Zhen Xian Bao and Beyond (Wednesdays)

A photo of two Zhen Xian Bao books with decorative papers. One is open to display the interior, while the other is laying flat and closed.
Zhen Xian Bao & Beyond
Paula Krieg
Image courtesy of the artist.
portrait of Susan Joy Share, holding a pencil and a metal triangle.

Event Info

This virtual workshop will take place across 12 sessions via Zoom on Wednesdays from February 16–May 4 from 1–3pm ET.

  • Wed, Feb 16, 1-3pm ET
  • Wed, Feb 23, 1-3pm ET
  • Wed, Mar 2, 1-3pm ET
  • Wed, Mar 9, 1-3pm ET
  • Wed, Mar 16, 1-3pm ET
  • Wed, Mar 23, 1-3pm ET
  • Wed, Mar 30, 1-3pm ET
  • Wed, Apr 6, 1-3pm ET
  • Wed, Apr 13, 1-3pm ET
  • Wed, Apr 20, 1-3pm ET
  • Wed, Apr 27, 1-3pm ET
  • Wed, May 4, 1-3pm ET

About the Workshop

In this twelve-week virtual workshop for all experience levels, Instructors Paula Krieg and Susan Joy Share will introduce participants to Zhen Xian Bao—a traditional Chinese folk art comprised of layer upon layer of expandable paper boxes housed in a simple folder.

These origami-folded objects originated in the 1800s and historically were used to store sewing supplies and treasured items. Zhen Xian Bao forms vary and reflect the personal expression of those who create them. The components of Zhen Xian Bao—multilayered gatherings of collapsible compartments—can be arranged in many ways: assembled in a common book or used as solo elements or used as parts of other structures.

Over the course of the workshop, students will learn to create delightful variations of Zhen Xian Bao. Each variation will feature a specific element so participants can master one skill at a time—allowing them to create evocative and expressive works!

Krieg and Share will demonstrate historical paper constructions, helping participants to become fluent with folding, scaling, assembling, decorating, and creating covers and closures. Krieg and Share will also discuss how the art form can mesh with contemporary art concepts.

As participants accumulate skills and create wondrous art pieces Krieg and Share will share resources and ideas as well as engage in critique with the group. The Instructors will also meet individually with students during a midterm check-in.

If you would like to learn more about Zhen Xian Bao, please view this video description of the course and PDF article.


Required Materials

  • It is highly recommended that participants purchase the instructors’ pre-packaged materials kit that includes decorative papers directly related to the projects in this workshop ($58). Link here.
  • Cutting tools – scissors, craft knife, or X-acto knife with spare blades
  • Adhesives – gluestick, PVA glue, or double-sided tape (optional)
  • Cutting mat
  • Bone folder
  • Pencil & eraser
  • Metal-edged ruler
  • Wax paper
  • Needle & linen thread
  • Misc. papers from your collection
  • Scrap paper for gluing
  • Stack of 24lb copy paper for making paper models
  • Access to B&W printer

About the Paula Krieg

Paula Krieg (she/her) has been a paper enthusiast for as long as she can remember, taking particular delight in 3D paper transformations.

For thirty years she collaborated with teachers to design projects for the classroom, pioneering methods of accessible ways to teach book arts.

Since 2009 she has been writing about playful bookbinding and paper works on her Bookzoompa blog.

Krieg regularly shows work in Bridges Math/Art exhibitions.

She has taught workshops at the Center for Book Arts, Museum of Mathematics, Cooper Hewitt Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Dieu Donne.

She has presented at various conferences, including MOVES 2019: Math Unfolded: The Mathematical Art of Origami.

Her work has been featured in Jean-Charles Trebbi’s L’art du Livre Origami, Helen Hiebert’s book, Paper Illuminated, Lark Books’s Making Books and Journals, and Diane Mauer-Mathison’s The Art and Craft of Handmade Cards.

Krieg coauthored Scholastic’s 25 Totally Terrific Social Studies Activities alongside Jean Mumper and Kathy Pike.


About Susan Joy Share

Susan Joy Share’s artwork combines sculpture, painting, bookbinding, sewing, and collage. Her abstract architectural forms, figures, and pop-ups are colorful and kinetic.

Her work is in collections at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, The Brooklyn Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Jaffe Center, and Anchorage Museum.

Share worked in book conservation at The Brooklyn Museum of Art, and has taught at the Center for Book Arts, NYC; Penland School of Crafts, NC; Anderson Ranch Arts Center, CO; and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, ME.

She currently lives in Anchorage, Alaska.


Images courtesy the Instructors.

Class size is limited to ensure an optimal student-to-teacher ratio. Register now before the remaining spots fill up!

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