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Did you know that the UK uses a forest the size of Wales every year in paper? Inside this publication, you are able to see how some people use this material in a non-wasteful way. The potential of being creative with paper is seemingly endless. The craftsmanship and thoughfulness of the uses of paper within Papir aims to alter your opinion of this media, and open your mind up to endless possibilities. This publication is printed all on white paper. Obviously.


In this age of digitalisation, sometimes we need a break. Papir looks at the use of paper in art and design, and considers how this simple medium is strongly holding its place. In this publication, there are sections of absent paper. Absence, after all, helps the heart grow fonder. By taking out parts of the pages, you will hopefully notice what isn’t there, and the potentials of what could fill the gaps.


What Can We Do With Paper 7 Falling Paper 11 woven paper 14 wear paper 19 cut paper 21 fold paper 23 build paper 27 put on paper 33 light up paper 35 wear paper 41 fashion paper 53 dress me up in paper 55 cut out paper 63 necklace made out of paper 83 zoomed in paper 105 make a hat out of paper 107 facts about paper 110



There are times where looking from computer screen to T.V screen back to phone screen becomes tiring and mundane. And now, instead, you are turning the pages of this publication. Although there was a lot of fun and the occasional miss-haps making Papir, I hope you find it informative and see a whole other side to a piece of paper.



What are all the things that can be done with a piece of white A4 paper?


10 Cut it. Tear it. Rip it. Slash it. Split it. Snip it. Nick it. Trim it. Spruce it. Hack it. Crease it. Fold it. Pleat it. Tuck it. Crinkle it. Crush it. Scrap it. Squash it. Compress it. Crumple it. Flatten it. Smoothen it. Lay it. Straighten it. Glue it. Stick it. Fasten it. Build it. Construct it. Bulk it. Measure it. Wrap it. Cover it. Envelope it. Change it. Manipulate it. Write it. Drop it.


“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you�. - Nathaniel Hawthorne


Falling Paper Butterflies. Model - Phillipa Batt




Paper manipulation can alter this originally fragile material into to something new. Something stronger, something more durable. By altering the way we perceive it, it can almost become something completely different. It won’t only give the impression of being different, but it feel like a completely different material. Folding it can change the size, and increase the thickness. Tearing it can reduce it, and cause nothing but loss. Rolling it often only causes temporary alterations. Weaving it is another story. Weaving offers a lot of control over paper. It changes the state of paper to that similar of material. When done on a large scale, weaved paper can help create fashion, as well as furniture. It gains qualities such as strength flexibility. Woven paper has the potential to play a big part in the recycled paper sector. For example, artist Louis Walpole works with materials that she describes as having “many years of life left in them when they are buried in landfill sites”. She weaves these into art works to “intrigue, amuse or otherwise stimulate the viewer or user”. Her woven art is both functional and outstanding. Her idea of weaving unwanted materials into something new is something that could be done to recycled paper. Could woven paper be something that, in the future, we use every day? From chairs to tables, and from bracelets to decorative ornaments. Weaving this everyday material could change it into something unexpected, something useful, and most importantly, something beautiful.



Paper People Wear it. Cut it. Fold it. Build it.

Paper is seen as flimsy and incidental. We see it and use it every day, all day. It is a constant. For most artists and designers it is a surface to draw on, and to then move forward from. But for others it is an accessible, simple but inspiring material for the creation of dynamic and imaginative work. There are many ways a simple piece of paper can be transformed into something unexpected and striking. Many artists and designers have dabbled with paper as a material for construction; however few push the boundaries with this simple media. This journal celebrates those that do.


Wear it. The use of paper as a material for garments is promoted as new, innovative and ecologically sound. The bigger picture shows us that paper has been used for clothing for centuries. In the eleventh century paper clothing was traditional in Japan. The finest paper kimonos were valued as highly as silk, whilst farm workers wore garments made from old used paper. During the 1960’s, Andy Warhol created a disposable paper dress which reflected his philosophies about pop culture and the aspirations of the decade. Called the ‘Souper Dress’ it was decorated with the motif from Campbell’s soup cans. The label inside states “no cleaning, no washing, it’s carefree”. Contemporary designers have revisited the concept of using paper and have benefited from traditional techniques as well as new technologies. Issey Miyake, Paul Smith and Hussein Chalayan have all experimented with paper, from washable, long lasting garments to instantly disposable ones.

tear it. stitch it. Issey Miyake revived traditional Japanese methods, informed by the only surviving expert in the tradition of Washi paper bonding. Painstakingly, over many months, together with his team, they created the 2013 menswear collection. The tailoring was stiff and capacious, which was achieved by laminating over the paper clothing. It was all also machine washable reiterating the brands functionality. In 2004 Brazilian artist Jum Nakao created a ground breaking paper collection named ‘Desfile’, taking 700 hours to complete and consisting of white laser cut parchment garments. During the show models walked down a runway lined with honeycomb paper sculptures. Then, during the finale, the models suddenly began tearing away their crisp white dresses. The audience gasped, screamed, cried. The unexpected tearing and ripping juxtaposing the fragility of paper with its constructed strengths was literally breath taking. Paper has the potential to inspire the fashion industry, and to take the idea of paper clothing forward from today’s current uses, such as nurse’s scrubs. It is evident that by revisiting old technologies or by experimenting with new, such as 3D printing or laser cutting, paper fashion has a definite, surprisingly sustainable future.


cut along the line



Cut it.

Score it.

Draw it.

There is something satisfying about the sound of cutting through a sheet of paper with a pair of sharp scissors, and it is tempting to allow the scissors to meander freely through paper, creating shapes and slices. Matisse, in his later years, chose to work with paper cutting, creating fluid and expressive collages, often on an enormous scale. For him the cut out was “not a renunciation of painting and sculpture”, but rather “painting with scissors.” The art of paper cutting has experienced a revival in recent years, from minimal graphic designs to complex lace like constructions. Although it is the Egyptians who are credited with inventing paper, it was the Chinese who two millennia later developed and perfected the process. Then, during the thirteenth century, they began decorative cutting, and using it to adorn doors and windows. In the seventeenth and eighteenth century cutting silhouettes became very popular, both in Europe and America. The process has been appropriated by the contemporary artist Kara Walker in her signature cut paper silhouette installations, where she explores historic racial representation and stereotyping.

The fairy tale writer Hans Christian Anderson was an avid paper cutter. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that his stories have influenced many paper cutting artists, such as Peter Callesen, Rob Ryan and Saelee Oh. Artist Peter Callesen takes paper cutting to another level. When looking at his paper sculptures, you can overlook what they have been cut from. The often surprising shapes left are also what makes Callesen’s work so special. “The negative, two-dimensional space left by the cut contrasts with the three-dimensional reality it creates, even though the figures still stick to their origin without the possibility of escaping” - Peter Callesen In the future it is likely that creative paper cutting will develop in two directions. One will be based on laser cutting and 3D print technology, which will enable complex and intricate work to be produced and then reproduced. The other is keeping the qualities of hand crafted paper cuts and the enjoyment of the physical creative processes will keep older traditions alive.


Crease it. Measure it. “The safe way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket”. -Kim Hubbard Folding; the simplest process to alter a piece of paper can result in amazing structures. It is a common belief that you can fold paper in half six times, but in 2012 mathematic students from St. Mark’s School in Massachusetts using intricate choreography and brute force, broke a paper-folding record by completing 13 folds. The Japanese art of Origami is perhaps the most well known form of creative paper folding and is being used and developed by many contemporary paper practitioners. Origami requires mathematical accuracy and one simple crease can take minutes to achieve. Tomoko Fuse was introduced to simple origami at a young age, but she now specialises in ‘unit origami’, where she creates multiple components to build sometimes large scale, confusing looking, structures.

Fold it. “It is the light reflections the paper that make it into relief; they form themselves Artist Schubert scribes tures”. flect how

on the folds in a minimally lowinto a picture.” Simon Schubert.

works solely with folded paper and dehow the “folds are lightless picHis incredibly detailed pieces reeffective this simple method can be.

Borja Martínez takes the mathematical route of folding to an innovative level. The Spanish graphic designer created a methodological calendar based on folds. The number of the month indicates how many times the piece of paper was folded. For example, January was folded once, whereas June resulted in an origami shape created out of paper folded six times. The result is a graphically appeasing, intelligent, calendar. Minimally striking.




Construct it. Make it.

Build it. Why are houses not built out of paper? Australian bank notes are thought to be ‘indestructible’, and rolled up A4 paper can support an adult’s weight. It’s an inexpensive, natural product we can grow on demand. Shredded paper is now becoming a common alternative for insulations in cavity wall fillings. Cheap, easily accessible and eco friendly. What could go wrong? There is the slight issue of it being easily flammable and turning into a warm hotel for rodents, however paper as a building material has potential, and it’s relatively low cost encourages designers and engineers to experiment. The Owen store, in New York, has an arching interior wall made entirely out of brown paper bags. Designed by Studio Tacklebox, the innovative creation was quick and economical to construct with the aim of creating a warm atmosphere for shoppers, although it has had mixed reviews. Photographer Andy Rudak recently created incredibly life like, miniature street scenes, using only cardboard and paper to show the architectural structures of London, New York, Paris, Mumbai and Tokyo, Artist Lois Walpole has developed the method of weaving using recycled paper products. The outcomes are strong, durable, appeasing and can be made on a large scale. Her products are always functional, and again demonstrate how useful paper can be as a material.

There are some paper creations which are meant to be long lasting, extending even into the afterlife. Chinese funeral practices include giving paper and cardboard gifts to the deceased, built into objects that they feel may be of use on the other side. For example, cardboard mansions, paper sports cars, pretend mobile phones and even paper clothes. The constructions are then symbolically burnt. Building art from paper has many challenges. Peter Callesen has said when putting his art in an exhibition environment that he has to be aware of the lighting and temperature of the room, because essentially, it will become a space full of potential kindling! Paper is a fragile material and pieces may not hold their original fold for a long period of time. He also spoke of issues he had with a life size paper piano. The whole structure began to sag, due to the audience touching and leaning on it. With having such a supposedly delicate media, curators need to take in extra precautionary measures when displaying paper art.


Paper is an undervalued material, yet it’s evident that there is a huge amount of potential for its use in the future, and that paper artists will continue to break down the barriers of what is possible. Its surprising strength and durability continues to astonish audiences. It is almost guaranteed that wherever you are reading this, right now, there will be a piece of this simple media nearby. Unnoticeable to some, but to others, the ‘Paper People’, it is the blankest of canvases with a multitude of endless applications.


Illustration - Amy Louise Evans Depicting the fragility of paper



into the light

Originating from the Far East, paper lanterns are often released into the skies, with wishes and dreams fastened to them with bits of string. Crowds of people, friends and families, gather around to watch paper shapes, illuminated with flames, lifting up into the sky. The mystery of not knowing where it will land, or how far it will travel, always unanswered. These latnerns are firmly on the floor. They will never make a journey, other than to the recyling bin, and, well, only few know of their path after that. The small tea lights softly enlighten the originally mundane paper, is a subtly beautiful way.






Paper: honesty and origins of fashion




Starting from the left dress - Illustration of Carrie Bradshaw dress from Sex and the City. - Illustration of Alexander McQueen Printed Sheath Intarsia dress. - Illustration of black Versace, made famous by Liz Hurley




Starting from the left dress on 1st previous page - Illustration Louis Vuitton dress SS12 - Illustration Chanel dress Couture line 2006 - Illustration Valentino dress SS07


paper in fashion Why don’t we wear paper clothes? They would tear, and fall apart in the rain. It would make no sense? In today’s throwaway society, surely it makes sense? We eat food out of throw away containers, change out mobile phones more often than the oil in our cars, and pretty much never buy clothes that are built to last. High street stores enable us to spend next to nothing on entire outfits. We don’t take the time we used to, to deliberate over our purchases. The store is normally too busy, or we are on a tight schedule. We just buy. With these fast paced attitudes, could the next step be paper clothes? In the morning, whilst getting ready for work, we could print off a new style of dress, or tear off the day’s socks. Paper clothing could be really accessible, and also reduce limits within design. It is recyclable, if we get bored of an outfit, we can throw it away without causing such harm to the environment. Yes, fashion designers have dabbled with the material. However, none have created durable designs to compete with the daily fashion market. People who work with chemicals or in surgery already wear this disposable fashion. When will this take off? When will paper clothing be worn on the streets, without surprised glances? In the future, when global warming really starts to affect us, recycled paper fashion will be the answer. Wait. What was the question?


dress me up On the opposite page is your model, Jess. Cut her out, following the dotted lines. Use your scissors to create sharp slices through the paper. Once you have got your paper doll off the page, lay her out on your table. On the following pages, there are minuture versiouns of Danish fashion designer Anne Sofie Madsen’s SS13 collection. The collection is called Cherrilee, and each of the pieces is made to fit Jess. Why don’t you dress her up in these beautiful clothes?



cut along the dotted lines


ANNE SOFIE MADSEN SS 13 CHERRILEE SS13 Oh, my dear, your suit is candy striped And your legs are long and slim If I whisper nothing’s in your ear Will you pass them on to him? You have laid here by the waterside Since the day we came to town Soon the restaurants will open up Soon the bars will light their lights You have aged, you must start looking up Ugly things will come tonight We could drive down to another beach Even tan your skin seems white All our friends have gone away from here so let’s disappear from sight Lyrics extracted from Gulf Shores by Bonnie Prince Billie.

All imagery curtesy of Anne Sofie Madsen





Peter Callesen

Conversation I think it’s fascinating that you use paper as your prime material. As you rightly say, it is a material we use everyday from important contracts to small receipts. What first attracted you to this material? Actually I think it came from cardboard. Early on I did a performance where I constructed and built things from card and then I just slowly moved to paper. And now you work mainly from A4 paper. Why? This is quite a funny story. I created a catalogue for a showing at Helsinki, were I built a floating castle from Styrofoam. In the catalogue there was a miniature paper net of the castle. I wanted to see if it was actually possible to create it on this tiny scale, and it was! This is where the concept started. Using just the one piece of paper... It makes me work quite conceptually. What sort of stories did you read as a child? What was your favourite? Do you feel that this has inspired any of you work? I wasn’t so much into fairy tales as a child. It was only so much later that I discovered stories. Especially during my time at Goldsmiths. For example, my piece called “Ice Boat” which was inspired by the Snow Queen, by Hans Christian Anderson (famously Danish author). This was one of my most tricky pieces to make. It was a boat. Made of ice. Many complications. In the end technical problems resulted in the freezer breaking, and the boat completely melting. This was topped off by thieves stealing the mould for the boat, so I could never make another one. On average, how long does it take you to create each project? Well this depends a lot on figuring out how I am going to actually make the project (larger sculptures) and finding sponsors to fund this. Like finding a freezer company to fund the ice boat. In this very environmentally friendly city [Copenhagen], do you recycle the paper/products? No (laughs) With some of my bigger, cardboard projects, I have recycled it once I’ve finished.


Do you have a lot of input into how your exhibition is displayed? I just had a show in Paris, in a Danish house gallery. That started with two local Danish girls who wanted to make an exhibition. They became the curators. They sorted out pretty much everything. Its always up to me to lay out the pieces though. I do think it is important to have someone to discuss ideas and problems with though. That is why it is good to work with curators. I’ve never personally experienced any conflict so it’s fine. When I’m asked to participate in a show, I normally already have decided what’s going where from what work I have available. Then, it is just deciding on where to place to art, depending on the venue. However if it’s a group show or a collaboration you always need a curator. Do you find it a waste to simply write on a piece of paper? No. I think in a way it’s the other way around. A normal piece of paper is so cheap and everyday. It’s almost nothing in terms of value. So this gives me a bigger freedom to do what I want with it. I find it’s easier to deal with life and death and heavy subjects through my art, because it’s just a piece of paper. Paper is pathetic. It’s so delicate and fragile. If possible, do you like to display your installations outdoors, weather permitting? I do yes, and I have only come across a problem with doing this once. I was creating a stage design, and because of its qualities, I had to use ‘drop’ paper. This was a disaster because it was a piano – a full size piano. The top part started sinking because I had a problem with people touching and creasing the paper. Like when I built some paper stairs (made to scale) and people kept trying to step on it. I have also done some outdoor performances, involving a lot of ripping of paper... Did you ever kept tempted to run up the stairs yourself? Yes I did! At the end of the exhibition, I tried. I didn’t get very far... Your photography series is mesmerising. And all white too! Do you still photograph a lot? These photos were actually taken before I started working with paper. This might have been the my white obsession? All of the photographs were done for a show, inspired by the Snow Queen (like the “Ice Boat”). ries is seduction, disappearing and death. Like his face in the snow? It’s actually an optical I haven’t photographed professionally for a while, however having an iPhone has definitely made more photos. This is all fun stuff though not just work.

start of The seillusion! me take

What is your opinion on using technology in your exhibitions? Do you feel it can in any way enhance the visitors experience? I am not into using technology. The point of my work is that it is all handmade. The physicality of it. All of the time and the labour that has gone into creating each piece. I see this in contrast to the digitalised world. I don’t mind technology, obviously, but I don’t think it is that important regarding my work. I think it’s maybe because I spend so much time in front of the computer, so I want to be more hands on with my work. My assistant does all of the digital stuff. I am thinking about maybe making some animations from paper media in the future though? Do you have a strong marketing ethic? I have refused to do commercials. I have to be really careful about what brand I want next to my work. If I was to do a commercial there should be an artistic idea to it. I do often do illustrations for peoples book covers though! Take a look at some of Peter’s work and find out information on up-coming exhibitions


An exclusive look inside the studios of one of the world’s most renowned paper artists, Peter Callesen




“The negative and absent 2 dimensional space left by the cut, points out the contrast to the 3 dimensional reality it creates, even though the figures still stick to their origin without the possibility of escaping. In that sense there is also an aspect of something tragic in many of the cuts.� - Peter Callesen



Note: the cut out of the bird leaves a fighter jet. Callesen described this as showing peace and war, in one art work.



Callesen hinted that this was one of his favourite pieces. It is one of his very few works which actually contains colour. He described how this symbolised death and passing.






This is a small scale model representing one of Peter Callesen’s upcoming projects. It is for one of Copenhagen’s Universities, and in reality will be around 12ft tall.



“Under my Skin” These images show Peter Callesen’s newest performance piece. It all begins with Peter entering the room, naked. He then welcomes the audience to glue pieces of paper to his body. When there is no more skin left to cover, he is then cut out of the paper, and left is a paper shell. Almost a paper suit.

“I’m trying to make paper not look like paper.”

Images from Peter Callesen




Just One More

Necklace - Lital Mendel from her ‘Just One More’ Collection Model - Jessica Lee Hair and Makeup - Victoria Forshaw from Pins Petals and Powder Styling



“In the “Just One More…” collection each necklace is comprised of over 600 units, and while each unit is relatively rigid, the resulting necklace has a flexible, almost textile quality because of the multiplicity of units.” - Lital Mendel


“I very much love to work with 2-dimensional materials that are transformed and gain volume through different techniques. Paper is a very convenient material in that aspect, it can be worked with in many ways and each way has a different, new outcome.�


“In this, my latest collection, “Just One More…”, the paper being used is actually a digitization of hand-written letters to and from my loved one, when we were apart for a few years. The personal, hand crafted nature of inked thoughts on physical paper influenced the content of the messages and we both unconsciously began to use the letters for expressing our more intimate thoughts and emotions. I digitized those letters along with personal notes from my notebook and printed them on quality writing paper, which was then cut to small pieces, each folded individually to later construct a different whole, while maintaining the emotions and memories stored within it in the form of the words and the paper, which feels nostalgic in itself.” “There’s something about repetitiveness that fascinates me; Using one basic unit that, when multiplied, creates new complex patterns and gives the material different properties from the original.”



Necklace - Paperphine (



“As my mother would tell you the easiest way to keep me quiet as a child would be to hand me some sheets of paper, scissors and some glue. Even though it led to some minor disasters (but only one rush to the doctor’s!), I would be fully and happily occupied folding, tearing, cutting, glueing - or in other words de-composing and re-composing - the scraps of paper for hours.” “Paper seemed to be the material that offered the most possibilities, was easily accessible and had a kind of “underdog feeling”. Compared to lots of other materials and media paper is cheap and not as durable - nevertheless it serves as one of the prime supporting materials for a lot of other techniques/media (e.g. printmaking, drawing, even photography etc.). And even though I just said it’s not that durable it’s greatly underestimated.”



“Paper is not as fragile as many people assume. I think the knowledge that the pieces you create will at some point disintegrate and perish become part of your own working process and the reflection on your work. And the pieces themselves are perhaps even more precious to the owners because they know that at some point they might not be able to use, wear or look at them anymore.� - Linda Thalmann (Paperphine)



Knotted paper twine - Paperphine


Paper necklaces maybe can’t be worn every day, but when they are worn they can make a huge impact. They will hang from the wearer’s neck in a way no metal chain can. They can be created by putting together thousands of individual segments of paper, or they can simply be made by knotting paper twine. This dwindling craftsmanship needs to be observed and celebrated. Beautiful simplicity.



designer Conversation

lital mendel

Lital Mendel is a jewellery designer currently living in Israel. She graduated from Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, studying jewellery design. Her collections involve experimentation with a lot of different materials, from precious stones to pure silver. Her necklace featured the previous photo shoot feature, is from Mendel’s collection, “Just One More”, inspiring the name for the piece. What first made you work with paper as a material? The importance of a material, I feel, comes from the idea I want to convey. If the concept demands the usage of gold and diamonds, these will be the materials I will use. If a concept can be equally clear with either expansive or simple materials, the less conventional materials will be more interesting for me to use, because of the challenge in making desirable objects out of undesirable materials. I very much love to work with 2-dimensional materials that are transformed and gain volume through different techniques. Paper is a very convenient material in that aspect, it can be worked with in many ways and each way has a different, new outcome. Describe the necklace. In the “Just One More…” collection each necklace is comprised of over 600 units, and while each unit is relatively rigid, the resulting necklace has a flexible, almost textile quality because of the multiplicity of units. There’s something about repetitiveness that fascinates me; Using one basic unit that, when multiplied, creates new complex patterns and gives the material different properties from the original. In my latest collection, “Just One More…”, the paper being used is actually a digitization of handwritten letters to and from my loved one, when we were apart for a few years. The personal, hand crafted nature of inked thoughts on physical paper influenced the content of the messages and we both unconsciously began to use the letters for expressing our more intimate thoughts and emotions. I digitized those letters along with personal notes from my notebook and printed them on quality writing paper, which was then cut to small pieces, each folded individually to later construct a different whole, while maintaining the emotions and memories stored within it in the form of the words and the paper, which feels nostalgic in itself.







The illustration on the right page demonstrates the structure of paper under a micro-scope. For something that appears so smooth and arranged, actually consists of thread like strips dangled and crossing over one another. Aesthetically beautiful, this scaffolding creates the paper that this very word is written on.




4. 5.


how to make a paper hat

1. Make sure you have a blank piece of A4 paper. 2. Fold it clean in half. 3. Fold the top corners (crease side) in towards you. Leave a gap of around 3cm at the bottom. 4. Fold each of the bottom sections upwards. 5. Pull the two sides apart and there you have it Your own paper hat. to wear to such public places like the office, tube station and the sea. That’s right! You can be the captin of your own boat.



T h i n g s t h a t y o u p r o b a b ly didn't know about paper We use 12.5 million tonnes of paper and cardboard every year in the UK.

The first creatures that produced paper were the wasps.

The Chinese invented paper around 105 A.D. and kept it a secret for many years.

According to the Wall Street Journal the average executive loses an average of six weeks per year retrieving misplaced information from cluttered desks and files About 400 Million Metric Ton paper is produced and consumed per year. Paper in the average business grows by 22% a year, meaning your paper would double every

In the last 20 years, the combined usage of today’s top ten paper users has increased from 92 million tons to 208 million, which is a growth of 126%. So the use of computers is not slowing the amount paper we use.

3.3 years. One tonne of paper made from recycled pulp saves 17 trees.

For every 15,000 tons of old newspaper recycled annually, 30 jobs are created to collect the paper, 40 jobs are created to process the paper, and 75 jobs are required to manufacture the newsprint.

Papir - Chloe Hughes  

Publication focusing of the media of paper.