Fine Print: Irving Harper Works in Paper

Irving Harper: Works in Paper (Skira Rizzoli, $45) is a monograph that showcases the designer’s never exhibited fantastical paper sculptures. Harper, who is 95-years-old, worked in George Nelson’s studio for 17 years in the 1950s and 1960s. It was he who designed the Marshmallow sofa and the Ball clock, as well as the Herman Miller logo. He began constructing his uniquties in his Westchester County home back in 1963, “to relieve stress.” He stopped about 10 years ago, because he ran out of space to display them; ore than three hundred works fill his house and barn.


The pieces, which include people, animals, and abstracts, are made “mostly out of paperboard, but also balsa wood, beads, straws, toothpicks, pinecones, telephone wire, twigs, dolls’ limbs and glass eyeballs, Mylar sheets, Styrofoam lumps, and pieces of the ceramic clocks.

Irving Haper paper sculpture

 Construction paper, ping pong balls, on wood base

Irving Haper paper sculpture

Painted construction paper, found wooden spindles, on wood base


Construction paper

Irving Haper paper sculpture

Painted corrugated cardboard, painted ping pong balls, twigs

Irving Haper paper sculpture


Construction paper, mat board, hat pins, glass doll eyes

Irving Harper paper sculpture figures

Paperboard, toothpicks, clock parts, pearls, plastic eyes


Author: StyleCarrot

Marni Elyse Katz is a design writer and editor who lives in Boston and Cape Cod with her husband, two sons, and a cat. She blogs about design at

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