A Gift for Naomi


Naomi's  Ceramic Wall Sconce.

My niece Naomi is the ultimate interdisciplinary crafter! She’s actually a ceramic artist, who makes dishes so beautiful you don't want to eat off of them and wall sconces that make you wonder what material (you’d never guess clay!) they’re made with. But she’s also one of those enviable people who transform whatever material is in her hands into a work of art. Whether it’s paper and pencil, Peruvian Alpaca she used to knit my birthday scarf, or silky laceweight she crocheted a into a baby blanket for a dear friend.

For someone who tends to stick to what she knows for making gifts—all knitting, all the time!—Naomi is fine inspiration and a fun co-conspirator. Recently, I took a lace techniques class, focusing on bobbin lace and tatting, and while I’m not going to be turning out any lace ruffs in time for Christmas, I can definitely see myself adding a modest bobbin lace or tatted project to my must-make list for the next holiday season. 

But right now, I’m tackling a completely different craft: paper. I recently began making very simple paper, but I’ve wanted to incorporate botanicals. I’m an avid gardener and sometimes when I look at different types of flowers blooming, I wonder what they’d look like in paper. I’d experimented with marigold seeds and actually incorporated petunias into the paper mix itself, but I wanted to go much farther. As is my way, I started out too far! I mixed up a combo of dried grass, leaves, and herbs, and ended up with a beautiful, completely functionless slab of fiber that shed every time I picked it up.

With a more modest approach, I used my standard recipe for paper mulch (no grass this time!), adding small quantities of raw materials from my back yard: maple leaves, chrysanthemums, and dried roses, and I was pretty happy with the results.

Johwey Redington's Book Sculptures.
Sheets of handmade paper  wrapped  with sprigs of dried lavendar for Naomi's gift.

For years, I’ve made cards with photographs of my garden and a variety of landscapes that I give as gifts and with gifts. Nothing seemed better to me than making those cards with my own handmade paper. I've still got a lot of expermenting to do, but I'm on my way!

Given all of my cross crafting these days, I was thrilled when I picked up Interweave's new DIY Holiday magazine. The issue includes 25 handmade projects to make for the holidays, using a variety of different crafts like needlework, jewlery making, knitting, and mixed media. Sweet little sculptures made out of book pages just might be the next thing I do with my handmade paper. 




And, I'm going to send Naomi a copy, too, because she'll be able to make every  project on every page, perfectly. I've also decided to give her my most recent paper creations as a gift for being my inspiration to be a brave crafter!

Happy crafting,