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Amy Gibson used about 230 tubes of rolled-up magazine pages to create this Oklahoma wall art, which comes in small, medium (shown), and large sizes. She will make any state or country shape by custom order.
Paper is a fragile thing—easily torn, quick to burn, and, if not protected, ephemeral. But even in the digital age, it is a material that still holds a certain tactile power. As a magazine staff committed to creating a beautiful print product, we at Oklahoma Today have a deep respect for finely pressed wood pulp, as do these six Oklahomans—sculptors, painters, and a bookbinder—who are creating unexpected gifts just in time for the holidays.
By Karlie Tipton
Photography by John Jernigan
Published November/December 2015
On A Roll
Using old magazines, Amy Gibson creates eco- and eye-friendly décor.
A fine dusting of paper confetti covers nearly every surface in Amy Gibson’s home office, the chemical bouquet of glues an unobtrusive but noticeable presence.
“It’s a little messy, but that’s how I like it,” Gibson says.
While working in a Seattle architecture firm, Gibson’s life was all geometry and utility. In 2008, she and her best friend, Andrea Read, wanted to exercise their creativity with unconventional materials.
“The whole thing really started with magazines,” says Gibson.
Using the name Color Story Designs, Gibson and Read began cutting magazines into thousands of quarter-inch strips and organic shapes. They transformed the strips into décor items. In one item, they layered pieces behind a white silhouette of a lighthouse inside a glass shadowbox. In another, they rolled and glued the paper to form rows of tiny tubes encircling a mirror. In yet another, they affixed the pieces between a glass gem and a magnetic backing so the color of the paper showed through the front.
Gibson attended high school in Tulsa, and when she moved back last year, she brought the business with her. Her inventory now includes picture frames, vases, chalkboards, clocks, and more—all decorated with recycled magazine paper.
“People want to know where their products come from,” she says. “Each magazine I use is upcycled.”
In addition to being eco-friendly, Gibson’s material guarantees each item is one of a kind.
“I’ll never have the same pages or arrange the paper in the same order,” she says. “And since magazines have a different thickness, each piece will have a slightly different texture.”
Clean lines, a bit of chaos, and a flash of color: Gibson shares them with customers one rolled-up page at a time.
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Prices for items from Amy Gibson’s Color Story Designs range from $5 for a small magnet set to $800 for a large mirror. etsy.com/shop/colorstorydesigns.