EAGLE COUNTY — Having written five books, including the most recent “Playing With Pop Ups,” artist Helen Hiebert is one of the top paper artists in the country if not the world.
And she lives here in Eagle County. This month, Hiebert is teaching a handful of paper workshops at local libraries.
“I love libraries and think that they attract a nice cross-section of the community,” she said. “Doing these workshops provides me with a way to share innovative ideas for working with paper with the general public as well as with my own community.”
Of course, Hiebert’s how-to books can be found in libraries, yet another reason she likes them, but her “own preference is to learn hands-on. I hope that others find that enjoyable too,” she said.
Hiebert moved to Eagle County from Portland, Oregon, in August 2012 with her husband, Ted Katauska, and their two children.
The interplay between paper and light is one of the things that drew Hiebert to paper as a medium in the ’80s, she said. She was visiting Japan and saw the shoji screens, the traditional wood and paper room dividers popular in Asian design. She was struck by the way sunlight filtered through the paper.
“It was such a simple way of using paper in architecture,” she said.
Inspired, she returned to New York City, where she was living at the time; she soon took a job at a paper mill where she worked for six years.
“I could make my own paper, put things in it and make watermarks,” she said. “I became fascinated with the whole process.”
Hiebert hires herself out for “Playing with Paper” parties, where she’ll come to a birthday party or event with all the materials for a group of people to make a paper-based project. She completed a 100 x 100 paper weavings project on New Year’s Eve 2013. She made a paper weaving each day for 100 days using paper from around the world that was donated for the project.
Hiebert will host a Red Cliff Paper Retreat Sept. 5-7 (the class is full with a waiting list, but the event will be held annually, taking place Sept. 4-6, 2015. Visit www.helenhiebertstudio.com). She will also take part in the Red Cliff Studio Tour, set for Aug. 16 and 17.
Molly Eppard, the head of Art in Public Places, brought Hiebert in for a series of paper lantern making workshops in late 2013 that attracted more than 100 participants. She met with Hiebert at her studio in Red Cliff, where the idea for the collaboration was born.
“I was truly impressed by the quality of her art,” Eppard said. “I think paper is both delicate and tactile as an artistic medium.”