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The Great Paper Chase

Thursday July 10th, 2008, 6 years, 7 months and 3 weeks ago

EDIT:  The Paper Chase Project has now closed.

I’ve been busying myself making new small-format originals for a mega-update of my Etsy shop & thought I’d list the first four pieces yesterday & then post about them here in my blog this morning – & guess what? They all sold overnight! Hooray!!

So, I thought I’d show you what I’ve been working on anyway…  I’m really interested in making these collaged geometric patterns from vintage paper lately – I’m quite happy with how they’re working out. It’s so satisfying to take a piece of dusty, forgotten paper, deconstruct it, & give it new life.

What interests me is how once you take a printed image out of the context of its completeness by cropping it into tiny details, you’re prompted to look at it with a new objectivity – each little piece of paper becomes quite enigmatic & beautiful. Then to integrate it into this pattern that has so much depth & detail…it’s really satisfying!

I love the mellow colours & textures & the way the patterns emerge. I try not to be too rigid with dictating what goes where, but I do like to try to create a sense of balance & harmony.

I have a few different designs in the pipeline, but the size & complexity of each one is limited by the brittleness of some of the paper & the fact that I hand-cut them all – in large quantities. It’s tempting to get a digital diecutter to extend the scope of what I can do, but there’s something nice about them being a bit wibbly & flawed. Sitting there snipping away has given me something to do in those moments where you just want to zone out & watch trash TV or engage in some chit-chat or something.

And now, to this…


Finding new sources of interesting paper is not easy – so I’ve devised a little plan. If you have any found paper laying around that you don’t mind parting with & posting to me, I will in return, make you a collage with some of the paper you send & ship it back to you, keeping the rest of the paper for my own projects. You get a little artwork, I get some paper joy!

The types of paper I’m interested in are not necessarily rare or valuable ephemera. I’m looking for mainly pre-1970 paper (although I do use more recent, & brand new paper sometimes too, so a little of that is fine) such as the following…

  • receipts & invoices
  • advertisements from magazines, comics, etc. (I love the little ads in the back pages)
  • pages from books, magazines, comics, ledgers & notebooks
  • patterned end papers from books would be great
  • labels & packaging
  • envelopes, letters, stamps & postcards
  • anything with handwriting on it, particularly old-fashioned pen & ink
  • anything without writing on it such as notepaper, graph paper, etc.
  • brown paper bags
  • paper that is aged, yellow, spotty, stained, even torn is fine
  • greeting cards & gift wrap
  • wallpaper
  • sheet music
  • maps
  • flyers, forms, theatre programs, etc.

Extra great would be ephemera from different cultures – China, Japan, India, Mexico, etc. Colourful, decorated paper is nice, but not essential – some of my favourite pieces are regular white paper that has aged to varying shades of yellow & brown.

If you’re interested in participating in the Magic Jelly Paper Chase, just send your little bundle of found paper to me with your return address. What you send me will naturally influence what I make for you (what a great challenge!) but I might also use some paper from my own collection, including some of my own test prints & illustrations. I don’t expect you to send a massive bundle, but of course, it needs to be a fair exchange, so a nice little collection of bits & pieces would be good! The resulting artwork I make for you will be small-format, around 4×4″ to 6×6″ or thereabouts. Depending on where I need to ship it, turn around time will be 2-4 weeks.

Please send paper to:

Magic Jelly
P O Box 542
Welland. South Australia. 5007

As well as making sure to give me your return address (so I can send your collage!), if you could please enclose a little note with your package letting me know your email address, Etsy username (if you have one), site/blog url – that kind of thing – so I can contact you & mention you in my blog. Thank you!

If you have any questions, feel free to email me.

I’ll be sure to post more about this project in my blog when I start receiving some paper goodies & making the collages to send out. Hooray!


19 Responses to The Great Paper Chase

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  1. Julian says: majaba.org

    Well, congratulations on the success with your new collages!
    I love that sniddly girl. She does look like Harriet, a scheming Harriet… it’s a quite nice piece of paper she’s on, too.
    I’ll try to find those weird old welfare receipts!

    Reply to Julian Jul 10th 2008, 6 yrs and 7 mths ago
  2. I will definitely in it!
    Such a cool cool idea, thank you so much for sharing!

    Reply to binal Jul 10th 2008, 6 yrs and 7 mths ago
  3. High Desert Diva says: etsyhighdesertdiva.blogspot.com

    What a wonderful idea. I’ll go digging through my stash to see what I can come up with!

    Reply to High Desert Diva Jul 10th 2008, 6 yrs and 7 mths ago
  4. These are fabulous! Old paper is really wonderful, I agree…I’ll dig around and see what I can come up with. ;)

    Reply to Beth Jul 10th 2008, 6 yrs and 7 mths ago
  5. electricbluebird says: electricbluebird.etsy.com

    I definitely have some stuff laying around that I can send. I have a sweet little collection of vintage wrapping paper and the pieces are too small to wrap much with.

    Reply to electricbluebird Jul 10th 2008, 6 yrs and 7 mths ago
  6. Good luck with your paper chase!

    Reply to Felicia Jul 10th 2008, 6 yrs and 7 mths ago
  7. Marisa says:

    I’ll look around too! I have loads of stuff about. Expect a little package from me too

    Reply to Marisa Jul 10th 2008, 6 yrs and 7 mths ago
  8. I mailed you a paper package today :D

    Reply to Cassie Jul 11th 2008, 6 yrs and 7 mths ago
  9. What a neat idea!! I think I have just the perfect little packet lying around…

    Reply to Melissa Jul 11th 2008, 6 yrs and 7 mths ago
  10. Karena (Magic Jelly) says: magicjelly.com.au

    Thanks everyone! I can’t WAIT until the packages start arriving! I’ll make sure to contact everyone when their parcels reach me & post about it here in my blog! SO exciting!!

    Reply to Karena (Magic Jelly) Jul 11th 2008, 6 yrs and 7 mths ago
  11. Tepimade says: tepitalk.blogspot.com/

    I can probably dig up some old science journals and similar. Looks like a great project!

    Reply to Tepimade Jul 11th 2008, 6 yrs and 7 mths ago
  12. Persimmonsgal says: persimmonsgal54220.blogspot.com

    I will get a really good package out to you soon!! It is perfect timing because I am in a major destash mood right now.

    Reply to Persimmonsgal Jul 11th 2008, 6 yrs and 7 mths ago
  13. I love vintage papers too, and have been collecting quite a bit for my pendants. I’ll have to see what I have….might have vintage sheet music?

    Reply to woolies Jul 11th 2008, 6 yrs and 7 mths ago
  14. Emmaroseart says: emmaroseart.blogspot.com

    I think you may have your hands full! I will be posting you a little parcel on Monday, and I have mentioned your wonderful paper chase in my blog today! Talk soon on http://www.madeit.com.au forum!

    Reply to Emmaroseart Jul 13th 2008, 6 yrs and 7 mths ago
  15. TepiMade says: tepitalk.blogspot.com

    In the mail to you yesterday!

    Reply to TepiMade Jul 18th 2008, 6 yrs and 7 mths ago
  16. lisa Johnston says: urbanbirdonline.com

    these are so beautiful. kick ass man!

    Reply to lisa Johnston Jul 24th 2008, 6 yrs and 7 mths ago
  17. Victoria Bennett Beyer says: victoriabennettbeyer.blogspot.com/

    What a brilliant idea! I LOVE the collages you are creating. Nice and orderly and geometric and VERY hip. I can’t wait to see what else you come up with.

    Reply to Victoria Bennett Beyer Aug 10th 2008, 6 yrs and 6 mths ago
  18. What a great way to make this interweb thing more social!

    Reply to kim Aug 12th 2008, 6 yrs and 6 mths ago
  19. I will be posting you off some lovely old papers this week :)
    Wonderful to read your thoughts and inspiration behind these pieces :)

    Reply to Gillian Oct 8th 2008, 6 yrs and 4 mths ago

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