This is a story about my hobby of tea bag folding. It involves much collecting and this is why I think of it as a primal activity. Primal activity is a whole other discussion, and this hobby does not involve screaming. It involves collecting and creating.
How did I get Here, Sherry Venegas aka Paperfacets? Here being in blissful retirement. My working career was a long 39 1/2 years and I am thankful I have good health to enjoy these later years.
The journey to retirement is not what I will tell you about today. I am going to tell you the many paths my hobby has taken me. My hobby is paper folding or the tea bag folding craft. The story starts in 2002, when my daughter and I went to a scrapbooking convention.
Collecting As A Kid
I started scrapbooking the new family picture way in the nineties. I have some scrapbooks from my childhood, even a Beatles scrapbook, which I have shared on HubPages. Those scrapbooks have been tucked away with my high school diaries, long forgotten.
When I discovered the “new” scrapbooking ideas which showcase family photos I took to it right away. The convention we went to was shopping heaven and in one booth I saw a book and some samples of a paper folding technique I had not seen before. It was called tea bag folding or one book called it kaleidoscope folding, that book was in Dutch or German.
I bought the book written in English. That night I folded my first paper projects. It was easier to do than origami. In the next few months I experimented with more folds and patterns. Made a few cards for family and friends and a new hobby had been started.
Always Looking for Something New in Paper Folding
Later in the year the office group I worked with decided to have a lunch time craft boutique. I made my first cards for public viewing. I sold a couple.
I explored the Internet discovering many websites about the craft. New patterns opened up for me. More books to buy and I found a Saturday morning handmade only crafts fair in a city nearby.
This is where I became interested in the know how of the crafts trade. Now there was a seller’s license and state taxes to collect and a very loyal store owner started buying my 5X7 greetings wholesale. I also met two directors from the Homestead Museum in the City of Industry.
I did not have a big revelation and push to get a goal done, but as I kept folding squares of paper, other aspects of paper folding and small business, would naturally fall into my realm of activity. I had all the duties of a mini business, sales at work, Roy Robbins, the store owner, and twice a year a festival at the Homestead Museum. The school bazaar, consignment stores, City Chamber of Commerce faires; I had to try them all. I wanted to do the most I could.
The ideas started flowing. Gift tags, bookmarks, gift bags, tree ornaments and a new smaller note card. I decorated boxes and wall garlands and then shrank every fold very small to make ACEO cards for eBay collectors. During my break at work I would walk and think of ways I could display more paper rosettes and medallions, always looking at a new angle.
I was having the most fun with this hobby. I was selling enough to have money for more paper buying. So in turn I could go shopping for an honest to goodness reason. 99 cent stores, stationary stores, paper by the bulk stores, artist stores, scrapbooking stores and every sale corner and table in every establishment could be a place to buy what I needed for paper folding, gone into business mode.
Every time I had more paper I went into a folding spree. I just needed to see what would become of the newest print and paper design.
Rosette made from magazine pages.
I Started My Hobby 14 years Ago
During part of this time I was working the four to midnight shift at the phone company. My duties were software telephone and circuit repairs done via telephone calls and remote computer. The headset is a very good tool. The nature of the job involved time spent waiting for other techs on the line.
Even though my mind was on the repair task on the line, my hands were free to fold paper. The paper secretly tucked into the keyboard slider under the desk. The keyboard was on top of the desk so when the supervisor came by the slider disappeared under the desk. It was a sort of gentleman’s agreement, I guess. If I did not flaunt my little slide bar activity, it was okay.
I love doing two things at a time. I fold on long car trips or in hotels rooms on vacation. When camping I fold when others are fishing. I always fold when watching TV. I fold during doctor visit waits and summertime is a project bonanza because everyday I watch the Dodgers. The instant replay allows me to see every play when a glance down misses a big catch or hit.
Many of my co-workers supported my hobby by buying and encouraging. Especially, Chris and Mary. Mary even hooked me up with the owner of Fiona’s in Glendale a long time gift store establishment with a loyal following.
Last month working at the phone company. The evening shift. My web page about this location is called At the Steps of Route 66 in Pasadena, California I just turned 60 years old.
The Journey Continued
In November 2005 I started my first webshop. The LA Times ran an article about Etsy. This was a very exciting event for me. Signing up to be a seller was easy and the storefront was so attractive with the Etsy software. I spent several days thinking up my name Paperfacets. Each item was 10 cents to list. Now the new path I was taking opened up the world wide web to me.
From that point on I was glued to the computer. Two years later at the end of 2007 I discovered Squidoo through an artist’s forum on eBay. By the time I retired from the phone company in 2008 I was involved with so many absorbing activities I knew I would be busy at home doing what I liked to do. No time to be bored or wishing I had something to do. The days are not long enough. The house was not anymore organized or clean but I did not care.
Now I write, know some HTML and thoroughly enjoy the Internet along with paper folding. It goes hand in hand. Squidoo is now taking up much of my time. Why? I want to see how I can make it work for my paper hobby and for my pocketbook. After all, everyone’s comfort is directly related to moneys earned.
Gardening, a little cooking, family, pet dogs, photography, a little exercise, camping and my Mom round out my retirement days.
I tell everyone I have been tea bag folding for 14 years. I will not be giving it up for awhile. Too many fun avenues I go down with this hobby entwined, to set it aside. My days and thoughts are filled with excitement and adventure that makes my next 20 years seem like a whole new realm for things new and challenging.
Tomorrow February 6, 2010 I will be giving my first class. Sixteen people signed up for a workshop about tea bag folding. It is being held at the Homestead Museum. This will be the first time I will present myself in front of more than two people and talk for more than two minutes.
The People I Have Met
I have met scores of people on my tea bag folding journey. Some on the Internet only. Some on the telephone only. Many on Farmer’s Market day only. So many connections with artists, interested parties and Paperfacet fans.
I have a friend, Ruth Brown, of eight years that was so intrigued with my display table that she wanted to learn tea bag folding too. She is about the same age as my mother and is just as crazy for paper folding as I am. She has her own card making group that produces cards to benefit the Pilgrim’s Place Health Care Fund. Her group is called Paper Capers. We have spent time together sharing our paper folds and being enthused with our latest ideas.
Thank you to all my biggest fans, Roy Robbins, Mary Johnson, Fiona, Mom, Carol and Linda Callaway. Chris and Lenny from the phone company. All the words of encouragement from my new found friends at my art venues, thank you so much.
This Journey to be continued….
In the next months I will not know where my paper folding hobby will take me. Some paths will be the same but I will be open to any new challenges to
keep the hobby new and adventurous.