Category Archives: paper

Bead me up, Scottie

Remember when the beading craze hit, about 10 – 15 years ago? I was running a needlework shop at the time, and twice a week the wonderful Caroline Smith used to come in and give beading workshops. I went a bit bead crazy myself, and still have a trillion beads stashed in various places. Even if I’m not making something with them, they are SO PRETTY to look at…

So, I made a couple of beaded sugar bowl covers. They can also be used to cover milk jugs, you know – when you’re serving tea to your friends in the garden in summer and you don’t want flies to go in? The beads around the net circle hold it down so it won’t blow off.  It’s a bit Victorian, I suppose, but that whole style made a big come-back.

I don’t know where mine are now, but here are some that a friend of Nicola’s made (so you get the idea):

And here is another one, now put into use as a decoration for a paper lantern light fitting:

All it needed was a bit of glue, some fray-stoppa and a pair of very sharp herb scissors!

To be continued…


A bit of PMT

No, it’s not what you might think.  Thank goodness.

In my case, it means Papier Maché Therapy.

I just got the urge yesterday afternoon to mess around with paper and glue and water.  It had absolutely nothing to do with the editing deadline looming over me, or the washing-up that needed doing, or the weeds growing like triffids in the garden.

I love that you can make something out of almost nothing, and that it can be as durable as ceramics or wood by the time you finish.  I made these hearts a while ago, with many layers of different paper and then many coats of varnish, and they are as hard as rocks – but still as light as anything.

Many years ago I took a course at UCT’s summer school.  While everyone else was registering for Post Modern Theories of Victorian Literature or The Discourse of Feminism in South African Poetry, I did Paper Maché 101 with Jill Joubert, who ran St Cyprian’s Art Department and subsequently headed up the Frank Joubert School of Art and Design.  She was an incredible teacher, and of course we had masses of fun making the biggest mess you can imagine in one of the tutorial rooms on Middle Campus.

My project for that week was a large mirror framed with paper mush and embellished with shells. I know it was rather basic and certainly not very well executed, but it got me going.  (It got thrown out with my last move, which is no doubt just as well.)

Yesterday I decided to make another heart and a bowl, and once I’d done that I had the idea to stick buttons all over two previously-made paper hearts.  They might end up in the bin – but, hey, at least it took my mind off the weeds.

To be continued…

Lights camera action

Ever since I saw Kate Pruitt’s wonderful project  I have wanted to make one. Not only does it look gorgeous, but something new was sorely needed in my lounge. This is what has been up for the last 7.5 years (and, yes, I do know that two bulbs are missing):

When I moved into my flat, I was stony broke (there’s really no other way to put it) and had nothing to spare for niceties, so I was delighted to find this old fitting forgotten and abandoned at the back of the garage. I dusted it off, sprayed it copper and asked the handyman to put it up. 

Time for a change. I needed a paper ball, a glue gun, and a thousand cupcake papers:

It was all going well until I decided that my light needed more oomph, something with a bit of colour and sparkle. I just can’t help it – like an Indian mynah, I’m attracted to bright shiny things. I scurried off to my stash of stuff that I buy just in case I’ll ever need them one day, and found a whole lot of green and white paper roses, and some orange and red ribbony flowers from a Chinese garland. Have gun, will glue.

Not being much of a planner, I made no effort to work out how many flowery fillings I would need to fill all the cases. So, less than halfway through I ran out, to my not entirely unexpected dismay, but luckily the Chinese shops in Woodstock are always open on a Sunday so I rushed off there this morning and riffled through the fake blooms til I found more of the same. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t, but no doubt would still not have learnt my lesson about planning ahead.

Anyway, it’s done now and, all thanks to Rob for sorting out the hardware and the wiring side of things, my light is up and glowing!

It looks a bit eerie all on its own in the dark, but I’m quite pleased with my effort. Rob calls it the Moon Flower.

To be continued…