by Catherine Nash

Here are some ideas for you to use with your handmade sheets.  Have fun!

* Kites
The Japanese used beautiful handmade sheets to make kites!  A wonderful project would be to have your students create miniature, decorative kites on a piece of their paper either with inspiration of examples for their designs or by creating their own imaginary animal or dragon.    Inexpensive ribbons can be attached to the bottom for decoration.
Watercolor will bleed through (unless you size your paper) but after drying, designs can be highlighted by outlining with a marker.  

* Treasure Maps
Children have a preconceived idea of what good paper is: a perfect, machine-made, hard-edged, white sheet.  While teaching, I sometimes refer to their rough, uneven, fibrous handmade paper as "ancient treasure maps" to avoid any preconception of perfection.  (That truly helps nip any tears in the bud and brings an immediate "Cool!" with your youngest students).  It would be a great follow-up to let them create an imaginary kingdom or township and allow them to map out the surroundings in markers.   Presenting the concept of symbols and a "map legend" would be an important prelude as they could create symbols for particular locations and incorporate them into their image.

* Poetry  
Perfect for experimenting with calligraphy.  Perhaps a good time to introduce Haiku as a poetic structure.  A pale watercolor image could be painted on the sheet first and then by designing a layout for the words, the poem could create a beautiful, visual image. 

* Cards & Books 
Markers work well on both paper surfaces.  Cards: Just fold and go!  Consider cutting simple pop up steps on an insert sheet, onto which are glued small cutout images.  Pop up!  Books:  Two thicker pieces can be successfully used as a cover for machine made paper insides.  Binding can be achieved by hole punching with simple lacing to assemble.

* Paper Around the World  
Research paper crafts from different countries, using your handmade sheets to travel the world!


Origami Torn Paper Collage Fans
Papier Mache Decoupage Chinese Paper Cuts
Silhouette Paper Cuts Paper Weaving Gift Paper
Luminaria Lanterns Block or Potato Printing
Rolled Beads Jewelry (Collage) Rubbings
Stationary Envelopes Clothing

Paper to Cover --- Notebooks Window Mats
  Picture Frames Boxes
  Jars Flower Pots

Whew!  Can anyone think of anything else?   Please consider reviewing paper history or "paper as a vehicle for communication" to augment the class learning. 
Get them thinking about:  PAPER! 


All Rights Reserved — use of images/text by written permission of the artist only © Nash/Renfrow Productions