Our Paper World: Origata August 30 2018

Paper Wrapping as Ritual

Although no longer an inexpensive wrap, receiving and giving a gift wrapped in washi, no doubt, evokes for paper lovers a seductive charm. For the Japanese, washi carries a deeper meaning; simply touching it resurrects nostalgic thoughts of the old days.

Cash, either in the form of paper bills or coins, is a gift given on so many occasions in Japan; New Year's, coming of age, weddings, funerals, and births. It is proper etiquette to present money at all times enclosed in an envelope, the okane ire. Due to this ingrained aspect of Japanese culture, there are an abundant variety of money envelopes sold in Japan.
Money envelope decorated with "noshi" (upper right) and intricate paper thread knot. (Collection of Lauren Pearlman)
Noshi is an asymmetrical, diamond-like folded shape attached to gifts to express good wishes. Originally, noshi were made of white paper folded with a strip of dried abalone for good luck. There are various rules of etiquette surrounding noshi depending on the occasion. The noshi is generally placed in the upper right-hand side of a parcel or money envelope and always made from white paper. Paper is a fine layer of polite distance between giver and receiver, in other words, handing something directly (unwrapped) to someone is considered rude. Taking the time to wrap something implies the item within is a gift from the heart. Here is a great description of the history of Origata from the MET: "Since ancient times in Japan, decorative wrapping paper was a part of formal gift-exchange rituals, and knowledge of the art of paper folding (origata) was an essential skill of aristocrats and highranking warriors. The origins of origata can be traced to the Heian period (794–1185), when several styles ofwrapping were developed, including that for poetry, money, and fans. With time several schools of paper wrapping were formed, including, most prominently, the Ogasawara School. Techniques were taught exclusively through oral transmission. By the Edo period, origata became prominent even among commoners." © also see:

A Most Gracious Host August 31 2012

Last month, I visited a very special Japanese calligrapher (書道 shodō artist), who is not actually from Japan. The lovely Rona Conti maintains her studio in Belmont, MA. Rona is gracious, inviting, and informative, besides very talented! It was relaxing and so contemplative to watch her hand dance on handmade paper; each masterful stroke is the result of the eternal process of learning, passion, and patience. To say Rona is a Japanophile would be perhaps an understatement. Specifically, Rona embodies the Japanese aesthetic in her daily life; whether it is the tatami mats under her feet, the ceramics adorning her studio, and most importantly, the discipline she embraces as she approaches her work. See for yourself not just in the studio, but in her pieces as well: Rona's did a fabulous "MU" character on our vintage shikishi boards with a wisteria design shown in the previous slide show. I loved the way the black sumi ink softened the floral design to a brocade effect. Feel free to call Paper Connection for more information about shikishi and other fine papers for sumi-e and shodō .

Eco-Conscious in France February 25 2011

Have you ever been to Urciers, France? I have not myself, but became curious about the place upon hearing about it from one of my colleagues. She recently sold some fabric online to a customer there, and referred me to some pretty cool happenings in the center of France. What most peaked my interest is a charming B&B Sagrolle, where you can make paper out of recycled materials and plant fibers, as well as paint with earth pigments. Other workshops include mixed media and collage, as you immerse yourself in French country living. Wouldn't you love to vacation in a charming B&B in rural France, and hand make some paper to boot? Shown below are some works by Debbie at Sagrolle. You can find more at her art site art-studio-36. She is currently working on making paper using a totally sustainable source of willow fiber. And as a truly green, earth-loving artist would do, she intends to convert the leftover hardwood branch cores into artist charcoal. We look forward to seeing the new works soon. Go Debbie!

How to Say: I love YOU! February 10 2011

Nothing says I love you than a paper depiction of the human heart! Check out Sarah Yakawonis' blog showcasing her work, with the human anatomy as the subject: Don't forget Paper Connection's WE LOVE YOU sale; 20% off on the papers below through Monday, February 14, 2011. Please call 401-454-1436 for pricing.

New Patterns Make you Smile. January 15 2011

Check out our new papers with very happy patterns. These our very own custom color schemes. Hand-carved woodblocks were used to hand-print on tree-free bast fiber paper called LOKTA. Each sheet is approximately 22x30 inches. Why not try them out today? We think on your walls as wallpaper or wall-art would make you smile every time you see them. Click here for quick video about using paper for walls found via AOL. Making happy customers, Paperwomen at Paper Connection International, LLC

And the Pantone Color for 2011 is... December 31 2010

HONEYSUCKLE!Pantone describes the pink hue of honeysuckle as "courageous and confident, a brave new color for a brave new world."

Paper Cutting Popularity December 24 2010

With all the paper cutting art we see, everywhere from ETSY's on-line gallery to the museum or gallery down your street, I asked myself, where did this phenomenon come from? And why is paper cutting so hip right now? It all starts at the beginning; it always does! ...Seeking the origins of the traditional folk art of paper cutting, of course, I would look nowhere else but where paper was born more than 2000 years ago; China! The first symmetrical paper cut can be traced to Xinjiang, China, in the 6th century. This art, called Jian Zhi (cut paper), was most popular starting in the Tang Dynasty (8th & 9th centuries) and used mainly for decorative wall art in the royal courts. From the start, Jian Zhi were produced by the common folk, typically passed from grandmothers to grand-daughters. Today, Jian Zhi are often presented as a gift on auspicious days and days of celebration. Here are two images of present-day, yet intricate Chinese paper cuts. The red one on the left is a Chinese opera character and the multi-colored one below to the right, is a tiger. Both images are mounted on handmade paper to make a greeting card. The Chinese tradition of paper cutting traveled via the silk road to various pockets of the globe, thus, many cultures developed their own version of the art. Above, an image of Polish folk paper cut, called Wycinanki. Below, a present-day Japanese paper cut called Kiri-E, by artist Shoto Kimura.
So I took another look at some of the more renowned and up and coming paper cutters of our day, Peter Callesen, Tom Gallant, Hunter Stabler, and our own Providence based, emerging RISD artist Lois Harada.
Although talented and established as these artists are, how do they contribute to the trend in paper cutting? Or is it just that there is more exposure to the craft? I hope a paper cut artist will enlighten me...