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This class will be offered again in 2018! Feel free to send me an e-mail ( if you’d like to be added to the notification list.

View the gallery of the awesome lamps made by participants in this class. 

Paper Illuminated: Innovative Structures Featuring Paper & Light

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 while sharing ideas with an on-line community.

Dates: March 8 – April 12, 2017: Each Wednesday, a new lesson will be added to the on-line classroom that you will be enrolled in when you register for the class.

Course Outline:

  • 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.
  • 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 (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 bends in both directions, allowing the structure to convert into a box-shaped lantern.
  • Week 4 (March 29) Bendable Paper Lamp: Make a paper laminate with embedded wire and then bend it to create sculptural shapes. You will also learn how to wire a lamp during this session.
  • Week 5 (April 5) Chochin Part 1: Learn how to make a unique reusable armature that is covered with paper and then collapsed and removed.
  • 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.

What You Get:

  • Step-by-step video tutorials for each lesson
  • Printable step-by-step instructions for each project
  • Templates
  •  A comprehensive resource list plus a list of suppliers
  • A private community for sharing your work with Helen and the group as well as a forum for asking questions and an option for personal feedback.

How it will work: 

  • When you register for the class, you will receive information about creating your unique login into my online classroom and an invitation to join a private Facebook group.
  • Each Wednesday, beginning on March 8th, a new lesson will be available in the online classroom with a step-by-step video tutorial.
  • As a student you will have access to all lessons, support materials and videos until December 31, 2017.

Register Now!  $220


$220.00 Add to Cart

Materials: As of February 7th, I’ve sold out of supply kits. Please contact me if you’re interested in a kit and I will advise you how best to proceed in order to receive materials before class start on March 8th.

I’ve put together a substantial supply kit plus a list of suppliers for all of the papers and lamp parts you need to create these projects. I highly recommend that you order the kit from me because you’ll get the best price and you’ll save yourself from having to place orders with several suppliers. The kit includes: papers for each project (plus extra paper for most projects), a super cool glue applicator, lamp armatures & parts, a lamp wiring kit, basketry reed, copper wire, balsa wood and more. (Click here to view Supply Kit contents) Please register early to make sure that you receive your kit before class begins!

Purchase Supply Kit Now! Supply Kit fee: $110 plus shipping & handling  


$110.00 Add to Cart

Other Materials: There will be a short list of additional materials that you will need for the class such as a sheet of 3/16” foam core, straight pins, freezer paper, scrap paper (waxed paper, newsprint), light bulbs, lamp bases and a few other items that will be listed in the individual lessons.

Tools: You probably have most tools on hand, but here’s an idea of what we’ll be using: pencil, ruler, scissors, cutting mat, craft knife, eraser, glue brushes, screw driver. Optional tools: small hand saw or craft knife attachment for cutting balsa wood (highly recommended for the mini shoji screen), divider/compass, weights, water mister, metal triangle.

Beyond the class: The skills you acquire will have multiple applications for sculpture and lighting as we explore paper as a material and the various ways that it can be manipulated and illuminated. Take what you learn beyond class as you add additional sculptural ideas for working with paper to your repertoire.

Registering for the class: Register by February 1st to receive early bird pricing and insure that your supply kit arrives before class starts on March 8th (the course fee will go up to $220 on February 1). As a thank you for registering early, I will send you links to several on-line tutorials that you can try out before class starts! If you don’t register by February 1st, not to worry; I just can’t guarantee that you’ll get your materials in time, but the lessons are independent (i.e. you do not have to do them in order) and will be available until the end of the year, so you’ll have time to catch up!

About Helen: My initial interest began on a trip to Japan 30 years ago when I was inspired by light filtering through traditional shoji screens. I soon began developing workshops combining book arts, papercraft and lighting techniques which led to my book Paper Illuminated (now out of print). I’m the author of four other books about paper crafts and papermaking, and recently published the Twelve Months of Paper Calendar, featuring a how-to paper project for every month. I am a Colorado artist who constructs installations, sculptures, films, artists’ books and works in paper. I teach, lecture and exhibit my work internationally and have an extensive network of paper colleagues around the world. My interest in how things are made (from paper) keep me up-to-date on current paper trends, which I write about in my weekly blog, The Sunday Paper. I hold an annual paper retreat in my Red Cliff, Colorado studio each September.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why do I need to register by Feb 1 if class doesn’t start until March 8?
I need to know how many people are in the class before I order parts from the various suppliers. I estimate it will take them about 10 days to pack and ship to me, at which time I’ll still have to assemble, label and send them to you. Thank you for bearing with me!

Why an Online Class?
I’ve taught these projects to hundreds of students in person over the past twenty years, but since I can’t travel all the time (and perhaps you can’t either) I decided to develop this on-line content. This is an extension of the numerous how-to projects I’ve written about in my books and the Twelve Months of Paper calendar, but they are a bit more in-depth and elaborate, featuring skill building as well as creative ideas.

What kind of experience is required?
This class is for all levels but expect some challenges. I have taught all of these projects to beginners and experienced artists with success. You should be comfortable using an X-acto knife.

If I’ve taken a class with you, will this be redundant?
I haven’t taught several of these projects in many years, and I rarely teach more than two of these in one workshop. Most likely there will only be one repetitive project,  but featuring a new paper of course! In addition, I’ll show variations for each project.

What if I miss a lesson?
Not to worry! The lessons are independent and can be done in any order, so if you miss one during the class, you can just skip ahead. All of the lessons will be available to you through the end of 2017.

Try me! Here’s a link to one of my on-line how-to guides, a Shadow Ornament Tutorial that you can download to familiarize yourself with my teaching style. Please note that the on-line class will be different, in that it will also include instructional videos.

Cancellation/Refund Policy: Register by February 1, 2017 and receive early bird pricing (price goes up to $220 on 2/1/17). You will receive a full refund minus a $25 processing fee for cancellations prior to the start date (March 8). No refunds after class begins.