John Gerard’s Hand-Made Abaca and Flax Paper Review

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Related models: Lucky Star Tessellation
Related papers: Hand-Made Paper

Lucky Star Tessellation folded from the paper under review
Lucky Star Tessellation folded from the paper under review
Lucky Star Tessellation folded from the paper under review

I folded Lucky Star Tessellation from a sheet of blue, hand-made abaca and flax paper created by John Gerard paperworks.

Since this is artisanal paper, my review can probably only apply to that individual sheet and to other sheets with similar composition and preparation technique.

The pictures do not fully do justice to this beautiful paper. Color is deep, with some variability which makes it more interesting. In back light, the paper becomes translucent. In contrast to John Gerard’s pure flax papers which I also tried, creases preserve the paper’s original color, so they do not stand out so much. The side I used for the front of the tessellation (stars) is smooth while the back preserves the sieve’s texture.

The paper is thin, and at the same time very stiff. Precreases went almost perfectly where I wanted even over long distances. Geometry was preserved very well, and the paper didn’t stretch during folding. Even hand-made papers sometimes exhibit a slight machine/grain direction but in this sheet it was not discernible — a very good thing for pre-creasing on a hex grid and with some acute angles. I had to construct some really long precreased lines without relying on a complete grid but was able to do so with very high precision. The collapse went smoothly as well, despite the paper’s thinness and the model’s complexity. High rigidity enabled a clean collapse, with all the folds neatly snapping into place. Folded creases held very well which made the collapse and shaping the final model easier, even when it came to shaping the small details like the stars’ centers.

The only thing that could be better was squashing the pleats on the back side: the paper contains some small bits which are harder than their surroundings and which sometimes caused crumpling while I was flattening squash folds. However, this was a minor thing.

Overall, I can’t praise this paper enough, and it may well be the best paper I ever folded.


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