THINK BACK TO YOUR CHILDHOOD
Have you ever folded a paper airplane or a “cootie catcher” as a child? If you did, then you have already experienced the art of Paper Crafting. It was fun wasn’t it? Have you ever tried the art of origami with the beautiful thin paper that folds so well? What did you make? A crane, a frog, a flower? Have you drawn a picture on a piece of paper with a crayon or a colored pencil? Have you folded a piece of paper in half and turned it into a thoughtful card for someone ? Then you have been a paper crafter and you just didn’t know it.
BUT FIRST, A QUICK HISTORY ABOUT THE EVOLUTION OF PAPER
Before papyrus or paper as we know it existed, people communicated through storytelling, drawing pictures and symbols by carving them into tree bark, painting on cave walls, and making marks on clay tablets.
Several thousand years ago, the papyrus plant was grown and cultivated in the Nile delta region in Egypt. Its stalk or stem, whose central pith was cut into thin strips, pressed together, and dried was formed into a smooth thin writing surface. Papyrus was tough and is considered the first mass produced writing surface. Unlike true paper, however, papyrus was made from plant fibers that have not been broken down. It has rough edges and surface, and the underlying strips can begin to separate when used repeatedly.
In the 5th century, the Chinese made the first cloth sheets by mixing mulberry bark, hemp and rags with water, mashing it into pulp, pressing out the liquid and hanging the thin sheets to dry in the sun.
Between the 8th and 15th centuries the manufacture of paper was spreading from Egypt and China to England and on to Europe, with paper mills starting to produce large quantities for consumer use by the 16th century.
Finally, in 1690, the first U.S. paper mill was built in Pennsylvania. At first, the American paper mills used the Chinese method of shredding old rags and clothes into individual fibers to make paper. As the demand for paper grew, the mills changed to using fiber from trees because wood was less expensive and more abundant than cloth. Today, America’s paper is made from trees grown in sustainably managed forests and from recycled paper.
PAPER CRAFTING HAS BEEN AROUND A LONG TIME
Paper crafting is a creative art form that involves using paper as the primary medium to create a wide range of crafts and artistic projects. It encompasses various techniques and styles, allowing individuals to express their creativity and imagination through the manipulation of paper.
In paper crafting, crafters work with different types of paper, including cardstock, patterned paper, tissue paper, and specialty papers, like as origami paper, to create a variety of projects such as greeting cards, scrapbooks, journals, origami, paper collages, paper quilling, and more. The possibilities are virtually limitless, and the art form appeals to people of all skill levels. No matter your age or physical limitations you can participate in paper crafting.
Crafters can employ various techniques in paper crafting, including cutting, folding, stamping, embossing, coloring, and layering. The combination of these techniques, along with the use of embellishments like stickers, ribbons, and gems, allows for the creation of unique and visually appealing projects by each person who creates.
Paper crafting offers a wonderful way to express emotions, celebrate special occasions, preserve memories, and share messages with loved ones. It is a versatile and accessible art form, allowing individuals to enjoy the process of creating something beautiful and meaningful with their hands and imagination.
THE VARIETY OF PAPER CRAFTING FORMS YOU CAN TRY
When you think paper Crafting as a form of artistic expression, there are many areas you can explore such as:
1. Card Making: Creating handmade greeting cards for various occasions using various techniques like stamping, coloring, and embellishing. (My personal favorite!)
2. Scrapbooking: Assembling and decorating albums or memory books to preserve and showcase photos, mementos, and stories.
3. Journaling: Artistic journaling involves combining writing, drawing, and embellishments to document thoughts, emotions, and experiences in a creative way.
4. Paper Collage: Creating art by arranging and gluing different paper pieces, textures, and colors to form a cohesive composition.
5. Paper Quilling: Rolling and shaping strips of paper to create intricate designs and patterns.
6. Origami: The art of folding paper into various shapes and figures without cutting or gluing.
7. Papercutting: Intricate cutting designs into paper to create detailed silhouettes or intricate artwork. A famous artist who helped make paper cutting popular is Matisse.
8. Decoupage: Decorating objects with cut-out paper images, often layered and sealed with varnish or glue.
9. Paper Embroidery: Stitching or weaving thread through paper to create textured and decorative designs.
10. Mixed Media Art: Combining various artistic mediums, including paper, paint, ink, and embellishments, to create multidimensional and expressive artwork.
11. Paper Sculpture: Constructing three-dimensional sculptures or structures using paper as the primary material. (Any newspaper covered balloons in your childhood?)
12. Handmade Books: Crafting handmade books or journals using paper folding, binding, and embellishments.
13. Altered Art: Transforming existing paper-based items like books, boxes, or cards into new and artistic creations using various techniques.
14. Paper Stenciling: Using paper stencils to create repeated patterns or designs on surfaces with paint, ink, or other mediums.
15. Papier-Mâché: A technique of using paper strips soaked in adhesive to create sculptures or crafts.
These are just a few of the diverse areas of artistic expression within paper crafting. Each offers unique opportunities for creativity and self-expression, allowing individuals to explore their artistic passions and create beautiful works of art using paper as the medium. (Over the course of my life so far, I have done all 15 forms on the list at one time or another, but card making has been my favorite since 2010.)
Whether it’s creating personalized cards for birthdays, documenting cherished memories in a scrapbook, or crafting intricate paper designs, paper crafting is a joyful and fulfilling activity that fosters creativity and self-expression. It has a rich history and continues to evolve with new techniques and trends, making it a beloved and enduring form of artistic expression that everyone can enjoy in one form or another.
If you’d like to know more about paper here’s an interesting read https://everything-everywhere.com/a-brief-history-of-paper/