Konjac or Konnyaku and Paper January 12 2023

Konjac or Konnyaku -spelled both ways in English and pronounced like the the liquor and place "Cognac", is otherwise known as devil's tongue root. This root is ground into a powder and made into a paste. It is more often made into gelatin in the shape of noodles, retangles, or spheres and used often in the Japanese diet. It's high in fiber and very a healthy starch. Konjac in jelly form is sometimes added to health drinks.

The konjac powder stirred into almost a clear paste has been used for centuries to coat paper especially in making kamiko or paper cloth, like that shown in the photos of the paper cushion and totebag.
konjac treated handmade paper cushion konjac treated handmade paper cushion
Once dry, the treated paper called kyosei-shi or "strengthened" paper, becomes more wind and water-resistant, improving heat retention while remaining breathable and durable. The paper becomes functional for even outdoor use, such as: rain capes and hats, paper show covers, paper buckets, pouches and more. After konjac paste application, the paper appears more textured and feels more leather-like, and will hold its strength, and durability. Kyosei-shi is great for book covers, sewing, stitching, dyeing, and any work requiring strength and more flexibility.
handmade paper tote bag konjac treated, handmade paper totebag
We have paper cushions (not online quite yet) and tote bags available for purchase. If you are interested in purchasing these konjac treated finished products, please email us at contactus@paperconnection.com for more information. Click here--> konjac powder if you are interested in making your own paste. We were inspired to write about konjac after attending a delightful and informative presentation and workshop at RISD (Rhode Island School of Design)'s printmaking department last month by artist and papermaker Nicholas Cladis from The University of Iowa Center for the Book, where participants experienced the medium.