Big News April 03 2023

Introducing the ART ANNEX! Lauren Pearlman Sugita, founder and director at Paper Connection has partnered with master weaver and artist Suzi Ballenger of RealFibers to realize a long-time dream. The new ART ANNEX, opening this month, is greater Rhode Island's only educational center for paper and fiber arts open to anyone in the community. The ART ANNEX is located in one of the largest, remaining mill complexes in the state, called HOPE ARTISTE VILLAGE. The building complex is on the National Register of Historic Places. The ART ANNEX is the largest educational center for paper, fiber and book arts of its kind between NYC and Portland, ME. The ART ANNEX is a local makers' space created for the greater community - welcoming folks of all ages and from all backgrounds. The ART ANNEX 's mission is to create a safe and accessible learning environment for traditional crafts, such as hand papermaking, hand weaving, natural dyeing, and book making.
First up at the ART ANNEX?
@Hope Artiste Village, 999 Main St. Unit #109 Pawtucket, RI.
April 8: Handweaving Basics 10am Sign up here 6 week course. April 14: Monoprints & Monotypes 5:30pm Sign up here 2 -hour workshop. April 15 & April 16: Lauren and Suzi will be in-house after 1pm both days, Drop In to make your own handmade hemp/(or some relative fiber) paper postcard/small sheet (suggested donation $5.00) during the Coastal Cultivator Classic sponsored by Mother Earth Wellness.
While we prepare the space for future workshops- mainly papermaking workshops ;), please join us at our Wednesday pm Drop-In Clinics during the Pawtucket Indoor Farmer's Market.
When: Beginning April 12, 2023, Wednesday nights, during the Indoor Farmer Market; next door at 1005 Main St.4:00-7:00 pm.. (Some Wednesdays in the future, Suzi may be selling vegetables too!) Where: The ART ANNEX 999 Main Street, Unit #109 Pawtucket, RI.
Donations are much appreciated!
Please stop by to check out the beautiful looms and gorgeous items for sale in our shop. Both Lauren and Suzi will be in-house to help troubleshoot your paper, fiber and book arts queries and quandaries. BONUS! we all get to meet each other- expanding our worlds.
MORE HOURS COMING SOON We'll be adding more open shop hours later in the spring and we'll definitely keep you posted. For all of you outside of the area, please visit our online shop. We truly hope you can visit the ART ANNEX someday soon!
for more information please email:

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 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.

2023 All New Paper Pastiche December 21 2022

In July 2022, we launched Paper Pastiche, our monthly subscription service.

We aim to bring paper samples to your door in manageable sizes - for the maker, experimenter, artist, crafter, engineer, and imagineer, who want curated artisan paper samples without the whole-sheet price. The opportunity to experience colors, weights, folding, cutting, and sculpting - Characteristics in easy-to-handle sizes. We immediately got takers, which was so cool! Last month we asked subscribers how we were doing and got great feedback on what they'd like to see plus social media coverage on what folks are making. So many said, 'bring us bigger pieces to play with!'

We heard you!

So let's head into the New Year and turn another page.
Paper Pastiche now comes in 7.5 x 10 in. and 5 x 7.5 in.
8 pieces of beauty, texture, weight, and intrigue. LOVE IT and Sarah Dunn, our amazing packaging maven, and artist. Sarah's design eye is absolutely stunning. We continue to bring new inspirations to you every month and we adore seeing your creations. If you'd like to share with our bigger community let us know.

Best to all, Fricka

Want to sign up?

Paper and Light October 10 2022

knitted paper, paper yarn, shifu, paper thread, paper shawl Knit paper curtain allows filtered light while providing subtle privacy.
caught in reflection
whispered messages
collaborative warmth
light, shadow, and reflection
love at first sight
Look for dreamy Kozo/Hemp Textured & Flecked Papers Lacy but mighty Asarakusuishi (hemp with holes) Holey Smoke! M-0803 - Check out this lovely video. Great double-sheathed over lightly textural Chiri White M-0204 We never of tire of this unryu-asarakusui style paper made with hemp/kozo paper with holes and flecks. Lovingly named: "Flecked Nest" More natural toned papers shown here including the the inlaid grid paper shown on right. There's the traditional plain white unryu shoji paper too. Here are some images of the beauty of how paper transmits light discovered while traveling.
shoji, shoji doors, room divider, Nao Washi Kyushu paper store shoji screen.
Send us your examples of paper diffusing light to:

Curating WITH PAPER September 12 2022

I recently curated a gallery group exhibit gallery at Pawtucket Arts Collaborative. Show Title: WITH PAPER, A PAC Gallery Pop-up, showcased works by Bayda Asbridge, Suzi Ballenger, Justine Chang, and myself, Lauren Pearlman Sugita. All 4 participating artists work with paper in different ways with overlaps. The basis, of course, was how we all work with, live with, and communicate with paper.
Lauren Pearlman Sugita, couching, SMFA
handmade paper A Book of Spinach & Feta
handmade flax paper Mollusks from Mars
handmade cotton paper, Laurelai Designs Woven Vines
Putting together such a quick turn-around event like this, definitely challenged my "juggling" skills. I was super-focused and in an abbreviated amount of time, it came together! The collaboration afforded me the opportunity to connect and deepen relationships with three super-talented artists, mainly by spending intimate time with their work. It was interesting for me that the act of curation, allowed me to know each one in a new way (including myself!). As I continually seek community, the experience provided a new path for connectivity and bonds. As WITH PAPER, the gallery show, assembled in just a few days, a "community" was formed. Those connections were the most rewarding gift of WITH PAPER. I requested each of the other 3 artists to send in a comment subsequent to the show.
Bayda Asbridge mixed media Our Village
BAYDA ASBRIDGE writes: I was invited by Lauren Pearlman Sugita from Paper Connection to participate in this pop-up exhibit WITH PAPER at the Pawtucket Arts Collaborative. It was short notice but still, Lauren worked extremely hard to put a very professional show together with our group while maintaining her business during the day. I was incredibly grateful to be invited and to be part of this beautiful exhibit because it gave me a deadline to finish a paper tapestry "San Diego on My Mind", an opportunity to bond with other artists, and the opportunity to reach a wider audience.
Bayda Asbridge mixed media fiber, paper, weaving San Diego on My Mind
Bayda Asbridge mixed media fiber, paper, weaving Blue Lagoon by Bayda Asbridge
SUZI BALLENGER writes: Thank you Lauren for your curatorial wisdom and vision. WITH PAPER became an opportunity to work through my thoughts on the series “To Be of Use”. These works reflect on the interconnection of vitality/detritus, growth/sediment, and need/sacrifice, an exciting exploration worth further investigation. Meeting the other artists was an honor. The work chosen for this exhibit made me feel like I was part of a common understanding and passion.
Suzi Ballenger handmade paper, onion skin To Be of Use
Suzi Ballenger handmade abaca paper, reed, porcupine quills I realized I was the one who was trapped. I just couldn’t swallow another fly!
Suzi Ballenger handmade abaca, hemp Suggestive Freedoms
JUSTINE CHANG writes: The show came together beautifully, and I was honored to be a part. As someone who is new to handmade paper, I’ve been constantly surprised by the generosity of other artists working with paper, including Lauren, Suzi, and Bayda. It was such a meaningful experience, to meet the artists, and to see the response of people who came to view the work. All of this confirms for me, that working with paper is an important way to reconnect with my body, my heritage, and nature.
Justine Chang photography on Korean paper. hanji Series: Margins
Justine Chang photography on Korean paper. hanji Series: Margins

Multimedia Artist - Elisa Lanzi September 09 2022

Let's jump in and let Elisa take you on her journey: How would you define your artwork, technique, and paper application?
Elisa Lanzi
Now November, artist book with monotype prints, Hemp White hinged Leporello, poem by artist, 6 x 30 inches, open
I consider myself a multimedia artist working at the intersection of printmaking, papermaking, and collage. And paper is at the heart of most of my work. My creative process is ongoing - involving eyes, mind, heart, and hands. Color stirs my spirit - - in nature, in art, and in everyday life. I’m always hungry for “fresh” so working across and among different materials and techniques suits me. You will find original hand-pulled prints, collage constructions, handmade paper works, and artist books with my poems. A recent artist book in Leporello style, Now November, is a good example of this convergence. The hinges (using Hemp White washi from Paper Connection) are a meaningful unifying detail in this work. A Leporello is an accordion book that can be unfolded like a panorama. Share insights into your process and current projects. This year I was inspired by a song I had heard in a recent workshop on art and racism at Zea Mays Printmaking (Florence, MA), and later, I re-immersed myself in the music of John and Alice Coltrane. I was suddenly struck by John’s simple remedy in times of crisis: “One positive thought produces millions of positive vibrations.” A single vibration provides the spark, vibrations abound, connecting, merging, bridging, and flowering; they ultimately produce the energy needed to build a new and better world. My response was an artist book and box, Positive Vibrations. This work is featured in a current show called “Another World is Possible” in Northampton, MA.
Positive Vibrations, artist book with drypoint monoprints, handmade paper hinges, Leporello format, 8″ x 32″ open; banner, 2 ½ “ x 21 ½ “ open; box (not shown), 2022
I’m involved in a multitude of processes, many at the same time. Printmaking takes place in my home studio and at Zea Mays Printmaking. Currently, I’m working with a process called Litho Monoprints. Using photographs as a starting point (both mine and my husband’s), I create non-toxic polyester plates that can be inked up for hand-pulled prints. The prints and plate can be modified with different color inks, chine collé, and hand marking. The result is a series of hand-pulled monoprints, each one unique. One of my favorite workspaces for laying out books and collage is the old oak table in my sunny dining room. Then, in the summer I set up some DIY papermaking in my garage in lieu of being in a larger papermaking studio. I keep notebooks with sketches and writings when I’m working on a project and traveling. I take many photographs of color and light as well as the built world. But, not everything starts as an art project. For example, at one point I became deeply involved in personal family ancestry while I was teaching the history of papermaking. Those two activities inspired me to create art resulting in a solo show called “Silk Roads/Paper Trails.” I do a lot of envisioning based on something I saw, heard, or read related to a particular subject. I always laugh when I think of Jasper Johns who said, “One night I dreamed that I painted a large American flag, and the next morning I got up and I went out and bought the materials to begin it.” While I don’t paint my dreams per se, I do a lot of dreaming-up artworks at 2 o’clock in the morning. Why do you create? What is the meaning behind your work? What influences inspire you and why? Nature, astonishingly simple, yet mysterious is the essence of my art. I work with the phenomena of our physical world tied up with nature as an inherent part of our humanness. Much of my work is about crossings made in transitory times — a shift from season to season, crossing the sea from one shore to another. Chasing the waning light of previous ages or embarking on a new venture, crossings are inevitable. Given my inclination to wander, I draw inspiration from sojourns to favorite haunts: from Portugal, Venice, and Sicily to the American West and Maine. I am fascinated with seeing how common visual motifs span centuries and geography, emerging in similar and diverse ways in these locales. The sea is a constant – it conveys art, makers, and goods that connect these places. Cultural migrations, conquests, religion, and mythology are woven into the mix. Lately, I’ve been exploring ways to visually respond to the topsy-turvy 21st-century world we are faced with. What does it even mean to make art today? The resulting works deal with personal and universal reckonings – the havoc wreaked by gun violence, the devastating social and climate effects of fast fashion, geoengineering the climate, and the anguish of refugee journeys to name but a few. My Shelter in Place series explores the natural human instinct to escape during times of trouble, especially at this pandemic
Craving Shelter, artist book and accompanying poem banner, Hanji hinged Leporello style, collages with hand-pulled monotype prints and text, 12 x 48 inches (open), 12 x 12 inches (closed), 4 x 40 inches (open), 4 x 10 inches (closed), 2022
moment. It includes several monotype prints and an artist book called Craving Shelter. A selection of that work is currently on view at The Fountain Street Gallery, Boston. How did your creative journey bring you to this place? I grew up in an art household in Rochester, New York. My father was an artist and we kids always had paints, markers, and rolls of paper to play with. At one point I wanted to be a fashion designer and I drew hundreds of shoe advertisements with 60’s era captions like “Spring Fling.” Our family vacations usually involved visiting museums. I remember envying my friends who got to go to the Adirondacks to Santa’s Land while we were stuck at MOMA. Now I treasure that upbringing. Since then, I’ve created art through study and practice. My college art history and literature studies were accompanied by studio work and later advanced by apprenticeships and workshops. As a 15 + year member of Zea Mays Printmaking Studio, I am skilled in multiple green printmaking practices. Recently I earned the “Certificate in Green Printmaking, Intaglio” from their school. My formative papermaking experience was at Trout Paper, a hand-papermaking atelier in Washington County, New York. A few years ago, I stepped away from a long career in libraries and museums. While I was making art the whole time, it took a back seat to other pursuits. Now I’ve been recalibrating -- moving into life as a full-time artist with all that it entails. I’ve immersed myself in local and regional art communities; Zea Mays Printmaking Studio, The Boston Printmakers, Fountain Street Gallery (Boston), and the Monotype Guild of New England. In addition to making art, I enjoy curating, giving talks, and teaching workshops. Can you describe the importance of paper (or other mediums) in your work, what type of paper (medium) you use most, and why?
Two layered print: Soft Landing, monotype, carborundum collagraph, relief; Unryushi paper over Rives BFK paper, 22 x 10 inches, 2021
In the early 1980s, I was working at Bennington College as a librarian. There I met one of my art mentors, Sophia Healy, who taught art at the college. She became a seminal influence on both my art and writing. Sophia had worked with Ken Noland when he was experimenting with handmade paper. I joined her papermaking studio called Trout Paper and learned not just about handmade paper but how to approach art as a practice. I use my own handmade rag paper and all kinds of other paper depending on the work. Like most paper lovers I have a considerable hoard (old, new purchased, traded, found, etc.). For printmaking, I run the gamut, from the substantial Fabriano Pescia to Zerkall Litho to the ethereal Kitakata. Collage affords me the most freedom to explore how papers “react” to each other. For example, a recent work, Soft Landing, comprises two layers of Akua ink monotype prints: a sheet of translucent Unryushi placed over Rives BFK paper. Why this medium? Can you elaborate/reflect on your work and future forecasting? Recto/Verso I, monotype, chine collé, collage, on Hemp Kinwashi paper, printed on both sides, 34 x 22 inches, 2018When I started making artist books, I was looking for ways to move my paper vocabulary into three dimensions by experimenting with text and narrative. It feels natural to express myself in a visual form. I also thrive on solving complex design problems, which is why collage is one of my go-to formats. But the artist's books are usually smaller scale. A few years ago, I created a large-scale diptych, Recto/Verso I and II, that was suspended from the ceiling and free-floating. Today I’m going back/moving forward with creating larger works that incorporate painting, printmaking, and paper. Are there papers from Paper Connection that you can speak about, provide insights, elaborations, process, and/or integrity of quality? I discovered Paper Connection International (PCI) many years ago when Lauren did a site visit to Zea Mays Printmaking. My first paper purchase from PCI was a Kozo Honen, which I used to make monotype stencils. Since then, I have always used washi for stencils so that I can reuse them in collage and chine collé. When I began making hinged accordion books, I needed a strong flexible paper that stood up to frequent opening and closing.
Sunscreen, artist book with recycled monotype prints, washi, collage and haiku poem,
with An-Jing Unryu Heavyweight Mint with Gold Leaf paper cover, 6 x 11 ½ “, 7 pages plus cover and wrapper with stand-up card, 2021
Hanji (Korean mulberry paper) is perfect, especially since there are so many beautiful colors. Sometimes I crave a very special paper to use “as is.” The cover of my artist book Sunscreen is made from the gorgeous An-Jing Unryu Heavyweight Mint, with Gold Leaf. I also love being able to work with PCI papers in my inkjet and laser printers. The Digital and Experimental Photo Paper Sampler provides plenty of options. I now have a paper swatch file to keep myself on track. It’s fun rifling through the papers, feeling the textures, and seeing the array of colors. I’ve been doing an annual talk called "Rags to Riches: History and Contemporary Perspectives on Papermaking” for the Smith College Book Studies concentration students. For that, I made hinged accordion booklets of curated “Various and Sundry Swatches” for each student. The booklets are unique - the swatches are a mix of my own handmade paper (linen/cotton, plant fibers such as leeks and cornhusks) and Eastern papers (e.g., Echizen from Japan and An-Jing from China) from Paper Connection. These little booklets were born as I was making other artist book projects using upcycled and remixed papers and prints. Are there questions no one has asked concerning your creative process, philosophy, or recent experience you’d like to share? People are sometimes shy about asking an artist how they deal with rough patches. I’m an artist, but I also love to cook. Making art is a bit like cooking. Sometimes I don’t know until I “taste” it. I try not to get too caught up in the rightness or wrongness when I’m working. I’ve finally opted out of the “knife of the perfectionist attitude in art” (Louise Bogan, 1934) which is a killer for a creative person (and a cook!). When I get stuck, it’s usually because I am overthinking or just plain tired. That’s when I let go and allow myself to “rest.” If I’m making paper, I play with forming simple color sample sheets. If I’m printing or doing collage, I stop and photograph the print and flip it upside down. Believe me, right away you can spot the beautiful moments and jarring gaffes in your work! If you could converse with any artist present/past, who would it be and what would you ask? Joan Mitchell’s paintings and prints always suck me in with their incredible emotional revelations layered on to nature. I would like to ask her: “How do you deal with overt sentimentality when it enters into your art? How do you draw the line between private emotions that might upset others and the need for our own free expression? Is there a line?” As you may discern from my art, I am influenced by the late work of Matisse, specifically the cut-outs and stencils. Unfortunately, he had to deal with multiple health problems as he aged; he and I share a particular one. I would ask him: “How did you remain creative while dealing with physical pain? Does aging change your artist’s eye?” Do you have any upcoming shows or installations in progress? If so, please provide info so we can direct our readers.

Aug. 29 - Sept. 25, 2022 SoWa ArtWalk: Sept. 9th, 5 - 8 pm “Elisa Lanzi, Jim Fenzel, Ellen Foust” Fountain Street Gallery 460C Harrison Ave. #2 Boston MA

Sept. 8 - Oct. 8, 2022 Opening Reception: Friday, Sept. 9th, 5 - 8 pm “Another World is Possible” Zea Mays Printmaking Biennial, Juried by Shichio Minato and Juana Valdes A.P.E. Gallery 126 Main St. Northampton, MA Do you have an online portfolio or other sites where folks can view more of your work? If so, please provide address. Zea Mays Flat File Project Elisa Lanzi on instagram

PD Packard on Creative Freedom June 23 2022

Artist, PD Packard Photo Credit: Faye Arranz
We checked in with PD Packard. How did your creative journey bring you to this place? I’ve always had a natural love of color. When growing up in Washington, D.C., and trying to determine how I would make an income with this love of color, I believed that going to a university would be the answer. I began studying fashion design at Parsons School of Design in NYC. Through an exchange program, I applied for and was awarded a full scholarship to Saint Martin’s School of Art (aka Central Saint Martin’s), in London, England. There I obtained a BFA in Fashion and Textile Design. At Saint Martin’s I was given a lot of creative freedom, something that had been missing at Parsons. Most of my days at Saint Martin’s were spent working in the textile department dyeing and printing fabrics, and then executing many self-indulgent, crazy-butt ideas for clothing and accessories that weren’t viewed as very commercial by my teachers. It was a wonderful foundation and even today experimenting without restraints is a very important part of developing any of my ideas, helping me discern and refine each step towards completion.
Travel & Cosmetic Bags, designed under the PD Packard Label Medium: 100% Cotton Size: Various Date: 1986 - 1996
When I returned to the states in the late 80s, I began designing packaging, POP displays, and original textile and surface designs primarily for the cosmetic industry in NYC. Under my own label, PD Packard, I also designed and produced exclusive lines of travel and cosmetic bags for the department stores Barneys New York & Japan, Neiman Marcus, Henri Bendel, and Bergdorf Goodman that were sold nationally and internationally. There’s real money to be made in production. The problem was that I felt I was always squeezed like a lemon, asked to produce cheaper, faster, and to make it happen yesterday. I grew to dislike the work and one day decided to stop. Many of the principles in printmaking are similar to fabric and surface design making an easy and natural transition for me into fine art printmaking in 2009. How would you define your art and what is the meaning behind your work? I am called a Multimedia Artist, using printmaking in combination with different medias and techniques; photography, animation, and painting to share my love for color, and pattern. My work is committed to bringing attention to the power that Nature has to influence our perception of art and design. I am not the expressor, I am the expression. When I begin a project, I try to let go of my ego and be open and receptive to inspiration. In the essay, “The Untroubled Mind" (1972), the painter/author Agnes Martin, speaks of art as beauty, and states that this beauty is unattached, that it’s in your Mind; it’s inspirational. I believe that this inspiration is free and available to all, beyond person, place, or thing; it’s unconditional Love. Unconditional Love means that I will remain committed to my work even if the condition seems unfavorable. Regardless of the circumstance or outcome, I am self-motivated to continue my work because of this unconditional Love. Can you describe the importance of paper (or other mediums) in your work, what type of paper (medium) you use most, and why?
Printed Decorative Papers
Medium: Relief printmaking method, M-0207 Kozo White Text Weight with Sizing-56gsm and M-0202 Natural Kozo Medium Weight-44gsm.
Size: 25” height x 37” width
Dates: Various
The paper I use is basically Kozo x Kozo = Kozo. Initially, when creating my artwork, I used mostly papers made from cotton. Around 2010, I met the NYC-based Japanese artist, Yasuyo Tanaka, while taking a class on Japanese Bookbinding with her at the Manhattan Graphics Center. I noted how wonderful the collection of Japanese Kozo papers that Yasuyo used, and she shared Paper Connection as her source. Since then, I’ve been using Paper Connection’s fine art papers, specifically whites, and naturals, in my work. My foundation is painting. I love the depth of color I can achieve through layering when working in watercolors. In 2009 I began using the Akua Intaglio Printmaking Inks trying to translate this layered, watercolor effect into printmaking but found my prints became too saturated with ink. A turning point came in 2015 when from a brief demonstration on the use of Akua Liquid Pigments by the artist and Akua Inks inventor, Susan Rostow, I was inspired to experiment. A medium entirely new to my printmaking process, I discovered that with the Akua Liquid Pigments I could print almost unlimited sheer layers of color. An absolute necessity in creating this method of decorative paper is the use of Japanese Kozo paper, or in English, mulberry paper. Kozo is highly absorbent and has long fibers that give the paper strength and durability to withstand multiple layers of ink. Two Paper Connection papers that work well for this method are M-0207 Kozo White Text Weight with Sizing-56gsm, and M-0202 Natural Kozo Medium Weight-44gsm. With this medium, I’ve developed a technique for creating printed decorative papers that I use in almost every aspect of my work; book art, sculpture, installation, animation, and much more. Printed Decorative Papers are all about the color story. To really experience the full extent of this process, you start by committing to a color story with a minimum of 5 or more different colors. The more colors you use, the better the effect so it’s important to be courageous and keep applying layers. I take dried flowers and leaves I’ve harvested from my garden or collected off the streets of NYC and lay them in a pattern of my desire on top of a Plexi printmaking plate that has been coated with Akua Liquid Pigment. During the printing process, I try to be open to - rethink, adapt, or change, if something is not moving as planned. The finished print usually ends up with 15+ layers of different colors with a beautiful, layered effect, somewhat like watercolor. To know more about my technique for Printing Decorative Papers with Akua Inks, you can find the video on the Akua Printshop Channel here > Are there papers from Paper Connection that you can speak about/provide insights, elaborations, process, and/or integrity of quality? Two projects of mine that I believe showcase the strength, diversity, and beauty of the Japanese Kozo paper from Paper Connection are OUTSHINE fear and Armour Clad In LOVE. On a practical note, I’ve learned from Paper Connection’s owner, Lauren Pearlman Sugita, that Kozo is an environmentally friendly traditional Japanese papermaking product. Because the Kozo bush is a renewable shrub that’s harvested annually, the plants will regenerate continually for many years. OUTSHINE fear is a series of works that combine the very popular alternative photographic method cyanotype and laser-cut Plexi plates created from computer-generated designs.
OUTSHINE fear, Watch Thought, NO fear
Medium: Gold Akua Intaglio Ink on Laser cut Plexi printing plates,
Aiko’s AI-232 Sakamoto Natural LW Kozo paper, combined with
alternative photographic method cyanotype.
Size: 18” height x 24” width
Date: August 2020
The cyanotype photos were developed on Aiko’s AI-232 Sakamoto Natural LW. The Sakamoto paper works brilliantly when developing and exposing the image onto the paper achieving beautiful, clear images. Because of the strength of the paper, it’s possible to expose or tone the image many times without the paper breaking down. Unfortunately, the papers are no longer being produced. This project was based on the prompt: Question: How does one encourage and motivate others when opportunity appears to be limited? Answer: LOVE MORE for every hate. I am a parent and an educator living and working in NYC. On March 22, 2020, my twin 17 years old daughters were informed that they would not be returning to their high school, three months shy of their graduation. They were attending a NYC performance & art high school, both in the visual arts program. Art is social, so when the school began teaching remotely many of the students did not show up to the online classes. Without the use of the school’s studio space, art supplies, and direct guidance from teachers and their peers, many students found it difficult to work on their own. Some students became despondent and didn’t complete their work. Through the years I've been taking photos of my children and using them as my muse. It’s a great working relationship because they’re very trusting and not concerned about how they look in the final artwork. It’s very liberating for me as an artist.

For reference, you can find the original post for OUTSHINE fear here:

Discord Is The Absence of Truth Medium: Gold Akua Intaglio Ink on Laser cut Plexi printing plates, Aiko’s AI-232 Sakamoto Natural LW Kozo paper, combined with alternative photographic method cyanotype. Size: 18” height x 12” width Date: August 2020 SOUL AWARENESS NOT sense awareness Medium: Gold Akua Intaglio Ink on Laser cut Plexi printing plates, Aiko’s AI-232 Sakamoto Natural LW Kozo paper, combined with alternative photographic method cyanotype. Size: 18” height x 12” width Date: August 2020
The Photographic Process for SOUL AWARENESS NOT sense awareness
Top Right Image: Original Image
Top Left Image: Inverted Transparency (negative) Use to Expose Print
Bottom Right Image: Chemical Reaction to Sensitized (coated with cyanotype formula) Sakamoto Kozo Paper Exposed to Sun.
Bottom Left Image: Final Print After Toned in Borax Bath
unclasp the hold on thought: think ANEW Medium: Gold Akua Intaglio Ink on Laser cut Plexi printing plates, Aiko’s AI-232 Sakamoto Natural LW Kozo paper, combined with alternative photographic method cyanotype. Size: 18” height x 12” width Date: August 2020 Process for unclasp the hold on thought: think ANEW Left Image: Computer Generated Artwork for Printing Plate Right Image: Akua Intaglio Metallic Gold Inked Laser Cut Plexi Printmaking Plate Life living Love loving Soul feeling Mind knowing Medium: Gold Akua Intaglio Ink on Laser cut Plexi printing plates, Aiko’s AI-232 Sakamoto Natural LW Kozo paper, combined with alternative photographic method cyanotype. Size: 18” height x 12” width Date: August 2020 Armour Clad in LOVE: quarantine in NYC During the end of the March 2020 quarantine in NYC, I took early morning walks through nearby Prospect Park, in Brooklyn, NY, collecting tree parts to use as content for the short films I create. With skills from my years designing in the fashion industry, I created a suit using the printing plates from OUTSHINE fear and my printed decorative papers on Japanese Kozo paper. The Kozo paper is so strong and resilient that the suit can actually be worn. The suit represents the idea of our earth, and all of humanity as being armour clad, and protected by LOVE.
Armour Clad in LOVE
Medium: Decorative paper & Akua Intaglio Ink on Laser
cut Plexi printing plates, M-0207 Kozo White Text Weight
with Sizing-56gsm.
Size: 72” height x 50” width, assembled
Date: April 2020
Armour Clad in LOVE, jacket stitch detail
Medium: Decorative paper & Akua Intaglio Ink on Laser
cut Plexi printing plates, M-0207 Kozo White Text Weight
with Sizing-56gsm.
Size: 72” height x 50” width, assembled
Date: April 2020
Armour Clad in LOVE, pant stitch detail
Medium: Decorative paper & Akua Intaglio Ink on Laser
cut Plexi printing plates, M-0207 Kozo White Text Weight
with Sizing-56gsm.
Size: 72” height x 50” width, assembled
Date: April 2020
Ground Print for Armour Clad in LOVE
Medium: A ground layer was created using my Printed Decorative
paper method, using dried plants as a stencil together with printing
multiple layers of plates inked with the transparent-like Akua Liquid
Pigments on M-0207 Kozo White Text Weight with Sizing-56gsm.
Size: 25” height x 37” width
Date: April 2020
Inked laser-cut Plexi printing plate used for
Armour Clad in LOVE
Medium: The final top layer was printed with the Akua Intaglio
Inks using laser-cut Plexi printing plates. The sheen on the print
was created by adding silver metallic intaglio ink to ultramarine
blue and phthalo blue. The original designs for the laser-cut plates were computer-generated.
Size: 25” height x 37” width
Date: April 2020
For reference, you can find the original post here: What influences inspire you and why? In the book, Saul Bass A Life in Film & Design, he describes the ideal trademark as “thinking made visible.” That’s a principle I strive to express in my artwork. I’ve always loved bold graphics, with self-similar images and mathematical order. In the late 80s, a friend took me to hear a lecture on graphic design given at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology), in NYC. I had no idea who the guest speaker was, and in my naive mind, he looked like some regular, middle-aged man wearing a suit and heavy, black-rimmed glasses. He was introduced as Saul Bass, the American graphic designer, and filmmaker. From the start, I was incredibly impressed with his work especially when he showed his title sequences he had created for many well-known movies, like The Pink Panther and for films by Alfred Hitchcock. For Hitchcock’s movies, North by Northwest, Vertigo, and Psycho, Bass invented this type of kinetic typography in his title sequences that I love. Bass was also a prolific trademark or logo designer, and many of his logos are still in use today, showing the longevity and strength of his work. Longevity and strength are traits that I greatly admire in anyone's work. Graphics and film have made a big, inspirational impact on me as a designer and visual artist. In 2018, I began creating short films, or vignettes. I use printmaking in combination with Nature to create visual poetry that shares my thirst for color, nature, and unconditional LOVE, not conditional romance. To bring my artwork to life I interlace and overlay live-action video with flat animation mediums in combination with music that flow from one scene to the next. My most recent short film project was organized by the artist pair, Phyllis and Victor Merriam of the thepostdigitalprintmakers, and Susan Rostow of Akua Inks. I was invited to create an original animation for PRINTFLIX, a film screening featuring ten artists that use printmaking in combination with animation. The screening was held during the SGC International MakerReady Virtual Event Saturday, April 10, 2021, showcasing the Armour Clad in LOVE suit made with papers sourced from Paper Connection. Short Film, Armour Clad in LOVE: Paper Connection papers used: Aiko’s AI-232 Sakamoto Natural LW, Natural Kozo Medium Weight-44gsm M-0202, and Kozo paper G-0008. Mediums: Drypoint etching, Relief printmaking, laser-cut printmaking plates, and cyanotype. View Here: If you could converse with any artist present/past, who would it be and what would you ask? Due credit goes to Kojiro Ikegami, one of Japan’s leading professional bookbinders. Many years ago, I bought his book titled, Japanese Book-binding, Instructions from a Master Craftsman. Although I believe he is no longer living, I would love to have had the opportunity to thank him for generously sharing instructions for making major, historically important styles of Japanese binding and book cases. I find that when you’re focused on creating the most beautiful artwork, or in his case, binding books, most of your time is spent resolving technical problems that might come up when executing a piece. It takes a lot of humility to freely share your knowledge with others when you’ve spent a lifetime committed to perfecting your skills. I am so grateful that I have access to his easy-to-use book-binding instructions and have been able to expand his principles into box art, custom-framed artwork, freestanding walls, and so much more. I can only imagine how special the opportunity was to train under this master. Do you have any upcoming shows?
Artist, PD Packard working in her Brooklyn, NY studio. Photo Credit: Faye Arranz
I am currently part of the traveling exhibition called: CONNECT: Small Prints by Members of The Boston Printmakers 2021 – 2023 This small print show was developed in partnership with the venerable Providence Art Club in Rhode Island to celebrate The Boston Printmakers upcoming 75th anniversary in 2023. Prompted by the theme of “communication,” with a suggested image size of a cell phone, or no larger than 8”x10”, members of the Boston Printmakers were asked to create prints about “messaging,” “news,” or content they wanted to “post." Upcoming Exhibition Dates: October 2022: Oregon Society of Artists, Portland OR Dates TBA March 5, 2023 – April 5, 2023: Center for Contemporary Printmaking Share your current projects: Since March 2022 I’ve been working with the American composer, songwriter, and producer Paul Brill on a commission to create the artwork for his latest 12” vinyl record, The Cost of Believing, and for "45" or 7-inch vinyl singles scheduled to debut in October 2022. Paul gave me the freedom to create what I want, which is an artist’s dream. I am truly grateful for this commission. Initially, it was a challenge because there were practically no rules and infinite directions in which I could go. I’ve listened to his music several times during the process of recording the album, but my focus was on interpreting his lyrics visionally for the album cover in the most beautiful, collaborative way. On June 9th I presented the first step of the project, a body of original artwork for the album cover that consisted of sixteen unique pieces. Using the techniques of cyanotype, decorative papers, and laser-cut printing plates all the original artwork was created on Aiko's Sakamoto Heavyweight-AI-224B, Kozoshi Natural Extra Heavyweight-M-0206-#3-80gsm and Kozo White Text Weight with Sizing-56gsm M-0207. Here’s a selection of the recently presented artwork for the album covers.
God Loves You the Most
Medium: Alternative photographic method
cyanotype on Aiko's Sakamoto Heavyweight-AI-224B
Size: 12.5” height x 12.5” width
Date: June 2022
Unblunted Mind
Medium: Alternative photographic method
cyanotype on Aiko's Sakamoto Heavyweight-AI-224B
Size: 12.5” height x 12.5” width
Date: June 2022
The Promise of Light
Medium: Computer-designed laser-cut Plexi printing plate, decorative papers, on Kozoshi Natural Extra Heavyweight-M-0206-#3-80gsm
Size: 24” height x 18” width
Date: June 2022
The Cost of Believing
Medium: Computer-designed laser-cut Plexi
printing plate, decorative papers, on Kozoshi
Natural Extra Heavyweight M-0206-#3-80gsm
Size: 12.5” height x 12.5” width
Date: June 2022
PD Packard Contact Email Website
Fricka Jones - Artist, Designer, Imagineer, Writer, Editor, Collaborator, Support
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SUSTAINABLE PAPER+CRAFT on Ancestral Land in Kansas City, MO April 04 2022

KelsKelsey Pikeey Pike, papermaker, printmaker, and art teacher in Kansas City, Missouri, creates fine handmade papers and products using varied materials that may include rags, raw plant fibers, filaments, threads, gold leaf, and whatever she can get her hands on. Her aesthetics are pure magic. “I have been in love with the obscure and tedious art form of hand papermaking since . . . art school.” In 2021, Pike aimed more of her time making single-run handmade papers. While white papers were her bread and butter, she longed for variety, experimentation, and collaboration with fellow artists/designers. Kelsey’s Monthly Paper Parcel was born with curated and unique colorways offered as a cyclic subscription.
Kelsey Making Paper at Cherry Pit Collective Kelsey Making Paper at Cherry Pit Collective
“. . . the sound of the water, the repetitive motions, the solitude – they put me in a meditative space.”
Monthly Paper Parcel Examples Monthly Paper Parcel Examples
Wet-process, two-sided, de-bossed or gradient sheets, and papers with varietal inclusions such as gold leaf, threads, or fabrics. Each month subscribers receive a package perfect for artists, imagineers, and the creatively curious. “Good craft is important to me, and I am continuously studying, practicing, and learning to make the best paper.” Cherry Pit Collective Kansas City MO Kelsey Pike also co-founded Cherry Pit Collective, a communal studio space for artists, makers, and creatives, where the work and vision of women are emphasized and celebrated. Kelsey is the cornerstone in creating an environment of members who work, support, and promote each other through a shared workspace and creative communing. Cherry Pit Collective hosts monthly programs that include classes and events for skill sharing within the community, fostering collaboration over competition. All are welcome, but female-identifying artists and members of other marginalized communities take priority. ​Cherry Pit Collective resides on ancestral land belonging to the people of Kiikaapo (Kikapoo), Wazhazhe Mazhá (Osage), Kaw (Kansa), and Očhéthi Šakówin (Sioux). “We honor with gratitude the land itself and the people who have and continue to steward it.” You can locate Kelsey and her gorgeous papers and products through: Sustainable Paper+Craft Cherry Pit Collective Instagram Facebook Etsy
Kelsey and Lauren at Cherry Pit Collective Kelsey and Lauren at Cherry Pit Collective

fricka - artist not in residence

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Discovery: Artist Mimi King on Relief & Intaglio Printmaking July 23 2021

Mimi King
November, of last year, I sat down to try my hand at relief printmaking. I thought it would be a one-off experiment, a stop-gap until I could access etching baths again. I love intaglio, the process of it, the amount of waiting, planning, and consideration it requires. The details that can be achieved with an etching needle make my heart race, and yet, the immediacy of relief printmaking is so rewarding. My introduction to printmaking began abstractly. Both intaglio and monotype taught me valuable lessons about allowing the process to simply be. When working with monotype, it may look one way on the plexiglass, but entirely different once printed. It was first explained to me like this, “You may use the same process, the same inks, the same solvents, paper, etc., day in, day out, you will never make the same print twice.” This appealed to me as someone new to the art world at the time, I didn’t need to stress about monotypes because it will be, what it will be.
Intaglio Etching
Relief Cat Print

“You may use the same process, the same inks, the same solvents, paper, etc., day in, day out. But you will never make the same print twice.”

Relief Linocut on Washi Paper
Butterfly Pea Citrus Kakigori
Intaglio offered a way to reproduce the same image again and again. I learned monotype before an intaglio crash course in the summer of 2014. My approach to intaglio was more laissez-faire. If there was a foul bite (such as the four deep circles in my kakigori print to the left), it simply became part of the print. The stronger my confidence in my drawing skills, the more frustrated I became when a line didn’t etch the way I hoped. So much happens during the intaglio process that can’t be entirely predicted, most taking place inside the acid bath which can’t be realized until the plate has been removed, cleaned, and proofed. With relief printing, the moment I finish carving a line, I know whether it’s turned out or whether I need to adjust something. Intaglio taught me to be patient and trust (or just accept) the process. Relief gives me the freedom to work fast and print often. Relief and Intaglio Work in Opposites - In etching/intaglio, your image is created from below the surface of the plate, your negative or etched space is what shows up in your design. For etched prints, you force ink into grooves you've created while buffing the surface clean of excess ink. Time-consuming for a large etched plate, it’s laborious. Whereas with relief printmaking the image is on the surface area carved which is inked with a roller - the carved area is the negative or un-inked areas. The one thing that is true for both types of printmaking is the way the lines appear before the first proofing. With fine details, like the fur on my recent cat prints (see image above), which appear before the block is even inked.
Mono-type Linocut on Gampi
After admiring other relief printmakers’ work for years, it’s joyous to find that I’ve taken so well to this style of printmaking. My drawing comes through more clearly than with intaglio and I’m not tied to a press. Thanks to water-based inks, I can print anywhere, as long as I have a flat surface. A whole world of opportunities has opened itself through relief printmaking, from residencies not equipped for printmaking to printing while on vacation or traveling. There are papers to be explored that simply would not have lent themselves to etching that is wide open to relief. Etching presses the ink into the fibers of the paper, relief sits on top of those fibers. Lokta, leaf embedded papers, and heavily textured papers will become part of my visual language, adding a new richness to the Asian paper catalog I’ve slowly constructed for myself. As work progresses, I build upon skills, ready to enter unchartered waters of large-scale pieces. Mimi King on PCI papers that tell your story Mimi King (@mimikingstudio) Mimi King Studio: Shop Mimi King | Facebook

An Inside Look at Paint & Calligraphy Papers April 25 2021

Character Appeal

Xuan - Super soft, absorbing ink consistently and evenly Pronounced "shwen," this paper provides a pristine surface for writing and painting. Handmade in historic, Anhui Province, China, Xuan has stood the test of time as the ink of ancient scrolls and paintings still retaining its vibrancy to this day. For all levels, this is a quality paper for practice and finished work and very affordable. Mini Xuan paper is a charming handmade paper for writing or incorporating mixed media. Made from recycled materials, including bamboo waste paper, here is a great paper for beginners. Economical and made to support hand/eye development for more solid practices. For all levels, this paper works widely for practice and finished work. Papers great for Asian-style calligraphy (shodō), sumi painting, and fish printing (gyotaku) A lovely assortment includes Kihosen Kana, handmade in Japan with a mix of mitsumata, bamboo, and kōzo fibers. This professional-grade sumi painting or calligraphy paper comes folded and may require a warm iron or just leave rolled for a few days. Currently we sell scroll-sized Kana paper in 10-sheet sets. Soonji made from white Korean mulberry paper (hanji) is also an excellent choice. There is no sizing which makes it absorbent and ideal for calligraphy, Sumi-e, and brush painting amongst other uses. Sunn is a very traditional paper developed in the 8th century for writing religious script and Persian miniature paintings. It is made from raw fermented and cooked hemp and then burnished by hand. The surface is coated with wheat starch, a sizing of egg-white, and alum, burnished with agate to provide a naturally sized surface with an incredible sheen. Yin Yang Dochim Hanji is a beautiful, heavyweight, and burnished mulberry paper. Fibers are compacted and "small-pored," making them great for applying ink with no bleeding. Rustic lokta papers from Nepal are not technically burnished but lokta fiber once made into a sheet is naturally small-pored. Japanese kōzo papers with a bit of internal sizing (sizing added to the vat before formation) are suitable for beginners to experts. If you are unsure what type of kōzo to use, start here for its versatility and price.
Rick Lowe brush painting on lokta paper.
Take a step toward further experimentation! These depicted here are some marvelous papers to explore.
Rona Conti wielding her calligraphy brush.

Sizing - Alum can be a key constituent of your work. When the paper is called "sized" there is usually alum involved. Traditional sizing or size is made with a recipe of animal skin glue and alum to create a barrier in or on the paper so ink does not absorb into the fibers. (Here's a vegan version to DIY sizing). Sized papers are less absorbent and more forgiving of water-based techniques, lending themselves to multiple paint and ink washes/modifications. In other words, sized papers "hold up" against liquids and pigments. Without sizing, paper can be highly absorbent and valued for depth and vividness, allowing painters and calligraphers further complexity to their imagery and characters. Professional brush painters look for the rate of ink absorption. Plus they look for a well-formed sheet which will have an even ink bleed no matter where you place your wet brush. Many of the pros use paper without sizing. Burnished, pressed, or "calendered" paper surfaces will often be sufficient to slow or stop paint from unwanted bleeding. You can bet that most papers from Asia are not sized. fricka-artist/writer/editor our papers help tell your story • want more?