paper stories

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Saturday, December 13, 2008
I've been doing some Christmas shopping on Etsy, and I must report that it's very satisfying. If I'm spending money on gifts, I'd rather it go more or less directly into the hands of people who make things. This is probably not a sound theory as far as large scale Economics go, but it certainly makes me a lot happier than plonking down my credit card for mass produced whatever. Not that I haven't enjoyed plenty of mass produced whatever in my lifetime! But this holiday season with money tight all around, I decided I'd rather do it this way -- it's like small scale patronage! and I can do it in my pajamas! (Although I'm still buying books, which I can also do in my pajamas.)

Here are some items and sellers that've caught my eye recently. I've been reading a lot of fairytale/fable type stories lately and have thinking about paper, so these items fall into this theme. It may be too late to get something by Christmas, but maybe not! (Most sellers will tell you in their announcement section.)

I've seen Elsita featured in various craft/design blogs, and for good reason -- she's fabulous! She does a lot of different paper-themed art, but my favorites are the silhouettes. She offers reasonably priced prints of her amazing papercuts. (and occasionally original papercuts -- not cheap, but so wonderful!) This one is called "The Secret Anatomy of a Young Girl." She has a lot of fairy tale themed papercuts -- amazingly detailed work. She also offers some pieces in small 4" x 6" prints which are even more affordable!

I love the idea of shadow puppets and toys of the imagination in general. Orange Moon Toys have several different themed sets: (dinosaurs, thai legends, whales, Barack Obama, giant squid, castle, zombies, etc.) I like the pirate possibilities of this Battle of Trafalgar set. If you think you're too old to stage puppet shows (whatever!), these would be great party decor.

Roadside offers flat prints of dimensional paper sculpture. I love these a lot! She's fond of the circus, various acts of flying through the air (hot air balloon, umbrella, parachute, kite, carried by birds, cloud climbing), and also has some more straightforward portrait-style images (the letter, the camera, the road ahead). In the Woods print available here.

Speaking of paper, design, and setting your imagination on fire, Design*Sponge has collaborated with the New York Public Library on a series of Design By The Book video podcasts about inspiration. I'm enjoying it very much! The project is this: Artists of various disciplines were invited to participate in a challenge -- they must come up with a design based on inspiration gleaned at the NYPL. The idea is that most people do not realize the VAST RESOURCES available to anyone with access to a library. (although it must be noted that some libraries are going to have a deeper collection than others. The NYPL is especially rich.) It's like a detective story, except the clues they are searching for are not about Professor Plum in the Kitchen with a Candlestick, but regarding the elusive and amorphous subject of inspiration. (with a chorus of "I didn't even know such books existed!") There have only been two episodes so far. The first one was an introduction to the project and the artists. The second featured a (gratuitous! but I liked it anyway) cameo by Isaac Mizrahi and introduction to librarian Jessica Pigza, who is working with the artists to bring them items of interest from the collection. Good stuff! You can view the series a number of ways (including free iTunes download), all of which are enumerated on the NYPL page for the project.
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