Paper Mache Workshop at Etsy

On Halloween, I hosted a spook-tacular Paper Mache event at Etsy Labs in Berlin. It was in a word, AMAZING! It had been in the works for quite some time and was super super fun when it came to be in actual reality. Let’s take a look shall we?

Here’s the listing from Etsy’s event page auf Deutsch und auf English:

Things I would like to acknowledge:
The use of the word “expert” in the German description and the use of the word “creepy” at the end of the English description. Love it! I don’t think you can have a craft event with me and not use the word “creepy” ahahahaha.

Okay, moving along…

First, in the category of giving credit where credit is due, I owe a great deal of this achievement (because that’s totally what it was) to Miss Elizabeth. It was she who first clued me into the fact that Etsy had a German office. But she didn’t stop there – she said I should host something. I wholly agreed and with her encouragement first reached out to Etsy on the first of August about leading an event. I’ve led arts and craft activities before, but mostly with kids. It was fun to expand into adult territory. A couple weeks before the actual event I met with Kristina who coordinates the events. It was a magical meeting full of quoting Destiny’s Child lyrics, finger knitting and Andrew Salomone fandom. Yes, please.

Cue to Halloween. Watch as things take form over the course of the photos:

We used this screen-printing heater to speed up the drying process

I was beyond super psyched to meet Marcus Rekete. He made his 3D wearable skull without looking skeleton pictures. If that’s not a feat, then I don’t know what is. Outside of mastering paper mache, he does graphic design. He showed Kristina and I an example of his work, where he first built a costume out of cardboard, then photographed it, enlarged it and then printed it out for it to become this crazy amazing paste-up:

We talked about future collaborations and I have to say I’m excited. I have to say it’s one of the the things I’m most looking forward to doing when I’m back in Berlin. A website made of paper is just one idea that we tossed around…

Such a great group of people turned out and I was so impressed with the quality of projects. Super proud to say this was the most guys ever to turn out for an Etsy Labs event!!! It’s something that Etsy has been trying to work on and their graffiti event in the summer was specifically aimed at getting guys to come out. That didn’t quite happen – it was all girls, but this paper mache party was able to bridge the gap! Whoo! Oh – and I got to play all my favorite tunes during the event too!

Right before people came trickling in, Kristina and I made our costumes. I had long-lameneted over whether to be Keyboard Cat or a unicorn. Keyboard Cat won the initial round, but after a week spent in Paris and getting less that two hours of sleep before flying into Berlin day-of, I wasn’t quite able to sew a blue shirt, cat ears and a tail. It was going to be up to the supplies we had on hand. Kristina was also costume-less, so I drew the outline of bat wings and traced and eye mask for her. She refined the sketch, cut it out, brushed on some paint. Here’s what we whipped up:

Luckily I grabbed a lei of tissue paper flowers that I had made in the summer before running out the door. That plus cardboard, paint and twine turned me into the embodiment of… May Day…

(PS – I totally wore Kristina’s costume home that night and to my DJ gig later that week – ha)

There’s a certain beauty to paper mache. I am a big fan of reuse, reduce, recycle and my craftiness is no exception. Whether it be my magazine bracelets with pages from second-hand magazines or my scrabble tile necklaces, that are not only are created with second-hand magazine paper, but packaged primarily from found materials there are many examples of the 3 R’s in my work… With basic paper mache, already one is using recycled newspaper. As I’ve continued through the years, I’ve learned to use various materials to add dimension to projects – such as bunching up the plastic wrap that comes around toilet paper which is often hard to recyle within the US. Instead of throwing it away, use it to create. And when letting a paper mache project air-dry, I put it on plastic so that it won’t get stuck to any surface. Another great place to sub in that aforementioned plastic wrap.

We talked about me hosting another event when I am back in Berlin in spring. I WOULD LOVE TO! I’m thinking paper-making or some other recycling-based project. It was such a great experience!

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