Sunday, March 31, 2013

Week 13: Magic Magic

    Imagine the one thing that you are most passionate about. The thing that has your interest... no matter how rare or how common, how insignificant or how earth shattering... how dangerous or how silly... You realize how (really) unreasonable is your love for this thing. Consider how this passion is beginning to appear in every corner and closet of your house... in towering piles on the coffee tables... on chairs... under beds... in the cubbards... in the car...and in shopping bags and boxes, unopened. That's when you have to concede that maybe you are under some sort of spell. Maybe it's magic. That's the title of this week's book-of-the-week, Magic Magic.
A drop-spine case covered in paste paper and tied with a satin ribbon

Wrapped up like a present, Magic Magic looks pretty and pink. Pretty harmless, huh? But presents are magic too.  The mystery is incontrovertible.. Until the moment you unwrap a present, you never really know what's inside. Shake it to see if you can guess. Well, this present is silent. No rattling or clinking.

A wrap around case and a book inside
So what's the unreasonable and insignificant object of my passion? What's the mysterious package inside this present-shaped book? It's PAPER!!!!! I love paper. Blank paper, notebook paper, yellow legal pad paper, sticky note paper, paste paper, Japanese handprinted paper (actually, all countries' papers), handmade paper, printed paper, napkins, wrapping paper, parchment, tissue paper, waxed paper, even toilet paper!!!

A paper rack at Paper Mojo

   Recently, several of my students and I took a field trip to the local paper store, Paper Mojo, in Wake Forest, NC. Paper Mojo sells paper online at and has recently opened a storefront where the brides-to-be, mothers-to-be, fancy-party planners, collage artists, book artists and other devotees of pretty paper can walk in... and see and feel and purchase... the vast selection of decorative paper... in person.  This tiny cubicle-of-a-store in the back corner of a pink-brick strip mall is a perfect example of what happens when one is under the spell of magic. 
Paper Mojo, Wake Forest, NC
From that trip, I came home with a rolled-up tube of many gorgeous chiyogami papers for my upcoming class making Japanese books...many gorgeous marbled papers for my upcoming class making cord-bound books.... many gorgeous Italian papers just because... and the conception for this Magic Magic book, an ode to paper.

Magic Magic paste paper and more
Mixed with the commercial Japanese papers, Italian prints, and marbled papers are many of my own paste papers and intaglio prints..
Paste papers, marbled papers, and Japanese chiyogami 

Symbols and motifs are repeated over and over on the handmade papers.
The intaglio blue rose and the pagoda appear again and again...
When images are repeated often they become symbolic of some other idea. In my papers, the roses are symbolic of beauty, the pagodas symbolize a world united...

Vibrant and lively... papers in action!
No matter what the emotion, there are always papers to reflect the narrative of a story, a personality, or a life.
A paper candy wrapper at home among the exquisite marble and paste papers
Last page...  blueberries and "Gargoyles Watched Over"
To me each page is like a piece of string taffy, delicious! The papers lay in Magic Magic like Easter eggs in a basket... their  pretty patterns and lovely colors as enticing and mesmerizing as any form of magic. 

Real handblown eggs covered in paper by Sara at Paper Mojo
Paper is an odd sort of passion all on it's own and without the benefit of words or books to make it significant. ...But it has a softness in the folding that hints at an unlimited potential... a potential that can flower and grow into the most unexpected conclusion.
Paper flowers at Paper Mojo
May your passion have the magic to bring you much joy.