2023: The Year of Paper in Rhode Island February 02 2024

TO: You wonderful people that continue to support my world of paper and fiber arts FROM: Lauren Pearlman Sugita
For me, 2023 was all about E X P A N S I O N! Only about 1/2 a year ago, a lovely, large studio space was found and a new partnership began. It's still a work in progress, but it has an official name the "Art Annex" located in Pawtucket, RI; 2 miles up the road from Paper Connection.
This new studio, which is about 1500 sq. feet, provides a creative space for gathering both the interesting and interested; it allows me the freedom to connect with folks in my community in person. and, of course, to finally get to enjoy using and sharing state-of-the-art tools and equipment via teaching and learning. Check out the very first blog post about the Art Annex. In the 2nd half of 2023, the Art Annex was able to open its doors for: a. fiber & paper clinics, b. papermaking, printmaking and weaving demos, c. open houses, and national conference tours, d. workshops in printmaking, book arts, weaving, and papermaking taught by us and by guest instructors.
In the Year of the Dragon: 2024- There is so much more to look forward to! Here's to even more art making in 2024!!
Thank you always for your continued support of my endeavors. PS. Will I see you in early April at SGC International? Happy to show you around the new space! PPS If you have a proposal for a workshop, presentation, event or collaboration at the Art Annex, please reach out via email.

Susan & Mari: friends who collage January 02 2024

Susan Hartman:

Mari and I have different stories about what we do with our creative grist. I credit Mari for getting me rolling with projects. We inspire one another regularly with new ideas. In 2020 cancer loomed - leading me to an "early retirement" and prompting a new perspective. "By 2022, my treatment was finished, and my life changed." I became a support to other survivors through a website capturing personal stories with helpful resources. Mari introduced me to Wellness Coins, coins with inspirational messaging, which I left at my cancer center in Providence, RI gifting to others. In the past year, I've made over 250 pieces, branching into creating journals and items using similar creative collaging and Paper Connection's *Pastiche collection of paper samples. I include additional material transfers from my garden plantings. Sometimes my pieces become large compilations which I break into other imagery. Any leftover scraps become something else with no waste of materials or resources. Mari is a super clever person and does amazing work. She offered the first light of encouragement during a time of uncertainty.

"We are a great support to each other on our separate and unique journeys."

Mari Ryan:

My creative journey has had many starts and stops.

In 2003 I picked up photography, which has remained my primary creative outlet. By 2019 I started attending a monthly creative networking group, learning collage. I was smitten with collecting paper and playing with a variety of techniques. When the pandemic hit, I knew I had fostered the perfect hobby. Since then, I have expanded my interests including mixed media and watercolor. 2021 brought a new home allowing space for an art studio. I knew this to be a key as I worked less and created more.

"My art certainly is therapeutic for everyday life and the friendship with Susan is so valuable."

*note from Paper Connection: although the Paper Pastiche monthly subsription pack has been halted for now, we are making "Odds & Ends" collage packs described in our recent blog post: Way to Play.

Way to Play January 02 2024

For explorers of artisan papers, we offer sampler sizes so you can experience color, weight, fold, cut, and sculpt capabilities without big-size paper commitments. Once you find your next love, you can go all out!collage packs

Jane’s Odds & Ends 1oz
Thank you, Jane, for nurturing these sweeties. Our 1-ounce bags are purely delicious. Unique papers to inspire art/craft/design. Buy anytime. Don’t think you’ll find two packets identical! How exciting is that! Get more details on our shop site below. And find our new addtition to our collage line up, the 2-ounce pack!
Jane’s Odds & Ends 2oz

Let us know what you think. We love hearing from you!

(click image below to see our little Instagram reel-video showing the "making of odds & ends).

A Conversation with Lisa Goddard July 13 2023

Enjoy our conversation with artist Lisa (Elizabeth) Goddard, as she describes her reckoning through creating.

PC: How would you define your artwork, technique, and paper application?

LG: I am a printmaker, painter, and in recent years a quilt-maker. My main printmaking processes are woodcut, etching, and monotype. Through Paper Connection, I was introduced to the Korean paper-felting technique, joomchi, which was a perfect fit for a recent exhibition for the Mark Twain House & Museum of the Printmakers’ Network of Southern New England from March 2022-January 2023.

PC: Are you willing to share insights into your process and current projects?

LG: I admit to being a Yankee, so I hate to waste anything! I began to create paper quilts in order to reuse or recycle parts of woodcut prints that were beautiful, although they had defects that would prohibit them from being part of an edition of prints. By cutting these prints into pattern sections, I have been able to develop a new format for my art.
Using Joomchi
Uncomfortable Quilt
As it turns out, the choice of quilt patterns, and the stitches I have used, strengthen the meaning of the imagery. A perfect example is my quilt for the Mark Twain exhibit called “Uncomfortable Quilt”. I selected the log cabin pattern to be in keeping with the time of Huckleberry Finn, one of my central characters in the quilt. Huck wrestled with the dilemma of whether to turn Jim in as a runaway slave, something his upbringing in a small Missouri town mandated, or to help Jim to freedom as he recognized Jim’s humanity. I felt that Huck’s awakening matched my own as I faced the violence so many African American citizens face at the hands of police. The other individuals represented in my quilt are George Floyd, Freddie Gray, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and Michael Brown, who all were brutally killed by police. As I was stitching the quilt, I realized that the stitches used were consistent with the themes of slavery and freedom as well as our contemporary issue of unjust use of force and the death of African Americans. Serendipity - or subconscious thought - must have guided me to choose the running stitch, the chain stitch, and the whip stitch, which are pretty typical embroidery stitches.
Uncomfortable Quilt
Whip Stitch Detail
When I was halfway through sewing the quilt together, I realized the connection between subject matter and method. I can tell you, the hair stood up on the back of my neck!

PC: Why do you create? What is the meaning behind your work?

LG: I have always felt compelled to share my human story and to listen and absorb the stories of others. I believe that the arts make us more human. The arts create empathy and understanding among people all over the world, including from past to present lives. I create with the hope that my stories will resonate with people today and in the future.

PC: What influences inspire you and why?

LG: Life in all its beauty inspires me. I feel part of a vast existence of which I am a minuscule part. This helps me to appreciate my insignificance and to feel immense gratitude for the life I have. I hope to inspire my viewers to feel reverence for our world and our shared existence and to pass it forward.

"I realized the connection between subject matter and method. I can tell you, the hair stood up on the back of my neck!"

PC: How did your creative journey bring you to this place?

LG: As part of the Printmakers’ Network of Southern New England, I enjoy the group projects we do. Having been a museum director until 2015, I knew the executive director of the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, CT. I proposed a project idea to the printmakers and then took it with their blessing to the museum. The result was the exhibit called “The Evocative Mark Twain Inspires the Printmakers’ Network of Southern New England.” The printmakers each chose an authentic quote(s) by Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) and created their own art to reflect their response to the quote. My quote from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn reflected his struggle with slavery which paralleled my own struggle with the police killings of African American citizens.
Text for Unforgettable Quilt
For my own piece, I wrote the following wall text:
George Floyd
“After George Floyd was murdered by police in Minneapolis in 2020, I experienced an awakening not unlike Huck’s in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I was listening to former RNC chairman Michael Steele as he described “The Conversation” that Black parents have with their children about what to do and say when confronted by the police. Startled, I realized that I had never had this talk with my parents. I had not had this talk with my children. Being white, no one needed to warn me about the danger of being stopped by police. After all, they were good, weren’t they? Maybe not so much… So began my journey as an artist, producing etchings of George Floyd, Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, and Eric Garner. Ultimately, producing etchings from these drawings caused me to feel their humanity deeply and to mourn them.”

PC: Do you ever feel stagnant? If so, how do you break through?

LG: Of course, I have moments of stagnation. Sometimes I find cleaning up my flat files and studio space helps to jump-start me. Sometimes I am renewed by challenging myself to do 100 abstract monotypes, as I did when I retired from my position as Executive Director of the Newport Art Museum. Sometimes, it is just doing some work that is terrible and just pushing through with elbow grease that unlocks my creativity.

PC: Can you describe the importance of paper (or other mediums) in your work, what type of paper (medium) do you use most, and why?

LG: Paper comes from trees. So does the wood I use for woodcuts. There is a connection I feel with the natural world, particularly with trees, so I like to think there is a divine presence guiding me in working with paper. I do love the feel and the tones of Hahnemühle Copperplate. I also love natural papers such as Lotka from Nepal. I often draw in sketchbooks made of this paper. For the quilt, I used Hanji-(Korean) mulberry paper and Taja white cotton rag.

PC: Why this medium? Can you elaborate/reflect on your work and future forecasting?

LG: I studied printmaking when I was in college, but I was frustrated because the process took so long. I wanted the immediacy of painting. Then in my forties, I returned to printmaking and it was the complexity of the process and the mental dexterity needed to create multi-plate woodcuts and photopolymer etchings that kept me engaged and stimulated ever since. Sometimes life comes full circle.

PC: Are there papers from Paper Connection that you can speak about, provide insights, elaborations, process, and/or integrity of quality?

LG: When I visited Lauren at the Paper Connection in Providence, RI to purchase paper for the quilt, she introduced me to the luscious Korean felting paper called Hanji as well as to the technique of felting itself. This inspired me to try felting. It “felt” right to use in my quilt project. I was able to select shades of red and blue that had equal values as I created the log cabin pattern of dark to light squares. (red for blood and blue for police)

PC: Are there questions no one has asked concerning your creative process, philosophy, or recent experience you’d like to share?

LG: What would life be like if you stopped making art? Would you move to another medium of expression?

PC: Do you have any upcoming shows or installations in progress? If so, please provide info so we can direct our readers.

LG: I am included in a new exhibit of the Printmakers’ Network of Southern New England at the Cahoon Museum of American Art in Barnstable, MA. It runs from April 19-June 18, 2023.

PC: Thank you Lisa! especially for your candid description of your emotional and physical reactions while making the "Uncomfortable Quilt", made from paper.

It has been wonderful to learn about you and your work via your "conversations" with historical figures and influences.

To check out more about Lisa and her artwork, plus her current and past exhibit information, click on the link below.

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"


front and back with PCI papers


"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."

Amy Trendler ❤️s Our Yuzen & Lokta Papers March 13 2023


I've been meaning to send photos of books I've made with paper from Paper Connection. These notebooks started for personal use (wavy lines green Laurelai Designs), and gifts to friends & family (yuzen blue waves & lokta white floral on lime). I recently started making books to sell (like your blue katazome - a hard one for me to part with, and the botanical lokta papers).

You'll recognize more from Paper Connection in my shop: I also wanted to send a "thank you" for making these papers available, including where they come from and what they are suited for. I enjoy mixing & matching designs, textures, and paper weights. I've been jokingly, telling people that I'm starting to make books to sell to support my love of acquiring decorative paper. Actually, there is a grain of truth to this humor!

Hanji is my next experiment and I'm thrilled to discover a great selection of Korean-made papers in your shop. I'll be placing another order soon! Thanks again for making all these amazing papers available. Best, Amy T

Editor's Note: Check out Amy's site to see more beautiful pieces using 100% recycled rag paper from India, amate, plus many beautiful combinations of textures and colors. Thank you, Amy!

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?

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 ( Hanji In The House! ( Joomchi! Everybody’s talking about it! ( Artist of the Month: Bill Lorton ( Artist Julie Miller on Joomchi – Korean Paper Felting ( Meet PJ Bergin; Hanji’s Newest and Biggest Fan ( Multimedia Artist – Elisa Lanzi ( Painting & Calligraphy Paper Plunge ( Jeannine Mullan: Space, Layers & Chance ( Play Versus Purpose with A.I.R. Lisa Perez ( artist of the month printmaker Nichol Markowitz ( For my collage work and photo transfers I like to use colored hanji (Korean mulberry paper). - Nichol Markowitz

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