Sky, 16"x16"

A Laurelton Sky, 16″x16″, Joy B. Thurston

ST: Yes, that must have been a super exciting time!  Maybe that is why your collages take me to another space!  They carry very much feeling of adventure.  NYC is a place full of the unknown, widely talented, and everything in between. That deep seated characteristic is felt in your collages.

How did you get started with creating collages?

JT: While attending NYU for my Masters Degree, I had the rare opportunity to study with Chuck Close and do independent study with Sol Lewitt. Sol also had a class in which he would take his students to the lofts of his friends. I was able to see some very accomplished artists such as Dwayne Hanson, Richard Serra, Brice Marden, Lynda Benglis, among others at work in their studios. These studios often did not have hot water or much heat, but they were big and cheap and allowed the artists to have huge spaces where they could work and live.This remarkable education has never left me and has instilled an aesthetic I hold precious.
The House on Hockey Trail, 16"x16"

The House on Hockey Trail, 16″x16″, Joy B. Thurston

I eventually moved to the suburbs to raise my children. I needed an outlet for my creativity and I needed to find something I was able to pick up and put down and keep simple in between carpooling and working.

ST: What tools does one need to start making collages?

JT: All I ever need is a scissor and some rubber cement.  Rubber cement is good, because, if you change your mind, it is easy to remove a piece. I work inside of a picture frame to give me boundaries. Some collages happen right away, sometimes, I have to wait for many magazines for the right piece to find its way to me. Some collages are very simple and some require a lot of pieces.  Sometimes, I cheat and go to the color copier at Staples to reproduce an image I like so I can use it again. Moving a piece even a quarter of an inch can also change the balance. I have to be careful not to disrupt the composition before I glue it down. An important thing  is to know when it is finished and stop!

Hotel del Coronado, 16"x16"

Hotel del Coronado, 16″x16″, Joy B. Thurston

ST: You must collect a lot of magazines!  Where do you find your material?

JT: One of my great loves is architecture and I collected a lot of magazines. I see buildings as just big sculpture.  I could not save all the magazines I had collected so I started to tear out pages that I really liked and saved them in boxes.  A lot of my time is spent  just cutting out these images.

After moving around a few pieces, it would illicit a memory or a feeling and then I would have to search for the rest of the puzzle pieces. The sky and clouds became important to me as a source of memory, too.  I have to search out the perfect sky and I keep a big box of assorted blues, grays and greens to choose from. No matter where you are, in a city or in the country, sky is the only part of nature that is always there. You can tell the time of day, the temperature and the season by the color and cloud formations. I also find the idea of airplanes and other forms of space travel moving in the sky exciting and mysterious.

Twin Palms, 16”x16”

Twin Palms, 16”x16”, Joy B. Thurston

ST: When I look at your collages, I ask myself, “What lies beyond the BIG BLUE sky?!”

Who are some artists you get inspiration from?

JT: My favorite collagist is Joseph Cornell. While most artist in the 1950’s was doing some form of abstract expressionism, he was making these precious boxes filled with objects he found as he wandered around New York City. I consider him an “outsider artist”, someone who has little or no art training but makes art through innocent eyes. Romare Beardon is another exciting collagist who through his work tells an important part of american history. Man Ray is also a favorite of mine. He was a groundbreaking artist who led the way for many experimental art forms.

Big Blue Blows, 12”x18”

Big Blue Blows, 12”x18”, Joy B. Thurston

I still enjoy going into a gallery or a museum, but art is different today. There are no longer any affordable neighborhoods for artists to live and work in. There are no longer any “movements” i.e. conceptual, minimalist, pop etc. Artists seem to work on a more personal level and i think there is more concern as to its marketability then anything else.

ST: Thank you, Joy for sharing with us!  Paper and cement glue, here I come!

 The Worldport, 16”x16”

The Worldport, 16”x16”, Joy B. Thurston

Scribble Artist Interview with Katherine Belsey!

Scribble Town (ST): When I first came across the website, Make Pop-Up Cards, it blew me away.  The site allowed me to immediately make what I was imagining in 3D! How amazing it is to do that!  My next step was wanting to learn more about the creator of the site and all these wonderful projects. Thanks Katherine for being with us in Scribble Town!  Please tell us a bit about yourself.

downloadKatherine Belsey (KB): I was born in New Orleans but I grew up in the French-speaking region of Switzerland, overlooking Lake Geneva. My parents are American and we spoke English at home, but I went to school in French and became a Swiss citizen — but now I’ve come full circle and I’m back in the US, living in Brooklyn, NY. I feel very much at home here because so many people are transplants like me, they come from somewhere else, they don’t quite belong.

ST: From the looks of your website, you have many creations happening. What are you up to these days?

KB: Recently I’ve been working more and more on custom projects. It’s very fun to collaborate with other people and translate their ideas into pop-ups. It pushes me out of my comfort zone sometimes, when they want something I wouldn’t have done on my own — and that’s a very good thing! (

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Wow! Creating custom made pop-up cards must be fun. Kind of like making mini sculptures of this person. You are so talented in many different fields!  From paper engineering to designing swimming pools, there you are!  Please let us know about some of these adventures.  Your path is so unique.

KB: It’s true that there seems to be a world of difference between a pop-up card and a swimming pool, but in many ways they are very similar. They’re all about using and dividing space, and about solving seemingly impossible obstacles, overcoming constraints. For pop-up cards there are very strict rules to follow or the paper will just not open and close properly. In the case of the pool, we couldn’t dig any deeper and there was not enough ceiling height in the basement location to have a pool with a satisfying depth. I realized that if we split the entire space with a sheet of glass, we could fill up one side with water and make the pool as deep as we wished. The result was stunning. Without the limits imposed by the difficult location the house owners would simply have built an ordinary pool. Without the requirement for a pop-up card to fold flat and then open in 3D, you just have a paper model — which can be beautiful too, but it won’t take your breath away like a pop-up card does.

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I see what you are saying. A folded object can also be seen as a closed world to an open space. Where do you think your craft and curiosity came from?  Who encouraged you to create?

KB: I didn’t get active encouragement by which I mean classes, tutors or anything like that, but I was given plenty of opportunities in other ways. I was surrounded by music, art supplies, books, and lots of unstructured time with nothing to do. An incredible luxury! It wasn’t that long ago but it was a different world; not only pre-internet, it was pre-home computers. My mother just set me loose. If I complained of boredom she would tell me to go draw or read a book. I started out being an avid reader rather than a download 4maker, and I would become completely absorbed by the stories I read. I lived the stories and I saw them, so I hated seeing movies of “my” books because they always got it wrong. I also hated watching the movies first and then reading the book, because then I was stuck with someone else’s images as I read. It’s funny because after college I ended up going to film school. By then I had become much more of a maker: I was in the creative writing program at Brown, but I took a lot of art classes at RISD in sculpture, glass and industrial design. Film was the perfect way to blend storytelling with my growing interest in visual expression.

ST: How did you get into Paper Engineering?  Are there any basic tips you can share to get us started.

KB: After working for a few years in film production I started a family, and 60 hour work weeks were no longer an option — so I quit that career, and I was fortunate enough to be able to stay at home with my two young boys. Taking care of babies is rewarding and wonderful but it is also one of the most difficult physical and emotional challenges there is. Overnight your whole identity is eclipsed, you are now a mom. You carry snacks, you wipe noses, you’re too busy to see your old friends, and too tired to read a real book. On the other hand you get to read “Go Dog Go,” lie on the floor, and you get to play with paper for hours on end. That is how I became a paper engineer. After drawing countless cats and dogs, I got a request for a house. A real house, not a drawing. I live in an apartment where space is precious, and I knew that if I made a big cardboard castle it would eat up a room, gather dust, and cause tantrums if I tried throwing it out. Years before I had seen a book called “Paper Magic” by Masaharo Chatani, which included an entrancing pattern for pop-up stairs made from a single sheet of paper. I decided to make a pop-up paper house (

download 5After the kids played with it, I reasoned, I would be able to fold it up and store it like a book. The boys lost interest after about 15 minutes, but I was hooked for good. It gave me the intellectual stimulation I needed, plus I didn’t feel guilty spending time working on it because officially, I was making the house for the kids. The first version of my two story, eight room house took months to finish. I worked during naps and at night. I looked at pop-up books, and downloaded patterns from the internet so I could see and feel how pop-ups moved. I was slowly figuring it out as I went along, and making tons of mistakes — which is the best way to learn. Try, even if you don’t think you can do it. Make mistakes. Try again. You’ll learn better from making, and making mistakes, than from following any tutorial — even the one which I wrote! (

ST: It’s so valuable that you took your constraints and used them to your benefit. You have inspired many, but now I’d like to know, what inspires you?

KB: They say necessity is the mother of invention, and it’s absolutely true for me. Most of my ideas come from a problem. Needs, obstacles, and constraints are what inspire me. My kids ask for a house, but I want a toy I can fold up and put away. Solution? A pop-up paper house. My husband’s eczema flares up with commercial creams? Make up my own moisturizer recipe with fresh pure ingredients. download 6I need a coffee table AND storage for junk and books AND I want it to be attractive and affordable? My only choice is to design it and make it myself, because a piece that specific doesn’t exist in the real world (especially the affordable part…). I love discovering new techniques and doing research, so whenever I can’t find something I need I’m thrilled to have the excuse to go out, learn something new and make it myself.

ST: Your positivity and creativity make anything possible! What is your creative process like when the light bulb flashes in your imagination?  Do you first sketch with pencil, for example?

KB: First I see what I want to make in my mind’s eye, then I draw very rough sketches on paper, translating the 3D idea into 2D. For pop-up cards I have to start drawing fairly quickly on the computer, because pop-ups are all about precision, measuring distances between the planes, and drawing angles precisely. I print the first draft using regular paper (rather than card stock) to see if I made any mistakes. The paper will rip or buckle when folded if I measured a distance wrong, and the thinner paper is less forgiving, it will show the errors. After the mistakes are cleared comes the long process of refining the design, and I go through dozens of drafts as I tweak the cut and fold lines to make the card both more expressive and also a stronger pop-up. For each draft I have to draw, print, cut, score and fold, so it can take a while. Although I have a cutting machine (it’s like a plotter with a tiny little blade attached) using it requires more steps, so when I’m designing I usually do everything by hand.

ST: You are all about Making and Doing!  What are you making now?  What is an art technique that you are playing with these days?

KB: Just last week I filed the preliminary patent application for an incredible little paper puzzle box. It can have many applications, but the design I posted on my website is for a 2015 desk calendar ( It’s a cube, and like all cubes it has six faces. There is one month per face — and yet all twelve months fit on the cube! The form is so simple and pure, and the transformation is magical. Watch the video, but the only way you’ll really be able to wrap your head around this one is to make it….

ST: This will be great for the upcoming new year! Oh I’m already getting ideas for Holiday presents.  What is your favorite invention?  How and why does it wow you?

KB: Back in 2008 I had perfected a recipe for chocolate flavored lip balm ( because my kids flatly refused to use the mint flavored commercial kind. Lip balm is essentially a mix of wax and oil, and one day, as I was putting away their crayons, it occurred to me that lipstick was the same thing, with pigments. Pigments you could find in crayons…. which also happen to be made of wax… It seemed so simple and obvious I was sure somebody must have come up with the idea before, so I searched all over the web but I couldn’t find anything about it. I tried to find out what pigments crayola used, to make sure it would be safe, but that’s a secret they guard jealously. Still, I figured that since crayons are designed to be safely swallowed by toddlers, surely trace amounts on the lips of adults would be OK. I published an article and recipe on my website and on Instructables (, which became very popular… And now tutorials and recipes for making lipstick with crayons are download 8ALL OVER the web. I’m proud to have started this trend and glad I gave the idea away — but I do get a little annoyed when some people think they have improved my original instructions. True, heating ingredients in a double boiler is a bit inconvenient, but putting oil and wax in a microwave is a BAD idea, very unsafe. Whatever you’re making, always do lots of research and be safe!

ST: Another great holiday gift! You are full of them :)Any last tips on creativity? Can you give any advice on how one can express themselves or develop their ideas?

KB: Read, dream. Sit outside and feel the sun. Don’t be afraid of doing nothing. You don’t get ideas by trying to be creative. If you have a problem to solve usually the solution will come to you when you least expect it, when you’re walking the dog or taking a shower, not when you’re sitting at your desk trying to come up with that special, original idea. You’ll spend plenty of time at that desk later working out the details, but for that first spark, carry a notepad so you can jot down your thoughts or sketch ideas when they occur to you, and a camera in case you see something cool or inspiring you want to remember…

ST: Thank you, Katherine, for sharing with us. Keep us posted on your Pop-Ups!


Make a Pop-Up Bird with Cheong-Ah Hwang!

How to make a pop-up bird with Cheong-ah Hwang

How to make a pop-up bird with Cheong-ah Hwang

Download the template below and get started on making your own pop-up bird.

Cheong-ah Hwang's template for a pop-up bird

Cheong-ah Hwang’s pop-up bird template

Feel free to share your pop-up birds with us by emailing jpegs of them to To learn more about the art of Cheong-ah Hwang, click on her Scribble Artist Interview.  Make your tweets come to life!

Published by Andi Thea, on February 23rd, 2014 at 6:11 am. Filled under: Arts & Crafts,Design,Paper Art,Uncategorized Tags: , , No Comments

Scribble Artist Interview with Cheong-ah Hwang!

Scribble Town (ST): The first time I saw these delicate hummingbirds by Cheong-ah Hwang I swooned at how beautiful life can be. And then I realized they were made out of paper and was floored by how precise and full of emotion they embodied. She can mimic life in paper form with the simple help of scissors and glue. Amazing! Cheong-ah came to the US from Seoul, Korea 20 years ago and speaks of herself as a paper artist, wife and mom. Under those three great hats is a person that knows how to capture life in a special way.

Hummer in My Hand by Cheong-ah Hwang

Hummer in My Hand by Cheong-ah Hwang

Cheong-ah, you move and travel quite a bit. What brought you from place to place?  Where are you now and what are you up to these days?

Cheong-ah Hwang (CH): My brother moved to the US, so I followed him. I came to Columbus, Ohio to study art, and continued living and working on paper sculptures ever since.

Flower by Cheong-ah Hwang

Flower by Cheong-ah Hwang

ST: Your pieces seem so fragile, tender and intricately realistic!  Do you ever need a magnify glass to complete your artworks?  Or tweezers?  How do you do it?! What tools do you need to create your paper sculptures?

CH: No, I don’t use magnifying glasses. I have pretty good eyesight. I use tweezers though when I work on tiny areas. I use X-acto knife, modeling tools, stylus, rulers, etc.

ST: How do you come up with your themes for your series? Did you start out by making birds?  What other things do you create?  They all vary so much and are so lifelike!

CH: I started out making animals, plants, architecture, etc. to study textures. Then, I got interested in paper itself and expressions, so I created rather abstract human forms, experimenting different kinds of paper, scales and techniques.

ST: Your Red Riding Hood series is beautiful!  You successfully reached your goal on Kickstarter.  Woo hoo!  How has this developed?

Little Red Riding Hood by Cheong-ah Hwang
CH: I received exposure I had hoped for. More people started blogging about my works. Eventually, Penguin Books commissioned me to make a similar image for the cover of the ‘Grimm Tales for Young and Old’ by Philip Pullman.  Penguin Books also used my sculptures for a short animation to promote the new book.


ST: Oh Pullman’s voice fits your images and story so perfectly! Seeing your animations encourages so much imagination and creativity! Please let us know your artistic process for the CMA animation.

CH: That was a collaboration with a local media company. Lots of communications. My part was to create 3d paper models of Columbus Museum of Art. I studied the building, simplified the design, and came up with moving mechanisms for some parts. I scaled the buildings down, and drew plans. I had to cut so many cardboard pieces. I ended up performing for the animation too.

ST: I think that’s a great animation for Scribblers to watch since we all like to go to museums and galleries.  “You break you buy it” doesn’t always work 😉  Especially after watching your animations where the characters flow so smoothly and everything just seems to fit in place, you make it seem so easy!  But I know it takes loads of skill and patience.  What tools do you need to do what you do?

CH: The most frequently used tools and materials are an X-acto knife to cut, modeling tools and stylus to emboss, an awl to score or curl, cutting mat and glue.

Hummer n Hibiscus by Cheong-ah Hwang

Hummer n Hibiscus by Cheong-ah Hwang

ST: Any special paper or techniques we should know about?

CH: My favorite paper to use is color drawing paper which has high cotton content and comes in many colors. I love working with translucent paper and Japanese paper too. They are so much fun. There are some paper sculpture techniques such as embossing, scoring and bending, curling, tearing and crumpling.  Do you draw to figure out the layers? Yes, I make a sketch first. Then, I use the sketch to separate and assemble layers.

ST: Where do you find yourself feeling really inspired to create?  I bet there is something you do to get yourself into the mood to create. Or what about music?

CH: Everyday life is an inspiration to me. I get an inspiration cooking ramen, reading my son a bedtime story, going to the zoo, driving down the street, etc. I have been living in cities in my entire life. One day, when I was siting on my porch, a hummingbird flew in right in front my eyes. I had never seen a hummingbird in person before. I can never forget how magical moment that was. I’ve been making paper hummingbird since.

Princess Iron Fan by Cheong-ah Hwang

Princess Iron Fan by Cheong-ah Hwang

ST: Amongst all the inspiration, what are 5 most important things in your life right now?

CH: Family, family, family, family, and my art.

Creative Paper Cutting: 15 Paper Sculptures to Inspire and Delight by Cheong-ah Hwang

Creative Paper Cutting: 15 Paper Sculptures to Inspire and Delight by Cheong-ah Hwang

ST: Cheong-ah, thank you for sharing so much with us! You a dedicated mother, wife and artist and I see that passion in your artwork. Do you have any last minute tips for us?

CH: You don’t need expensive materials or extra ordinary experiences to make art. Pay attention to every moment of your life. Don’t miss out anything. Use all of your senses. Try to make art with what you already have. 

ST: Thank you for your advice! Scribblers, if you can need more visual advice you can check out Cheong-ah’s book, ‘Creative Paper Cutting: 15 Paper Sculptures to Inspire and Delight‘, available on Amazon. Get started with your own paper sculptures!

Squid and Friends by Cheong-ah Hwang

Squid and Friends by Cheong-ah Hwang

Two Kinds of Hearts

Valentine’s Day is coming up and it’s time to turn these cold, snowy days all warm and fuzzy! Whether you’re decorating for a party or just bringing a little festivity to your home, these paper heart garlands are an adorable way to celebrate love. Add to that: simple, inexpensive, and mess-free? You’ve got yourself a winning craft.


There’s two fun ways to create your garland; one involves the outline of a heart (much like a paper chain), the other involves a solid paper heart. For the chain, you’ll need cardstock (red, white, pink—your choice), scissors, and a stapler.


First, cut lots of even strips of cardstock—it’s best to measure. To create your hearts, there are a few methods. Be sure to check out the tutorial links below each photo for ideas. Here’s one basic variation: Grab four strips and staple them together. Pull the bottom two down and together to form a heart. Add two more strips and staple together at the point. Repeat this process until you’ve got the desired length of your garland. Stick to one size and color or feel free to experiment. Try alternating colors or cutting shorter strips to create smaller hearts within the larger ones.

 Paper Heart Garland

Photo (and tutorial) via Blog a la Cart


 Double Heart Garland

Image (and tutorial) via Posed Perfection


For the second method, you’ll need cardstock, a heart punch, scotch tape, and string (baker’s twine, ribbon, fishing line—up to you). Use your heart punch to punch out tons of hearts from the cardstock. Cut a piece of string (however long you’d like) and tape your hearts to the string. You can hang it horizontally or make lots of garlands and hang them from the ceiling. This would also make such a cute photo backdrop.



 Hanging Hearts

Photo (and tutorial) via Hank & Hunt


 Ombre Hanging Hearts

Photo (and tutorial) via The Sweetest Affair


Your valentines are sure to love these sweet garlands. How do you like to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Any decorations or traditions you look forward to each year?

10 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

Dreary Winter

Image via Feed-Well on Tumblr


January can be tough a tough month—the excitement of the holidays is over and we’re still in the thick of winter. Discarded Christmas trees and grimy snow line the streets. Don’t let it get you down—it’s the best opportunity for a little extra creativity and color! Here are some fun ideas to brighten up those cold and dreary days and have you feeling inspired in no time.

1. Create a bright new piece of wall art to hang up.
2. Decorate your notebook covers—use washi tape, paint, magazine pages, anything! Now you can look at something pretty even when you’re taking notes or making your to-do list.
3. Make your own postcards! Design the front and write a note on the back—they’ll be sure to brighten someone else’s day, too!
4. Try your hand at a still life painting or sketch. Grab some colorful objects from around your house and record what you see. Perfect indoor activity!
5. Embrace the cold and throw an ice cream sundae party! Grab a few favorite flavors, fruit, and toppings and invite your pals over for a sweet treat!
6. Create a terrarium or get an indoor plant. Succulents are very low maintenance and come in tons of varieties. You can also paint the pot for a little extra flair.
7. Try a new indoor hobby, like knitting or making jewelry.
8. Make your own board game! Not only will designing the game get your imagination going, but playing with friends and family will be a blast.
9. Make a list of things you want to do this summer—it will give you some fun experiences to look forward to.
10. Make your own paper flowers. The gardens may not be in bloom right now, but you can still brighten a room with a beautiful floral arrangement.


Paper Flowers and Painted Pots

Paper Flowers via Sweet Pea Paper Flowers

Succulents in neon pots via The Proper Pinwheel


Do you find January to be a little dreary? What are your go-to ways for brightening up the post-holiday slump?

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