I purchased some old piano player paper a few months ago, seeing the potential to use some in in my fibre art. I didn't know just how I would use it, but the opportunity was there and the price was right. I was certain an idea would materialize at some point. I'm not sure how old the roll I bought is, although a copyright date of 1919 was given for the music itself, a waltz - Hand in Hand Again - and there were another 20 or 25 rolls available to buy.

Then in July when I was out with my outdoor sketch & painting group, I happened across a fallen birch tree with some marvelous patterns in the bark. I took photos, knowing I could make a picture in fibre art from this.

The piano player paper then came to mind, with its perforations that look similar to the horizontal line marks in birch bark.

I did a bit of experimenting to add colour to the paper, settling on bleeding tissue paper to add shades of reds and charcoals (it's a specially made tissue that bleeds its colour when wet). The white tissue didn't work as well, so instead I added torns bits of gampi paper, a very fibrous, whitish, translucent Japanese paper. I then mounted the piano player onto heavy brown paper bag to add some stability as the paper is fragile. Plus the brown of the paper bag can be seen through the perforations, just like the darker lines on the bark.

The next step was to add lots of stitching, following all the various marks in the bark. And then it was done. And I'm very happy with what seemed like an effortless piece of fibre art.

During the process a friend mentioned that it also had the makings of a map. She's right, and so I decided I would use the piano player paper once again but make a map this time.

😒 😣
The piece is coming along, but the effect of the holes in the paper has been lost. Perhaps I chose the wrong map, perhaps it's an aerial view, even if fictitious, that I need. I think where I went wrong was not to do more testing and experimenting, like I had done with the earlier one, along with my choice of paint rather than bleeding tissue. I was over confident this piece too would be as easy as falling off a log. I may finish it, but I think it's time to start, or experiment on, to make a new one.


I can't imagine making a piece of art, then destroying it. I have deconstructed a few pieces on occasion, salvaging most, if not all, th...