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Hand Papermaking in RI November 04 2023

During 89 yrs young Ayako Yoshizumi's tough schedule of teaching, lecturing and doing demonstrations while visiting lil' ol'Rhode Island , (please read previous blog post), I was so grateful to have several incredibly hard-working volunteers helping, who also maintain a great appreciation of hand papermaking and tradtional crafts. Here is a wonderful blog post by one of our favorite supporters: "Ms. Noriko Crasso", who is a talented local artist in many mediums. This is Noriko's original blog post in Japanese: https://www.hamaguri.net/chatting/art-annex-papermakin The English version is below here. Thank you Noriko! I am so happy that you were inspired to write this post. Lauren

“Art Annex” Papermaking Workshop

I went to a paper-making workshop hosted by Lauren from Paper Connection, who is helping out with the Tanabata Festival.

Lauren's papermaking teachers, Ayako Sensei and her daughter Tomo WASHI YOSHI, were visiting from Japan. Ayako-sensei is now 89 years old, but she is still in good health! With her spine straight, her eyes were drawn to the image of her mixing water with kozo.

The American participants in the workshop communicated with each other through gestures, which made me happy as well.

The plant ``Kouzo'', which is the raw material for paper, is mixed with water along with ``neri'' or ``yam'', which acts as ``glue'', and then filtered in a sieve.
Shake the screen back and forth to drain the water and distribute the kozo evenly.
Carefully remove the paper from the screen, dry it in the sun, and it's done.

At the ``WASHI YOSHI'' workshop held in Japan, we deliberately sand the mulberry to make it uneven in the bamboo basket, layer colored mulberry on top of each other, and create small holes in the mulberry. It seems that each participant is enjoying the original art.

In addition to paper making, I also learned how to make Kinkarakami paper. You can make such wonderful things! I was so impressed! (My son loves gold, so he was overjoyed when I brought it home.)

We use paper casually on a daily basis, but when you think about how each sheet of paper used to go through many processes in the past, it makes you think, ``Thank you so much,'' even for paper made with machines today. ” It seems that the feeling will grow!

Ayako-sensei carefully checking the drying paper was illuminated by the sunlight and looked very impressive.
Ayako-sensei checking that the paper is dry

Thank you very much Lauren-san, Ayako-sensei, and Tomo-san! Thank you for your hard work!

``WASHI YOSHI'' Instagram You can see the workshop held in Rhode Island and creative works using various handmade washi papers.

"Art Annex" Instagram This is the studio of LAUREN PEARLMAN SUGITA and SUZI BALLENGER in Pawtucket . Various interesting workshops are held here. ● ``Paper Connection'' website Lauren's company sells Japanese paper and Japanese paper accessories.

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: paperexperts@paperconnection.com

Eastern Aesthetics Inspire Suzanne Lee March 31 2023

kimono fabric and baby dogwood
The early 1970s. Manhattan. Suzanne Lee started in the fashion industry. For nearly 25 years, she built design lines in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, The Philippines, China, Thailand, and India. The travel awakened a cultural perspective and love of contemporary Asian art, calligraphy, antique Chinese furniture, and Japanese papers & gardens. By 1981 Suzanne's love of all things Asian created the Chi-lin art gallery, housed in a circa 1780 farmhouse in Laconia, New Hampshire. Initially, Chi-lin was an escape from the hectic New York day-to-day. The gallery later moved to its own building surrounded by a Japanese tea garden called Satori. Suzanne remembers with delight buying elegant tapestry-covered books & beautiful brushes in a Shanghai paper store - wandering the back streets of Tokyo to find the Washi Museum, spending hours in Kyoto temples surrounded by master paintings and gardens, and sitting with fiber artist Hisako Sikijima, in her tiny studio. In 2017 The Lakes Gallery at Chi-lin moved back to its farmhouse in Laconia, surrounded by the Asian-inspired art so very much loved. Winters are full of plans for upcoming shows and opportunities to visit and work with other artists and work on original designs. Exhibits run online and by appointment year-round. Varied hours, events, and poetry readings lace the late spring and continue through late fall. Note: On Suzanne's site, read the series about Process—the chronicled steps in creating art, the time, consideration, and work behind a creative piece. These are quick reads from several artists. Very enjoyable.
the Pomo Indians continue to be a large inspiration for Suzanne's baskets
Fiber Work: Suzanne started with wax linen and raffia over reed-coiled baskets. Although time-consuming, the uniqueness of the baskets (made dry) - makes magic when molded. Suzanne continues to make baskets. Additional calligraphy creates her signature pieces.
xuanzhi, Eastern papers nature card front and back with PCI papers
Suzanne now has a studio for calligraphy and newfound knowledge of Islamic geometry and miniature painting. Thanks to online classes at The Prince's Foundation School of Traditional Arts in London. She believes she is one of the few not using watercolors, preferring either thinned-down Schmincke Calligraphy Gouache or Schmincke Aero Color (luscious colors and metallics that are easy to mix). As a calligrapher, she uses raised gold leaf in her work, tooling to add depth and texture to nature's creations. Suzanne often tries new colors and leafing techniques as minis for practice, usually ending up on cards. Since lockdown, her fairytale, incorporating newly learned techniques, comes to life — of course, this is a story about trees & flowers.
tooled gold flowers with "Flecked Nest"

Suzanne teaches very personalized Nature Card workshops limiting participation to four. Contact Suzanne with interest.

. . . it's my favorite way to share an art anyone can have fun learning and easily continue on their own.

For many years Suzanne has made and taught the how-to's to dried botanicals, Asian papers, ribbons, raised gold leaf, and a unique form of Japanese fabric collage, creating handmade books and cards. Handmade books and cards combine her passion for gardening with Asian fabrics and paper. When there is a need for expression, Suzanne carefully presses leaves, flowers, ferns, and grasses during summer and fall for a winter cache.

With Paper Connection’s Paper Pastiche each month I get a sampler of papers to consider for my workshops and play.

If you visit the Delray Beach area in Florida, there is a marvelous exhibit at Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens.
xuanzhi, Eastern papers nature card with "Embossed Leaves"

visit: thelakesgallery.com

front and back with PCI papers

contact: suzanne@thelakesgallery.com

www.facebook.com/chilinasianarts

www.instagram.com/thelakesgalleryatchilin/

"Although I have been to Japan many times as a designer, my pipe dream would be to go back and visit the studios of potters or fiber artists I have known and the sites where some of the papers I use and treasure - are made. I hope to learn more about the unique Japanese ways of creation."


Fabulously Flexible Hanji November 13 2022


beauty & texture

the delight of windswept edges

our papers help tell your story

How could hanji (Korean paper) be applied in your creative process?
Hanji is becoming a well-known handmade paper in the West. The base fiber is mulberry or dak, in Korean. Sometimes two fibers are mixed, like dak and samjidak, the Korean version of mitsumata or Edgeworthia chrysantha (part of the Thymelaeaceae family of plants). Paper Connection stocks varied weights and colors as part of our extensive inventory of mostly Eastern fine art papers. Depending on characteristics, these papers perform best within book and paper conservation, with others playing a leading role in printmaking, calligraphy, painting, and papercrafts, such as joomchi (paper felting) or jiseung (paper basketry). Home interiors including sliding doors, lanterns, clothing, fans, and heated flooring, are beautifully created, with hanji papers. Durable, smooth, breathable, and who can resist those deckled edges! We stock almost forty colors of hanji and several whites for specific fields and techniques. You can view current stock by clicking here: hanji. Be inspired! Hanji paper by Lee Sun – Future Materials Bank Hanji Meets the World (paperconnection.com) Hanji In The House! (paperconnection.com) Joomchi! Everybody’s talking about it! (paperconnection.com) Artist of the Month: Bill Lorton (paperconnection.com) Artist Julie Miller on Joomchi – Korean Paper Felting (paperconnection.com) Meet PJ Bergin; Hanji’s Newest and Biggest Fan (paperconnection.com) Multimedia Artist – Elisa Lanzi (paperconnection.com) Painting & Calligraphy Paper Plunge (paperconnection.com) Jeannine Mullan: Space, Layers & Chance (paperconnection.com) Play Versus Purpose with A.I.R. Lisa Perez (paperconnection.com) artist of the month printmaker Nichol Markowitz (paperconnection.com) For my collage work and photo transfers I like to use colored hanji (Korean mulberry paper). - Nichol Markowitz


Discovery: Julie Miller on the Art of Joomchi - Korean Paper Felting August 23 2021

Julie Miller is a science writer, editor, and photographer
Prior to the pandemic, I'd been creating kaleidoscopic images from my photography. Using this design base, I began further discovery, taking a workshop in Joomchi, a 500-year-old Korean technique that assembles layers of mulberry paper, which are wetted, crushed, mashed, and smashed to create felted paper. The layers shrink, pigments bleed, and the paper becomes lacy and develops textures, holes, and striations. The work dries into surprisingly colorful, richly textured, and cloth-like pieces.
Corona Virus
Since then, I've ordered additional mulberry varietals online, mostly from Paper Connection. I've worked with traditional Hanji but have found it fun experimenting with other papers.
Formed from strips of Joomchi
Jiyoung Chung, the artist who introduced Joomchi throughout the west, notes it is both an expressive and a meditative process. “It’s like life,” she says, “through hardships, we become stronger . . . in the process of breaking down and forming new bonds, the paper becomes stronger.”
Fish created with Itajimeshi Bokashi - felted on blue and green wool, includes silk threads, and embroidery.
I’ve continued online classes, adding fiber arts, hand-stitching, and traditional felting - combining paper, wool, and silk. The journey has been both contemplative and soothing. During the pandemic, Joomchi kept me sane and as life opens, I continue my journey, weaving tradition and my perspective.
Squares
Before: Raw Materials including lokta papers, lace papers, patterned hanji. (mulberry paper from Korea).
After: End Product
Julie Miller on PCI papers that tell your story NOTE from PCI: The craft of "joomchi" is still very popular these days. These are our earlier blogs on this topic.

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?

Paper Crafting: Calm within the Storm April 12 2021

Meditative Repetition

Paper Connection's Artist-in-Residence talks about rhythmic ease.
Using PCI Papers
It's wonderful to create but sometimes there is hesitation in starting something new or sometimes we don't consider ourselves a real creator. News Flash: We are creators and have been from the get-go. Take a jog back to your newborn self. You're hungry and wet. Your baby self thinks, "look what happens when I cry." And guess what? That baby got fed and diapered, and all was good in the world. That's the creator speaking. That baby didn't think, "I can't do that." That baby said, "I need to solve these issues I'm having." So don't fake yourself out or analyze too much. Take a minute to realize every solving proposition, every yearning, every curiosity is an opportunity to create. We do it every day without a second thought. Yes, well, we aren't all Michaelangelo. Sure, that's true, but then again, no one is you, except you. I mean - like read Dr. Seuss. He knew this stuff. So here's a fun project to make you laugh out loud and say, "Whoa, look what I just did." Make no mistake, you need to learn. Once you get the hang of creating individual origami-like modules, you'll own your own build. You can repeat and grow your design. Whether waterfall, topographical map, caterpillar, pyramid, or whatever makes you twinkle. No two, like those amazing snowflakes, will ever be quite alike. Get out your paper, straight edge, flat surface, and maybe a gluestick (tape, glue gun, stapler) and I'll show you how to get going. I've even provided a video for all you visual thinkers. Note: This project is meditative, repetitive, and soothing. So put on a rerun of "Sisters," "Sabrina," "Grace and Frankie," "Six Feet Under," or "Chef John." Watch or listen to what makes you happy and if your table needs to be set for 6 p.m. dinner, find an out-of-the-way place to fold, cut, and glue. BTW, easy on the gluestick. It's super great to make your piece changeable. Don't be intimidated. You can do this. It's building blocks that fit together. There is no right way, just your way. Trust in yourself and I beg you, don't hyper-criticalize . . . is that a word? My video helps. I also pulled from the internet a line-drawn folding tutorial you might find helpful module making. So you know, the beginnings of my process did not start with beautiful paper. No way was I using Lauren's (PCI's) handmade paper when I had no clue what I was creating. Be experimental and curious. For example, I used the pages from a catalog the first time around. The paper was way too thin. One sheet wasn't enough so I doubled up (or more). I also found that humidity with "catalog" paper caused major bowing of edges. Fine for an experiment but not great for an end result. Final materials for my piece:
  • PCI Papers: Lokta Paper from Nepal, Hand made An-Jing from China made from Xuan Fiber, Echizen from Japan, Moyou-Shi from Kochi Japan (Note: this process requires that each piece of paper is square and the same size)
  • Straight edge
  • Sharp cutting edge (scissors, Exacto, knife)
  • Matt board (something to cut on that you don't care if your knife makes a mark on)
  • Gluestick (tape, glue gun, stapler)
If you get into the whole origami aspect of this process, here's another cool tutorial area to take you further. I would love to see your creations! Learn How to Make Origami With These Easy Online Tutorials (mymodernmet.com) Diversity of Texture

Contact Lauren @ PCI for great paper options.

All images courtesy of Fricka

fricka - artist in residence - our papers help tell your story. want more? http://paperconnection.com/news/


Providence Monthly Focus on PCI February 26 2021

Check it out!

Lauren P. Sugita | Providence Media (providenceonline.com)
Get a glimpse into Lauren and PCI's match-making capabilities. Thank you Providence Monthly! . . . and Thank You Lauren for making a difference, in Providence for 25 years!! papermaking, washi, Japan, paper


Artist of the Month, Nichol Markowitz February 09 2019

With expressive and thoughtful line, Nichol Markowitz's work engages the fragility of memories and our conceptions of the self. In her words: "As a species our history is preserved through the collective human consciousness; our bodies vessels for the past and the present, knowledge, memory, legends and thought." The imagery is evocative and driven by her desire to "to transform these fleeting moments into monuments to the manipulated, revered, invented, and ingrained histories that define us as a species, a culture, and as individuals." She utilizes a multiplicity of techniques including mokuhanga, copper-plate etching, and Japanese scroll mounting. In her artist statement, Nichol emphasizes "Process is an essential component in the creation of my work," concluding that it "is not merely a means to an end but a meditative experience during which the physicality of carving a woodblock or etching a plate determines the way the image is brought into being.
Q: Where do you source your imagery? My source material consists primarily of photographs and is almost completely derived from my ongoing collection of found and personal photographs. The personal photographs include both family photographs going back to my great grandparents as well as a large catalogue of nature and plant photographs that I have taken myself which I use as both both references for new images and for photo-transfer elements in my works. I am also incredibly inspired by natural forms and frequently reference books with photographs or scientific illustrations of plants, flowers, shells, human anatomy and other natural forms. Q: Who or what do you think has been the most influential in your work? I think that overall, printmaking has left the biggest impression on me. Not only is it the medium that I work in most frequently, but it has also greatly influenced the way that I approach image making in general. I especially appreciate that, although most printmaking processes have been around for 500 years or more, there is still an endless amount of experimentation that can happen within these traditional processes which, to me, makes the medium simultaneously contemporary and traditional. Q: Can you elaborate on how you came to use traditional Japanese scroll mounting techniques and the ways that it has impacted your practice?
“In the Garden of Retrospection”
I started using Japanese scroll mounting techniques about a year after college when I started making my first large-scale mokuhanga prints. For practical and economic reasons I was printing on relatively thin sekishu paper. The sekishu came on a 39 inch roll that was large enough that I wouldn't have to piece together multiple pieces of paper for a single image, which made registration simpler, but came with the downside of appearing a little flimsy, lacking a certain substance as a finished print. At the time, I was working at a fine art press in Hawaii and we were using traditional Japanese mounting techniques to execute a suite of 15 woodblock prints that were each 8 feet x 4 feet. I realized that the same process that we were using for those prints could just as easily be applied to my own work. Since then, it has been a process that is inseparable from my regular art practice, freeing me from size constraints, enabling me to use a wider range of papers and even fabric, and to create archival collages, as well as preserve, fortify, and repair delicate and damaged works.
Q: How would you describe your relationship to washi (Japanese paper) and its significance in your work?
Being a printmaker, I have a deep love for traditional processes and quality craftsmanship. To me, washi embodies both of these qualities, while also being incredibly beautiful and an excellent matrix for a variety of printmaking techniques. Each paper has a different personality and it's vital to the success of a print that the paper is chosen intelligently, with content and process in mind. I use washi consistently for ink painting, mokuhanga, collage, and backing and mounting techniques. While also being aesthetically beautiful, the versatility and strength of washi is what makes it a constant in my artistic practice.
Q: Is there a particular paper that you use more than any other and why? I genuinely love to experiment with all different types of paper; cotton rag, amate, washi, hanji :you name it, I'll try it, but ultimately, my paper choice comes down to what I'm using it for. For etching I love a nice gampi (paper) chine colle on Somerset satin 350gsm paper. For mokuhanga, I prefer heavyweight kozo papers with a healthy bit of sizing, most recently I have been printing on the Sakamoto heavyweight paper that you carry and I love it. For my collage work and photo transfers I like to use colored hanji (Korean mulberry paper) and various colored rag papers. Sekishu is still my go-to for backing. With all that said, there are few papers more beautiful and finely crafted than natural heavyweight Gampi Kitakata. Honestly, everything looks better on gampi! Q: As printmaster for Favianna Rodriguez’s West Oakland studio, we were very excited when you shared your innovations to overcome issues with the fugitive pigments of some hanji (Korean mulberry paper).Can you briefly share with our community your suggestions to deal with this?
“Sapience”
First, and most obvious, is to always display work on paper in frames that are fitted with museum-grade glass or OP-3 plexi. Anything that provides conservation grade UV protection on a broad spectrum will prevent fading. For us, the fugitive pigments started to be more problematic when Favianna started collaging with the hanji papers on birch panels. Since these are displayed directly on the wall without a glass or plexi barrier, I started to experiment with different finishes for protection from fading and ultimately settled on Golden brand MSA varnish with UVLS. This is an acrylic solution polymer that incorporates a system of ultraviolet filters and light stabilizers that is advertised as removable for conservation and cleaning purposes, although I have not tried removing it myself.
“Haven”
This varnish is a bit thick and takes two separate coats, two weeks apart, on an absorbent surface such as paper and, I should warn, is highly toxic and only to be used with appropriate respiratory gear and gloves in a well ventilated space. For aesthetic reasons we have been working with the gloss version of this product, but it is also available in matte and satin. I would recommend choosing your brush carefully as overworking the varnish on the paper surface can cause some abrasion if you're not careful. I personally like to use brushes that have a good amount of flex and a synthetic bristle, nothing too expensive as this varnish will destroy your brush unless you buy the specific Golden brand solvent for this product. I buy the brushes we use from Home Depot, they usually have a decent selection of chisel-tipped finishing brushes that work great. Q: Can you describe a typical day in the studio? I always have several projects at different stages going at any one time so I typically rotate between them. If I'm editioning, everything else gets put on hold and I'm very organized and systematic about working my way through all the steps, from start to finish over several days. If I'm not editioning, first thing, when I get into my studio, I like to do quick brainstorming sketches of new ideas, usually with ink and a brush. This part of my practice is an extension of my sketchbook and is a place where I allow myself to experiment and take risks without judgement. After an hour or two of warming up I transition to more complex pieces that are already in progress and will typically spend the rest of the day focused on a single project like carving woodblocks, planning out a new print, or piecing together intricate collages. Overall, I try to keep a balance between some of the more tedious tasks with the more creative aspects of my practice, moving between the two when I feel tired or hit a creative wall.

Washi in My Everyday Life November 30 2018

washi ningyo, printmaking, kakishibu, unryushi Streaming sunshine illuminates this handmade print on kakishibu dyed unryu paper - illustrating the warmth and translucency of washi. Washi ningyo (paper doll) kimono on right.
Part 2 – Wonderful Washi
Richard Flavin, Ryoko Haraguchi, Sind, Tokyo, kakishibu stitched kaikshibu washi shoulder bag by Richard Flavin and Ryoko Haraguchi.
While washi (Japanese paper) is a long-lasting Japanese traditional craft, how it became an important part of Japanese culture is almost forgotten even by most Japanese. In thinking about washi's role in etiquette, social rituals, and some possibly overlooked utilitarian uses, in this post, I want to show you some of my personal selection of everyday paper items , as well as paper objects I see everyday outside.
knitted paper, paper yarn, shifu, paper thread, paper shawl Knitted paper shawl used as a curtain, allows filtering of light and provides a subtle screen of privacy.
Of course, there are endless applications for paper in the Western world; like its use in thinks book or art conservation, book arts, calligraphy, printmaking, painting, collage and so on. However, there are also those strictly Japanese paper arts, which are fairly well-known to the average modern day Japanese. For example, shōdo (Japanese style calligraphy),
money envelopes with noshi
chigiri-e, landscape, paper painting, paper collage Chigiri-e landscape.
chigiri-e (paper-tearing collage),and washi ningyo (paper dolls). Shōji and fusuma (sliding doors in Japanese style rooms) are quite common home interior components used everyday. Ritualistic uses of paper seen every day in daily life in Japan. Omikuji or horoscope papers tied to a branch or wooden stand.
omikuji, horoscope, superstition, Japanese life Omikuji or paper horoscope tied to a wooden stand on temple grounds. Photo take Sept, 2018
gohei, kamisama, shintoukyou, tohoku gohei (zig zag shaped papers) representing god, with rope (shimenawa) around old, red cypress tree. Photo taken Sept. 2018
Gohei hung from a shimenawa (rope) in this case around an ancient and sacred red cypress tree. Reminiscent of Miyazaki's Tonari no Totoro background scenes, yes? Washi , as you can tell, is one of my first loves in the realm of paper. My relationship with washi grew more intimate after moving to Japan in the 1980's, attempting to immerse myself in the Japanese culture and language. I came to learn that washi's inherent beauty exudes special powers of joy to those who use it. More than 50 years of collecting ephemera, close to 30 years of selling washi ; (now via Paper Connection), and working with the endearing papermakers in Japan, has lead me to this state of chronic washi-on-the-brain. Washi is part of my daily life both physically and emotionally and I really don't mind at all!