Monday, 16 December 2013

Book Review: Fletvaerk - amazing Danish paper-weaving


By Anna Schepper & Lene Schepper


Hardback, 140 pages, 299.95 kr (Danish)

ISBN 978-87-641-0970-2

Today I am featuring a Danish-language title. I’ve never reviewed a foreign-language book before, but I am making a well-deserved exception for Fletvaerk, the first book by the genius papercraft team behind the PaperMatrix blog, which originates in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Flaetvaerk means braiding, as in interlaced strands. This concept is common to all of the intricate paper-woven creations in the book, which contains full-size templates for more than 50 designs. Papercraft wizardry to amaze and astound!

The authors, Anna Schepper and Lene Schepper, aim to “revive and reinterpret the tradition  of Danish woven paper hearts and ornaments” (such as cone-shaped baskets). And they have done so to spectacular effect, with some digital assistance in the design and paper-cutting department.

I have always been a fan of woven paper hearts. Here’s a link to my papercraft template for Hot Off The Press: hearts template . (Entry level compared to the PaperMatrix designs – but I try!)

Unfortunately, I have not picked up much Danish from watching Borgen and The Killing – so I am unable to read the text of the book. The good news is that there are plenty of how-to diagrams. A reasonably experienced papercrafter should be able to figure out what to do, since all the designs are paper-woven in a similar manner. Also – importantly – the fabulous PaperMatrix website and Facebook pages can be read in English – so it is recommended to visit them and get acquainted with the paper-weaving technique before attempting any of the book projects. 

Don’t get intimidated by the technical wizardry. Some of the projects can easily be tackled by the newcomer to papercrafting. There’s a pretty party bunting with a selection of pennant designs (p.23),  some traditional Danish woven hearts (p.23), and op-art style spiral heart (pp-24-25 ) that can easily be accomplished. The 3-D stars (p.49) are built up from modular sections, and can be assembled easily.
Woven-heart Christmas tree.
There’s a clever secret to making the cone-shaped baskets: an inner paper cone is used as an armature during the weaving stage. The puzzle-piece cone (p.72) is delightful – but probably best to attempt it after doing some simpler woven cones first. The heart-motif baskets (p.77) are ideal for Valentine’s Day. 

The Schepper’s total mastery of their art is expressed in their designs for curved shapes. They’ve got intricate balls, wait for it – egg shapes; and gently curving bells (p.88), which would make great tree ornaments. They can even craft ogee-curved domes, as seen on Russian churches. There are hot air balloons, a rocket ship, and some fun fancy dress crowns. Wow-ness – all of it. Such sophisticated shapes woven in paper.

To counterpoint the astonishing technical achievement of the designs, few materials are required to make them: coloured papers, glue, cutting implements, and a handful of paperclips (to keep strands in place as you are weaving).

I notice that the Scheppers come to papercrafting from technical backgrounds. So many modern-day papercraft designers have impressive technical CV’s and/or academic credentials!

Fletvaerk is a large format book, beautifully photographed and presented. It certainly deserves pride of place on any papercrafter’s coffee table. The virtuoso paper-weaving of the Scheppers is to be admired and shared!

You can order Fletvaerk directly from the Klematis website:

In fact, all of the book’s pages are available to browse online on the Klematis website.

And don’t forget to visit PaperMatrix online, Facebook or Pinterest.

Note: I was supplied with a review copy of this title.