The Paper Period (Japanese: kami kikan) is a term used to define the works produced by Canadian artist Brenda Petays between 2008 and 2015 when she essentially abused books by unbinding and re-binding the pages. These “literary works” are now some of her most popular works, although she had difficulty selling them at the time.


encyclopedia and wheat paste, art history textbook and packing tape, found photo and packing tape with wooden stool, 2015

Artist Residency August 2015 Onishi

At Shiro Oni Residency I continued working with paper as it was so much on my mind…and when I first saw the window in my studio I knew I wanted to activate the space from both inside the studio and the street — using paper, light and air. The inside/outside concept was important to me – I feel close to Japanese culture and sensibility but I know I am an outsider and that many Japanese concepts are hidden to me.
Summer Window: old book paper, string, nori glue, sun, air



outside (with motion graphics by Kurumi Shiowaki and sound by Momoko Negishi)



There is a fantastic antique shop in Onishi where I found many books to use as raw material and for imagery.

I found an old paperback book from the 1950’s filled with advice for young mothers…so I imagined for myself a Japanese mother: the photo on the cover of the book.

My Imaginary Japanese Mother:


…and I imagined stories and teachings she would have told me….


materials; old book paper, found images, pet bottles, water, beads, adult magazines


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Bound and Unbound


Plant Spirit: washi paper, insects and nori glue


Sumi Book: sumi ink, old book pages


Bound and Unbound: old book pages, clothes pins, Onishi forest


Bound and Unbound: old book pages, metal pins, Onishi forest


Bound and Unbound: old book pages, thread, wooden skewers


Bound and Unbound: old book pages, thread, clothes pins


Bound and Unbound: old book pages, masks, string

 Stop Looking at me, I’m not your friend pulp novel, sharpie marker, tape, mirror, Open Actions Performance Collective, Jan 19, 2014, Lynda Ranio Dance Studio, Victoria BC



“When energy is passed from one person to another, it’s shifting and interphasic and constant, but it will always just be energy, made up of all of our emotional pulp, and will necessarily have some effect or affect, because it has to. It has to! It’s not anyone’s fault, but it’s still a scam we all pull on one another, endlessly.” Kate Carraway

Chapter 1

“The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel”. Neuromancer, William Gibson.

“I knew that it (Neuromancer) was to be published, if I could finish it and if the editor accepted the manuscript, both of which seemed constantly unlikely, as a paperback original-that most ephemeral of literary units, a pocket-sized slab of prose meant to fit a standard wire rack, printed on high-acid paper and visibly yearning to return to the crude pulp which it had been pressed.” Introduction to the 20th anniversary edition of Neuromancer, William Gibson.

Your Words My Mouth, Teeth, encoded text, pulp secretions, chemical tongue, cut lips. Masticated Neuormancer paperback. Open Actions Performance Collective. Public Library Main Branch, Victoria BC. November 20, 2010, 1 hour duration.

Chalk ‘n Talk

Art Installation December 20, 2010 The Loft, Art Annex, Victoria BC.

The ideas for Chalk ‘n Talk are from my knowledge and history of art as an artist and as an art teacher.

The  materials, objects and physical acts of  shredding paper, nailing lath, spray painting ponies and stencilling chalk allowed me to collect and disperse thoughts into new formations of artist/teacher identity. Essential to being an effective teacher is having an active practice – it is through continued development of my work that I am able to offer my students a rich environment to encourage exploration and support them as they build their own creative communities.

materials: chalk, stencils, ink, spray paint, my little ponies, string, tampons, books, wallpaper, dresses, shredded paper (5 years of notes, assignments, memos), new and used lath, nails, skateboard and intercom system.