Paper Illuminated: Innovative Structures Featuring Paper & Light

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Join me in creating five illuminated paper structures – four lamps & a folding screen that transforms into a lantern – in my first ever on-line class! During the six week in depth experience into illuminated paper, we will make five projects, the equivalent of a weeklong workshop with me in person. Work from the comfort of your own home or studio and create paper lights and share ideas with an on-line community.


Week 1: Panel Shade

Author: Helen

Week 1 (March 8) Panel shade: Construct a pattern and cover a wire framed shade panel by panel. The skills you acquire can be applied to covering other types of armatures.

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Week 2: Wraparound Shade

Author: Helen

Week 2 (March 15) Wraparound Shade: Apply paper to a rigid backing material and then join the arc shape to a top and bottom ring. Use the techniques you learn to re-cover existing shades, garage sale or antique store finds.

Week 3: Mini Shoji Screen

Author: Helen

Week 3 (March 22) Mini Shoji Screen: Create a lattice framework using balsa wood and back it with paper. Connect panels with a clever Japanese hinge that is reversible. This structure can be converted into a box-shaped lantern or adapted into other forms by creating additional panels.

Week 6: Cochin Part 2

Author: Helen

Week 6 (April 12) Chochin Part 2 + Party Light: We’ll take two weeks for this project, because it is an elaborate structure. In addition to completing the lamp during the second session, you’ll also learn how to create a simplified collapsible paper structure.

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Bonus Lesson!

Author: Helen

The Collapsible Party Light is a simplified version of the collapsible Chochin lanterns, which were originally hung outside of small shops in Japan as the shop’s sign. The support structure is thin basketry reed, but I’ve had fun experimenting with wire, string and other basketry materials. The paper technique for this project falls somewhere between collage and papier mâché. It doesn’t take long to make one of these simple designs, but finessing the collage can turn it into a work of art.

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