Intensio by Helen Hiebert

Tension is a pulling force in physics. The strings within these pages cannot be pushed to form a definitive shape: when a page is closed, the thread – without tension – goes slack, lying in chaos between the folds. As you turn the page, extending it to 180 degrees, the single thread pulls taut, and the invisible property of tension creates beauty and order.

Each of the string drawings is composed with of a single piece of linen thread – one continuous line, ranging from six to sixteen feet in length – with one exception: two threads were used to create two parabolas in drawing 7.  

I constructed each drawing on a flat sheet of paper, punched a pierced pattern, and then stitched in and out of the holes across the scored centerfold – the axis of the page. Two surprisingly different drawings were created in tandem as the needle and thread moved from the front to the back of each page, and there is a sequence to the stitching that is not readily visible.

My father was a physicist who studied how the universe began, and my mother has degrees in psychotherapy and divinity. My thoughts linger between them as I find myself comparing the tangible puzzles I explore in my work to the invisible physical properties my father researched and the emotional tensions my mother explored.

Artist Bio

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 online, and is the author of the several how-to books about papermaking and papercrafts. 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. She interviews papermakers and paper artists on her podcast Paper Talk, and she holds an annual paper retreat and papermaking master classes in her Red Cliff studio.