Helen Hiebert – Tangential


© 2017

edition of 30

dimensions in inches: 12 x 9 x 1

About this piece:
Helen Hiebert created all of the papers in this book using 100% cotton rag fiber: the cover and end sheets feature a pulp stenciling technique; the rest of the pages are double-sided. The text was printed by Tom Leech at the Press at the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, New Mexico from polymer plates made by Boxcar Press. The typeface is Dante. The geometric shapes were hand cut and scored. All stitching was done by hand. Claudia Cohen bound and boxed the book. Tangential was designed and produced at Helen Hiebert Studio in Red Cliff, Colorado.

After viewing (and handling) the 1570 edition of Euclid’s Elements of Geometry at the Denver Public Library, I was drawn to the chapter on polyhedra. I find it interesting to imagine how Euclid constructed his ideas in the physical world, since paper was invented later. Perhaps he constructed them in papyrus or parchment (precursors to paper). I am intrigued by the many ways in which a flat sheet of paper can transform from two- into three-dimensions.

I built the basic polyhedra, or platonic solids, into the pages of the book (which are double-sided cotton handmade sheets). Each form lies flat on the page (like an architectural floor plan) with visible cut and score lines. The shapes can be lifted from the page (but not removed) and folded to create each polyhedra. The text is adapted from Euclid’s Elements (which was originally translated into old English) and is direct, simple and didactic.


HMP, ink thread, book board, book cloth.

About the artist:

Helen Hiebert is a Colorado artist who constructs installations, sculptures, films, artists’ books and works in paper using handmade paper as her primary medium. She teaches, lectures and exhibits her work internationally and is the author of the books Papermaking with Plants, The Papermaker’s Companion, Paper Illuminated, Playing With Paper, and Playing With Pop-Ups. Helen has an extensive network of paper colleagues around the world and her interest in how things are made (from paper) keeps her up-to-date on current paper trends, which she writes about in her weekly blog called The Sunday Paper. Helen’s most recent installation, The Wish, is a giant dandelion sculpture at Anythink Huron Street Library in Denver.


Helen Hiebert – Tangential