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Artist of the Month: Bill Lorton August 06 2015

How is your summer going? Ours is busy, although we have been able to enjoy the fruits of our labor along with a Sunday stroll along the shore, (we are privileged living on the East Coast, despite the winters). It may be hot, but summer brings its own inspiration: seasonal fruits, sunsets, and back at the warehouse, batches of freshly made paper. As we count the paper we enjoy the varying colors and textures, like a fun fish pattern, a luscious lokta in parrot green, and a cooling slate blue hanji. Speaking of TEXTURE, we'd like to introduce our Artist of the Month for August; Bill Lorton, who does wonderful work with the art of joomchi, incorporating hanji to create these intriguing combinations of color and texture. PCI: What kind of artwork do you do? BL: I consider all of the work I make to be fiber through and through. My BFA is in Fiber and my MFA in Textiles, so regardless of what process or concept is at play it (nearly) always boils down to an investigation of materiality. Weaving has always been a large component of my studio practice, and over the past 6 years, joomchi (Korean paper fusing) has gained an equally prominent role. The weavings are part of larger compositions that form impotent machines, while the joomchi work is concerned with decay and mending. The woven work and the Joomchi haven’t crossed paths conceptually, and I’m okay with that...although it can get a little difficult having to switch thought processes so frequently. PCI: What or who has influenced/inspired you? BL: The general environment I grew up in has had a profound and lasting impact on the work I make, as well as the way I work. My first eighteen years were spent in a very rural part of Illinois. I was close to nature daily, and I think that has largely dictated my material sensibilities. Domestic crafts were a ceaseless presence as well, so I couldn’t help but learn to make things in those terms...which absolutely determined my decision to pursue a career as a Fiber/Textile artist.
A close up of a piece by Bill Lorton A close up of a piece by Bill Lorton
PCI: What attracts you to working with paper? BL: Initially, I simply needed paper to make joomchi. Since then I’ve developed a more acute interest in the enormous variety of material characteristics that are available. Also, it’s a bit alchemical...forming a sheet of paper is like magic to me, even though I completely understand the science behind it. PCI: What do you like best about working with paper? Have you ever made paper? Hands down, the transformative potential of paper is the best thing about it. It can become nearly anything. I’ve made paper a few times, although I consider myself far from competent. I had the great pleasure of making paper at The Morgan with both Aimee Lee and Velma Bolyard. It was tons of fun, and I can’t wait to do it again.
Another close up by Bill Lorton Another close up by Bill Lorton
PCI: How did you hear about Paper Connection? BL: I heard about Paper Connection International from Aimee Lee. I was so happy to finally have a source for hanji! PCI: And we are so happy about that-thanks Aimee! Did you have much knowledge about Japanese or other Asian papers before using our papers? BL: I really didn’t know much about paper types. PCI: In what ways did Paper Connection help guide and educate you about Japanese, Korean, and other Asian papers? BL: I had to place a large order to cover my 2014 Joomchi workshops. To fill my quantity needs (and keep my costs down) Paper Connection set me up with several “close-outs”. Just the variety of hand-made Japanese unryu papers was stunning, I feel like I gained a better understanding of what constitutes a “good” paper. PCI: What papers do you use of ours and for what process? BL: The hanji is my favorite...I could roll around in that stuff all day. The hand-made Japanese unryu papers are fantastic too. I use them both for joomchi. PCI: That would be fun. What did you like about those papers that aided in your creative and/or technical process?
It is all about the details with Bill Lorton. Look closely! It is all about the details with Bill Lorton. Look closely!
BL: Having a variety of papers on hand is essential for the joomchi work I make. Each paper behaves a little differently, so it’s good to be able to adjust according to my conceptual needs. PCI: What are some of the differences between our papers and others you have worked with? BL: Paper Connection’s hanji doesn’t deteriorate as quickly as others I’ve used for joomchi. That’s a good thing when I’m looking for a particular surface finish. PCI: Fill in the blank, if you had to recommend a Paper Connection paper for a particular application...? BL: Any of the heavier hand-made unryu papers should be tried in a joomchi application. The difference between these and the tissue-weight stuff one might pick up at the local art supply store is dramatic. Paper Connection’s heavier unryu stock makes for a beefier, denser piece...and it can handle much more abuse. PCI: And rolling around! Thank you so much, Bill. We really appreciate your time! For more on Mr. Lorton, please visit his blog: Bill Lorton Blogspot We received this beautiful joomchi sample made by Bill; sent via the Morgan. We love it! Thank you!
A gift of joomchi A gift of joomchi

Hanji Meets the World January 10 2015

Without a doubt Koreans are passionate about their kimchi and have successfully shown the rest of the world what they're boasting about. After attending a hanji-Korean paper- symposium entitled " A Thousand Years Old Hanji, Meets the World" , I have no doubt hanji too will soon be rolling off everyone's tongue! Korean kimchihanji symposium, ksdf, Korean Craft and Design Foundation Hanji is one of the finest papers in the world and certainly has many die-hard fans. It is, however, still less known in the global market compared to other Asian papers, i.e. Japanese (washi), Thai, or even Indian cotton papers. SO WHAT ARE SOME OF THE UNIQUE QUALITIES OF TRADITIONAL HANJI? webal -style sheet formation, no top locking screen, side to side dip, each sheet is double-couched in 2 opposite vertical directions, log rolled over couched sheet to elimate air bubbles and possibly helping release pulp from bamboo screen, and dochim: burnishing or hammering process which flattens, increases the density of paper. SAMSUNG CSC20141217_15213120141217_152128 Most of the attendees from foreign countries were book and paper conservators from places like the Tate Gallery in London, the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, and several other world-renowned institutions. In fact, the focus of the conference was the case for hanji to be used in repair and conservation. Once the special features of traditionally-made hanji were established over a few days, the conservators could better speculate in what particular repair applications hanji would be the right fit. The visit to observe actual papermaking, was one step towards understanding the material at hand and how it may behave with other materials. It was a rare occasion for conservators and papermakers to be sharing each others' daily jobs, but quite key for mutual of understanding between users and makers. For me, this emphasized the need for paper vendors like Paper Connection, as we are really "interpreters" of so many hundreds of paper needs and applications. At Paper Connection we feel it is our role to chronically disseminate and convey information into a paper vocabulary which the maker or manufacturer can relate to. Thanks to the prestigous members of the group, we had the privilege of being invited to a special viewing of the archives of Chonbuk National University, (one of the largest collection of antiquities in Korea); what incredible facilities. Two of my favorite book authors were part of my group: Ms. Aimee Lee and Mr. Nick Basbanes. IMG_5696 As you can imagine, the uses for hanji are endless, also true for almost any other well-made paper. Of course, Paper Connection is honored to carry hanji, both in an array of wonderful colors and neutral tones. Our hanji line is becoming quite popular, and now available here. In 2015, we will be stocking a thicker (96 gsm) hanji for printmaking or for backing, and a new thinner paper for basket cording. Check back here often! We were very lucky guests of the mayor of Jeonju, 20141218_115712where we were treated to feasts and traditional pansori music performance. Jeonju is considered the home of hanji and famous for the old-style architecture maintained in Hanok Village, IMG_9274of course, bibimbap, (rice bowl with meat), and the best pansori singer in the land.SAMSUNG CSC Many thanks again to The Korea Culture & Design Foundation for inviting me to the symposium. It was a great opportunity for me to learn more about hanji and its culture, its applications in conservation, and Korea, of course. A very special thanks to Ms. Bo Kyung Kim of Fides International and hanji artist Ms. Aimee Lee. SAMSUNG CSC Photographs provided by Paperwoman and KCDF.

Hanji In The House! April 11 2013

Hanji! Hanji!
You knew we now stock hanji at Paper Connection; right? For all those who can't wait to try this handmade, mulberry paper from Korea, we are happy to provide hanji in a vast array of colors. We have been inspired and influenced by world renowned hanji artists, such as Ms. Jiyoung Chung , author of the book, Joomchi & Beyond, experts and Ms. Aimee Lee, author of Hanji Unfurled. Their passion and expertise has truly educated us in explaining the benefits of this paper to our eager customers. Strong, handmade hanji can be wonderfully woven, tugged, and transformed into amazing sculptural pieces, from clothing to bowls, to fibrous, organic installations that take a life of their own. Ms. Aimee Lee teaches hanji sheet formation, and other hanji paper arts. In fact, she is on her way back to Providence, RI to teach a workshop through Brown University's Watts Program/JCB Library: Charles H. Watts II History and Culture of the Book Program, this Saturday, April 13th, however, the workshop filled up immediately, there is a waiting list though; for your reference check out this link . In conjunction with the April 13, 2013 workshop provided by Ms. Aimee Lee, Paper Connection International's warehouse/showroom will be open from 10am-2pm on Saturday, April 13. Since we are not open to the public, this is a great opportunity to obtain conservation-quality, 100% mulberry papers from Korea, or "hanji". Paper Connection is located at 166 Doyle Ave., 2nd Floor, Providence, RI (diagonally across from the East Side YMCA). Parking available on left side of parking lot in front of building. Call 401.454.1436 for more information.

1 Blog, 3 Novembers January 04 2013

2012 over!?! That was amazingly quick. I guess I do spend much of my time on the road and it is clear traveling or rather “not being home” speeds up time! To switch things up in my dual-life pattern, I spent the fall of 2012 in the East Coast of the US for a change. First DC, then Cleveland (noted in the previous blog. Early November started with a bang, with one the best Paper Connection Annual Holiday Warehouse sales ever! Then, more excitement by mid-November, as my staff and I organized a 4-day visit from a Paper Rock Star guest-Ms. Aimee Lee in Providence, RI. We had an awesome turn out for Ms. Lee’s hanji talk, demo and new book signing: Hanji Unfurled. After Ms. Lee’s successful visit to Rhode Island, I got to enjoy a “real” Thanksgiving with relatives, turkey and pies; it had been many years! Surely a day to recognize all that we have and all that we have in abundance. November, 2012 was certainly packed full with a cornucopia of accomplishments; I am very thankful, no matter what month it is.
Gloucester, RI Nov. 22.2012 Gloucester, RI Nov. 22.2012
Pies Nov. 22, 2012 Pies Nov. 22, 2012
By December, 2012, my suitcase was re-packed, and currently I am back on the other side of the globe. Since I’ll be on the road again shortly; heading to Seoul next week, I thought I would turn to TWO past abundant Novembers. Reflecting back as time springs forward. November, 2011: Journeyed north to Tokohu- the Northeast of Japan: For several reasons, this voyage to Tohoku was quite meaningful, especially post the March 11, 2011 disasters. The main goal was to check on my very good friend, who had moved back to the Tohoku area on March 1, 2011, I hadn’t seen her family since 1986. My friend warned me that all the coastal places we visited in 1986 “ARE GONE”, she wrote days after the tsunami hit. Another reason for going to Tohoku was to get a sense of the general post 3.11 feeling of the Tohoku survivors, where so many mingei-folk arts are/were born. The bonus of this trip was visiting with Mr. Koichi Odanaka at his studio. It was my privilege to meet Mr. Keisuke Serizawa’s last apprentice. I thoroughly enjoyed the back stories Mr. Odanaka told of his life with Mr. and Mrs. Serizawa in Tokyo. So it was a gratifying trip- educational and moving at the same time.Odanakas Work Odanaka’s work is truly irresistible. Although, it’s not something I stock at this point, I would like to support as many artists as possible in the Tohoku region of Japan. Let me know if you’re interested in any of his work; I’ll see what I can do! Here are a few of his stenciled items I purchased: calendar and textiles. November, 2010: Traveled, by plane, to Toyama-ken for the first time ever.
Fuji from the plane. Fuji from the plane.
Old Town of Yatsuo Old Town of Yatsuo
For centuries Toyama was known as the main pharmaceutical producing area of Japan. Back before plastic bottles with cotton stuffing, all medicines were wrapped with washi. The area was previously known as “Etchu” so the paper from the area is called "Etchu Washi".
washi bags& wrappers for medicines washi bags & wrappers for medicines
Of course, the need for washi dropped off with the invention of new packaging, but a young Mr. Yoshida, moved back to his hometown of Yatsuo, giving up a city life and a city job to start a washi-making mill in the small, well-preserved town of Yatsuo, not too far from Toyama City. Mr. Yoshida knew he had to make paper for new uses, so he decided to make kozo paper for artwork. Mr. Yoshida befriended the katazome master himself, Mr. Keisuke Serizawa, while he was working up at Ogawamachi in Saitama, making his own paper for his stencil work. Mr. Yoshida convinced Mr. Serizawa to try some Yatsuo paper (Etchu Washi) for his stencil work. From that point forward, Mr. Serizawa used the kozo paper made at Mr. Yoshida’s newly fashioned mill. FormingBlackKozosheetsIt was a start of what would become a long business relationship and friendship. Both the Yoshidas and the Serizawa’s had a deep connection with mingei and both had the passion to carry the tradition of washi and katazome into the future. Currently, the next generation of the Yoshida family run a paper shop, mill and incredible folk art museum, which houses the collection of the Yoshida parents. Thanks to the friendship between the Yoshida family and the Serizawa family, this Yatsuo operation called Keijyusha continues to produce decorated katazome papers, stationery items and collectible calendars employing Serizawa’s original stencils.Lookforthesign
kakishibu paper "rug" kakishibu paper "rug" in Museum.

There are still a few 2013 Serizawa desk calendars for sale at Paper Connection and many beautiful items in stock and for sale from this precious operation in Yatsuo. Please call us or email us for more information.SerizawaProducts

Serizawa Calendars and Serizawa stencil biz card holders. etc. Serizawa Calendars and Serizawa stencil biz card holders. etc.

Paper Rock Stars November 09 2012

Have you ever considered yourself a superstar? A paper star, at least? I had the privilege of spending a week around the seasoned, paper legends as well as the new generation of paper stars at the Watermarks Conference, (the 2012 meetings for both Friends of Dard Hunter and IAPMA.) sponsored by and held at the Morgan Art Papermaking Consevatory & Educational Foundation, in Cleveland, Ohio. When I booked this trip, I wondered, what can I do in Cleveland for one week besides make, eat and dream paper? I realized that Cleveland, has Lake Eerie, a seriously well-deserved local pride and die-hard fans of their sports teams. Since I was still a little jetlagged, and the pre-conference workshop I signed up for hadn't started yet, my colleague said " why don't you go to the legendary Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame?" So I did.
Giant guitars outside of RRHF.
My reasons for going on this Cleveland Magical Mystery Tour, started becoming clearer while inside the RRHF. Not only did I get to learn so much about the history of the Rock n' Roll era, I was able to surround myself with (at least simulated versions of ) Rock Star Legends. The RRHF primed me for the rest of the entire week when I got to hang out with the Rock Stars of Paper; paper gurus and paper masters from all over the globe all came together in Cleveland, Ohio!
Tim with Carolina Larrera. Carolina is not only a Tim Barrett groupie, but Paper Rock Star from Chile.

Who Wrote the Book of Love, I mean washi?! Premier paper legend and MacArther Grant recipient, Mr. Tim Barrett of the University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA did. His many fans want to have their photos taken with Mr. Barrett; ...dang, I didn't get a good one of me with him! tsk, tsk.

Asao Shimura mixes konnyaku with pigment.

There were so many Paper Rock Stars there...Mr. Asao Shimura who taught a 2-day workshop on konnyaku intaglio printing. Like waiting in line for tickets to the biggest concert of the year, I tenaciously waited for my spot in his class, and got it! Asao hasn't been stateside in years and he traveled from his home in the Philippines to teach in the US. I've been a fan for years, but finally got to meet him and take his workshop, with more of his fans.

Asao Shimura definitely marches to the beat of his own drummer, and we should thank him for it, as he trail-blazes in the world of paper arts, he teaches too, sharing his insight and skill with eager students. He's a soul man of a paper culture...(I've got rhythm, but I AM asking for more Paper Rock Star Fame!)

Aimee Lee: Young Paper Rock Star- crowd is starting to gather...
A fairly new talent in the group is Ms. Aimee Lee, now an author of a new book: Hanji Unfurled, One Journey into Korean Papermaking, I swear- when she walked into the room during my pre-conference workshop, a group of fans formed a circle around her; I heard "Aimee!, Aimee!" coming from the crowd. I was an Aimee Lee groupie before even seeing her live. I could catch on fairly quickly; I tried to blend in with group-playing the coy paperazzi. I am still very much part of Aimee Lee's fan club, and therefore so thrilled a host to her, while she's in New England promoting her new book via artist's talk, demo and workshop both in Boston, November 10th and Providence area, November 14th. Blood, Sweat, and Tears, may be a RRHF inductee, but have no doubt, the vatman or vatwoman produces blood, sweat and tears on a daily basis, as they toil and create paper with their two hands, keeping the art of handmade paper true, pure, and alive-ensuring that Papermaking is Here to Stay! At least at some level, I continue to aspire to Paper Rock Star status. When asked: “do you make paper?” I reply: "not exactly, but I am an agent, a promoter, a paper Shake, rattle and roller and total groupie of the Dardos!" Watermarks 2012 was more than about reuniting with friends and colleagues I haven't seen years, and more than about discovering new Paper Rock Stars. It was a week of Letting the Good Times Roll, a week of re-inspiration to continue down The Long & Winding Road to bring handmade paper to the likes of you. My Cleveland experience was the necessary step towards attaining Hall of Fame status or at least a couple of my own fans.. I am now determined more than ever to create a (paper) hit in my hometown of Providence. A really BIG hit. Thank you Watermarks 2012 , the Morgan and Cleveland ,OHIO!: you keep on rockin' me baby! For more photos, check out our FACEBOOK page for the Watermarks album. Don't forget to "like" us!

Joomchi! Everybody's talking about it! October 03 2012

Korea claims a unique and intriguing art called joomchi. How do you go about making joomchi? It's easier to try with your own hands than to explain in words...but here it goes. This is my beginner's understanding of the process: At least 2 layers of Korean mulberry paper, or hanji, are first wet, then, aggressively gripped, grabbed, stretched, and manipulated until the fibers are broken down and almost "felted" to your liking. Hours of aggravating the paper are expended, while possibly years of angst is relieved. A major transformation occurs; once flat sheets of paper become a very organic, leather-like, almost living form. No adhesives are used, however, natural dyes, pigments, other papers, fibers, and cloth can be "collaged" in to create a very special mixed media paper art. We learned that Japanese mulberry paper (kozo) works fine for making joomchi, as our colleague Barbara Green tested it. She used Paper Connection's senkashi (a heavy weight un-dyed kozo paper, traditionally used for clothing) and some vintage, pigmented kozo. I finally made it to the nearby Atrium Gallery in Providence to see one of their latest shows: Joomchi and Beyond, curated by Ms. Jiyoung Chung. I blogged briefly about Ms. Chung and her exhibit at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, last June, 2011. Subsequently, I was lucky enough to attend her workshop early spring 2012. Many of the works shown at the Atrium are part of Ms. Chung's fantastic book also entitled Joomchi and Beyond. Please see Jiyoung's book for photos of her method and process. She is a great teacher. For more photos of the show, click here. Another artist who works with hanji and creates joomchi is Aimee Lee.
I am this wall, 2009, by Aimee Lee
It is truly amazing when you think that no adhesives are used, and all the papers are transformed by hand technique alone. I love this use of natural persimmon juice by Aimee:
The squirrels arrived first, 2012, Aimee Lee, natural persimmon dye, hanji, paper yarn
Ms. Lee is just out with her new book Hanji Unfurled, which details her research and works on hanji. Can't wait to meet her in 2 weeks at the Morgan! Aimee is also planning a book signing tour in New England in November, thus I'm hoping she will come to Providence and Paper Connection, of course! Who's in for meeting Aimee Lee and talking paper?!?!