Thursday, September 30, 2010


When my friend Rebecca who pens the recuerdo mi corazon blog mentioned posting about paper a while ago, I wasn’t quite sure what she was looking for. She just said to get ready and post articles about paper on September 30th. I had some thoughts about paper. She called it a Walkabout. I started jotting down some ideas. Knowing Rebecca and many of her readers, I knew there must be an art theme in here somewhere. I also noticed some had made objets d’art using paper.
Of course I’m no artist, at least I won’t call myself one, I’ll let others do so if they are so inclined. And especially not very well versed with paper art on the surface of it, but I did look around and found some interesting things after I thought about it for a while. 
First of all, art with the name paper in it, can only mean paper mache’, right? Well, I told you I wasn’t an artist. That’s all I knew off the top of my head. The thing is, paper mache’, as an art medium, is still widely in use. Many of the artists that post comments on Rebecca’s blog already are using paper mache’ on a more regular basis and not just for the Walkabout scheduled for today. I learned paper is used in art for more than just paper mache’. These examples of Kaleidoscope Art using contruction paper are amazing!

Construction paper, amazing!

That said, I didn’t take that tack at first. I thought of paper in and of itself. I also thought of things we think of when the word paper is mentioned. You know, what about the items in our everyday lives, when the word paper is used as part of the vernacular? Words like toilet paper, newspaper, construction paper, scratch paper, litmus paper, (that’s an old one), paper napkins, wax paper and wall paper to name a few. And you’ll notice I didn’t mention the word paper and its wide use in business, the legal profession and education. Term paper, legal paper, serve the papers, sign the paper, “I have to write a paper”, the paper is due, the paper is overdue. 
I found this article in The Motley Fool. Motley Fool is an investor blog. The article is talking about a certain kind of paper as an economic indicator.
“But perhaps a more telling forward indicator has popped up from a most unlikely source: demand for two-ply and "luxurious" toilet paper is on the rise, after plummeting in recent years as consumers slashed discretionary items from their budget. According to research provider RISI, industrywide tissue production is up 13% this year. In a recent earnings call, Proctor and Gamble noted that the high-end Charmin brand has seen strong sales growth, boosting the company's earnings this year. And Georgia-Pacific's new Quilted Northern Ultra Plush bath tissue recently earned the honor of "pacesetter" status from marketing research firm Symphony IRI Group after generating $125 million in sales in its first year.”
Of course my own mind thinks of newspaper and that whole aspect of everyday life that seems to be dying since the advent of the internet. A daily issue of words and pictures printed on a thin piece of paper. The size of the sheet is larger than most standardized “sheets” of paper. Newspapers are cut from a large roll. Maybe all paper is. Toilet paper is usually sold in a roll, but I have seen it in sheets in commercial applications.
A wonderful example of a roll of art on paper
In the days before internet and even before everyone had a TV, newspapers were printed regularly, and if an event were to happen, an “Extra” edition of the daily paper would be printed and circulated. The call “Extra, Extra, Read all about it” is an historical reference to newspaper. Newspaper is also most often used as kindling to start fires, to wrap glassware for shipment, and it makes the best paper mache’. By the way, papier mache’ is French for chewing paper. 
The last time I saw one of these was in an old Black and White movie
I could go into the whole gamut of how paper was invented and what we use today to make paper, the process et al. The word papyrus comes to mind. I have a  friend that makes paper himself. He makes the sheets, one at a time, and uses them for note cards and personal greetings he sends to people. Art in making the actual paper, then art drawn or written on the very same sheets. "Double Art." I know that we generally cut down trees to make paper and there are environmental concerns over this practice when plant fiber like hemp would be more renewable and have less impact on our oxygen levels and land stability on our fragile Sacred Earth Mother.
Instructions to make a Bat from Origami
Of course as art, the use for paper or paper as a medium is endless as the creativity of the mind is infinite. Origami is the best example. I met many Japanese people a couple of years ago when I participated in The Longest Walk. One friend in particular actually gave me and others gifts made by Origami before she left the states to return to Japan. This traditional Japanese Folk Art is folding paper into shapes. I did this in school as I folded paper to make an airplane shape to harass Gretchen Wozniak. Looking back, I was 13. I was an artist, and I never impressed Gretchen very much with the dive bombers.  
Beautiful bird figures made using the traditional Japanese Origami
In this example from The People’s Daily, not only is the paper cut to fashion a dress, but it is wearable. Cuts made in paper, easily handled and used functionally. Chinese Paper Cutting is an art form on display in the next photo. I remember being at a hotel where the concierge had paper bathing suits for sale to those that wanted to take advantage of the pool and spa but failed to pack appropriate swim attire. Could you imagine a diaper made from any other material besides paper or cloth. And what is cloth? A more refined sort of paper no doubt.
A paper dress at a Chinese exposition
It is obvious that I can go on and on. Paper has been around for a long time. This short essay is by no means a work of art, but not all art is holdable or looked at. Some of it is heard or read off of pages, or in the case of this article, an internet screen. Creating art by writing is most prevalent in poetry, prose and haiku, but it’s also a style used by artist/cartoonist R. Crumb and the like. In this example, the cartoon of Mr. Natural and Flakey Foont use actual words written, and encapsulated in a balloon, to hold them in cartoons as art. This could not be achieved without the paper to put them on. What is the art then? The paper itself, or the words and creative thought? Both, I believe.
Art within art on this comic book page, or as I have penned, "Double Art"
Even the words in books and magazines are printed on paper. The styles of fonts seem to be endless, and aren't the font styles themsleves creations of art?
So, dear Rebecca, my offering today may be different than most others. I know many fantastic creative people will grace your pages. You have turned me on to so many wonderfully talented individuals. Their work is exquisite in every way. I marvel at the creativity I see at Yours, Stephanie’s, Susanna’s and Rochambeau’s, just for a few “for instances”. Mine is just talking about paper and some conjured thoughts. And the marvel of the whole subject that intrigues me the most is that I end this with the fact that the objet d’art so magnificently displayed with the use of paper, I’m sure, by the artists here,  is the same medium I use to blow my nose, blot up a spill, clean a surface and wipe my sweet derriere . I’m still using the low end stuff. I guess I’m bad for the economy.
Peace to All


Anonymous said...

Interesting. Thanks.

All the best, Boonie

rebecca said...

your paper trail is so diverse!!!
mr. natural indeed.

what i LOVE beyond all else is how you use the written and i am certain on important slips of paper...
for peace.

thank you for brightening our walkabout!!!
thank you for always starting and ending with

english inukshuk said...

how about an old fashioned paper chase! the last time I participated in one of those I was in my early 20s

I have many thoughts about paper, which I won't trouble you with apart from this. . .

from Rob Ryan, one of my favourite paper artists


Unknown said...

I love paper .... you have rightly esteemed it in this posting :)


Mel said...


Now see--I enjoyed that!

And I wanna do the bat! (betcha knew that'd happen...LOL)

<-- now going to see if there's black orgami paper around!

If not--I know where there's some at work! :-D

rochambeau said...

This is a great post Mr. Spadoman........How I do appreciate and admire your thoughts on the topic of paper.

Your essay has delved deep into the purposes of and modern day symbolism of paper.

It is strange to embrace that the newspaper is dying soon.

Everything you noted was worthy of thought and consideration.

Thank you!

Noelle Clearwater said...

Hello Spadoman,
I really liked your post. I think that it is a kind of socio-cultural tour of paper, its aesthetic kinesthetic and economic uses. I loved the paper dress by the way, very lovely. I think that all of our discussion was interesting. Thank you for a great post!
Peace back at you my friend,

Sacred Yoli said...

Wow, I love how you covered all the different uses for paper. Great read!
Beautifully crafted!

joco said...

Tremendous post.

Readable and re-readable. Well done. So much I hadn't considered.

Have you come across the newly coined word: corrugami?
Somebody complained about packaging, using folded corrugated cardboard rather than bubble wrap.

Sarah said...

What a great exploration of paper in many of its forms and uses. I love thinking about words like you did at the beginning of your article, and am now going to do so with 'paper'. I loved the various reminders you gave me of beautiful and traditional art forms like paper cutting and origami-both interesting in that they can be done really simply, by anyone, young children included, and yet can be the most sophisticated thing in the world. You may not call yourself an artist but I will-an artist with words and thoughts and links between ideas. I really enjoyed it!

mig said...

Oh well you've convinced me.
Paper is the best!