Monday, March 1, 2021

The Art of Paper (Toque de Queda)

One of the goals of the WATRD site is to help people learn healthy ways to manage stress (especially through the arts).  I learned of Aydasara Ortega’s paper-making and had to interview her for the site.  I hope it helps you find a little peace through the holiday craze!  Robyn Hussa, Author/Editor, WATRD

photo courtesy of Aydasara Ortega

1. Aydasara, what is your background (educational and professional) and related work experience.

I have taught extensively and enjoy revealing the secrets for papermaking along with the construction of handmade books. I had the wonderful opportunity to showcase my own work and give workshops on handmade paper, which I call “Toque de Queda”, in different areas and through different organizations in Puerto Rico, California and New York.

2. How did you become interested in this line of work / paper making / book making?

My interest in paper and bookmaking stems from a longtime endeavor to personalize my own artwork through distinctive textures and forms. Over the years, I experimented with a wide variety of materials in a quest for paper and bookmaking techniques that would give me an enriching experience.

3. Is it therapeutic for you to make paper / create books? Why / How so?

There is something special about a handmade object, a paper, a book … One gets a sense of a person having created the object rather than a machine and one values that connection with every technological advance that arises. If this experience is therapeutic for the spectator imagine how magical it is for the maker.

4. Do you find working with paper and books a healthy way to manage stress? If so, how?

If managing stress becomes possible through finding a way to maintain equilibrium, then yes, definitely. There is somehow balance, fairness, symmetry … imbedded by the papermaker on his or her handmade paper and construed also by the spectator. Between both, papermaker and spectator, a handmade paper gives an opportunity for communication, a give and take, ergo, equilibrium which could result in less stress.

5. What do you hope will be the result of the work you do?

I will keep making and showing my artwork as well as sending my proposal for a “Toque de Queda” to everyone, anywhere possible; that’s the idea behind the name “Toque de Queda.” You never know who is motivated to maneuver.

6. Where can people get in touch to learn more about papermaking and bookmaking?

My art celebrates the symbolism and the inherent beauty of paper. The lives and tales of various cultures have been carried in paper through history. I believe it is possible for objects to carry an energy which may be read by an open mind. Using mainly recycled materials, I work with mindful focus, aiming to imbue each paper with its own “spirit”. I send my papers to their destinies hoping they will inspire those “they touch” to share through it their own personal journey residing within.

Paper as an object is symbolically a very rich and independent format. Its history and cultural significance provide endless scope for artistic discoveries and interpretation, not only being a container for stories but being a story in itself, its whole life and existence in time being interpreted from its tactile details and structural function. I concern myself with the complete process for making paper where all the details work together to form a consistent whole, everything ties together. I hope to create a certain resonance in those who see my work, to stir a sense of recollection of what we all share in our collective subconscious.

Toque de Queda
El papel del papel
Un libro en las manos


2 Responses to “The Art of Paper (Toque de Queda)”
  1. I love how this article focuses on using a craft to help you focus your life and your talents. It’s very much what we focus on during the FInding Artemisia retreats. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thank you for your comment, Denise. For more information regarding “Toque de Queda”, please visit our facebook page:

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