paper engineering


Helen Friel’s “Here’s Looking at Euclid”

Mathematics is like art; you either understand the concepts (i.e., you ‘get it’), or you become completely lost when coming into contact with them. Some people are able to understand both complex theories and expressions in art, and equations that, for some people, look like a bag of numbers and symbols exploded onto a piece of paper. In 1847, Oliver Byrne, a civil engineer and author, published a book called “Euclid’s Elements” which used coloured graphic explanations of each geometric principle. The style of graphics is similar to that of the Bauhaus and De Stijl movements, but since the book predates each, it could very well have been an inspiration for the creativity of the modernists.

Fast forward to the present, and a new rebirth of this book’s mathematical illustrations is inspiring paper engineer and illustrator Helen Friel to create three-dimensional sculpture replicas of the exact graphics in the book. The artists’ series, entitled “Here’s Looking at Euclid” (2012) uses the instructions found in Byrne’s book to create tangible mathematical theorems in the palm of your hand. Sure, it is a cool sculpture all on its own, but it is also an amazing tool to help teach people these theorems, especially those who are more visual learners and have difficulty concentrating on a page full of numbers.

If you would like to make one of these sculptures yourself, you can download and make your very own paper model of Pythagoras’ Theorem here.

-Anna Paluch


The Artifact (2013) by Sok Hwee How

Brief: To create an artifact that represents myself as a designer; which should also include my interests, inspirations and belief.

Being very passionate about making craft since young, and constantly including interactive elements in the things I made for friends, I choose to portray myself in an interactive form of paper craft.

The mechanism work in such a way that when the knob is turn, it will trigger three components to appear; a drawer, a quote, and illustrations.

This project is solely in white and brown as I am inspired by the simplicity and earthy-tone of Muji.

Fri, Feb 21, 3p:

Theodore’s Drawing Salon
 by Ted Barrow, curated by Alise Tifentale
Engineer’s Office Gallery, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, NYC (bt 48th and 49th St)

These Drawing Salons began with a fascination of 19th century parlor culture combined with an innocuous and particular pleasure taken from drawing with friends. The project will involve a group of artists meeting at the Engineer’s Office Gallery, touring the galleries of Christie’s and drawing a selected group of objects or images on auction, then installing their renditions of these images in the space provided. The drawings, once installed, can be photographed and documented however each artist wants, but left in the space with the understanding that they will likely be taken down and destroyed by a third party. Although the format and size of the paper will not be regulated, ink drawings are a must. Theodore’s Drawing Salon is an attempt to reflect on the seemingly victorious digitalization of the present-day culture. As a comment to the era of easily accessible tools of digital image-making and platforms for image-sharing, the Salon proposes an explicitly analog image-making and image-sharing environment. Yet the Salon will have its online presence and the team will happily engage in discussion and dissemination of the drawings.

pictured: William-Adolphe Bouguereau, The Oreads, 1902


7E Guest Artist - Elod Beregszaszi

Elod is a paper artist/engineer based in London.  He creates art installations, commercial backdrops, greeting cards, jewelry, etc.  He writes, “I look forward to develop a kinetic language to explore form through the constellation of cuts and folds.”  

We are very happy to hear he is a fan of our blog and super excited to have him join our community.

Check out his beautiful/clever work on his site and flickr.  




Paper Art Could Make Better Blood Tests, Architecture

We’re being swamped this week with news of ancient paper-folding art being used in the name of science. This one includes cutting, too. 

Yesterday’s post highlighted how the complex paper-folding method called origami is helping scientists visualize and communicate the way DNA fits inside the cell’s nucleus.

Now, University of Pennsylvania researchers reveal that a related art called kiragami, which involves cutting along with folding, could open up new worlds in architecture, nanotechnology and other fields. 

Keep reading


Each is a storybook paper craft how-to book that your grandmother on LSD would really enjoy.

Preorder from Sept 13 to 25!
Written, illustrated and general ridiculousness by Crankbunny.

The release day for both books on Sept 26th - so enjoy this small bucket of time to get a hold of each or one book of your choosing at a discount.

• Each book focuses laser tight on two different paper craft techniques.

• Learn to how to make all sorts or pop up cards OR create different types of paper dolls (including mechanical ones!).

• Each book includes 4 how-to projects with templates.

• Additional related templates and resources are available online with a secret membership login to the Secret Society of Paper Cuts (SSoPC) official website.

Want more info? Clickum-them-here!


It’s Fine Press Friday!

This week, we are sharing House of Cods, a finely printed pop-up book featuring a poem by Carol Schatt. The book was designed, printed, and assembled by Linda Smith in 1996 at the Picnic Press in Phoenix, Arizona in an edition of 50. The book is an environmental warning framed in the guise of a playful and engaging pop-up. Once the viewer is seduced by this apparently entertaining structure, there is no backing out, and they are met instead with sober contents of impending doom. Smith makes use of the pop-up not as we conceive of it today–a structure to amaze and delight–but rather as it was originally intended–a didactic tool for instruction and explanation.

The poem, which is told from the perspective of the cod fish, warns of the dangers of overfishing and disrupting the marine environment. The seemingly playful popup design mirrors this warning, depicting a house of cards, topped by a boat, which rests upon a foundation of fish. Netting from the top of the boat descends down the construction, and then flows as a printed impression over the paper and the text of the poem, giving the illusion that the lament of the fish has been caught in the nets. Once humanity has “emptied the seas completely” we will “hear the slow sad echo and then no more,” and the house of cards that is the fishing industry will come toppling down.

Linda Smith was a student of John Risseeuw, another printmaker, papermaker, and book artist who also uses themes of environmental and social justice. The text for this books is handset Optima foundry type with relief line engravings. The Gyotaku fish impressions were printed on a variety of Mexican, Philippine, and Thai handmade papers.