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: 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.

Clean Paper: Scenes from May Babcock's Papermaking Classes October 17 2013

Our latest paperwoman, Ms. May Babcock, certainly has been busy these days. She has now become a regular fixture at Providence's AS220, teaching papermaking. This long overdue class has been filled to capacity, with eager paper newbies ready to get their hands wet and minds inspired by May's expertise. Using sustainable fibers, May implements traditional yet easy-for-the-beginner papermaking with good, old-fashioned recycling. CLEAN, green PAPER: story by a guest paper-blogger. At a recent demonstration, held at Jean Winslow's studio in Lowell, Massachusetts, May helped the eager crowd to turn to invasive species as a source of fiber for papermaking. Think codium, an invasive seaweed that is in plentiful supply along our beautiful Atlantic coast. The goopy water that May said resembled "salsa verde", (we were thinking a thick miso broth with extra wakame too), soon had many hands agitating the shredded seaweed to equally balance its own density in the water. Then with one swift scoop at a 45 degree angle, we were all shuffling our seaweed across a small screen. Following May's instructions of "opening and closing a door", we removed our newly-formed sheet on pieces of felt and pelon, with a hinge-like move that closed the screen down on the felt, and opened it up again using the same side of the deckle from which we placed it down. After rolling and squeezing the sheet, we then proudly dried it on a sheet of plexiglass. So we were beginners, but looked with awe as we formed our papers and watched them dry. As we brought our sheets home, we were excited to figure out how we would use this handmade sheet. My codium paper? Safely nestled on my bookshelf along with jars of collected shells from southern Rhode Island I caved in to the nautical theme. At least it's with the hope of making some space for native seaweed species along Cape Cod, one sheet at a time. See more of May's papermaking adventures with local local fibers at May Babcock's blog.

Stripped Down February 17 2012

This artwork by Nathalie Boutté simply awed, amazed, and inspired me: She recycles paper strips into these simple, yet obviously complicated, images: I have some leftover strips of washi hanging around the office, literally, strips. I mean, tiny strips. But let's not give anything to waste. So, if anyone is willing to up-cycle and create something beautiful with it, give me a ring!
Merci, Nathalie!

Chigiri-e vs. Pulp Painting October 06 2010

Chigiri-e literally means torn paper collage. Chigiri (pronounced with a hard "g") and e (pronounced like "ay" as in "hay". Chigiri is the noun form of the verb "to tear" and e is any kind of art picture: collage, painting, drawing, etc. When you see one of these detailed collages in person, it's hard to believe the image is nothing but paper. Of course, not just any paper, the process will work best with washi- Japanese paper. Check out this Chipmunk Chigiri-e by Etsy artist: Michiko Yoshida. Traditionally scissors are not used (but are not prohibited!). Washi torn by hand produces a soft edge, ideal for blending colors and creating a 3-D effect. Pulp Painting is the bigger category and chigiri-e fits into this English term. There are many techniques of "painting" with pulp. Two highly-respected paper artists,(not just by me, but all over the world), whom I know from my days in Boston are, Joe Zina, famous for his stunning floral paper "paintings" (click to his name to see one image) and for co-founding Rugg Road Paper Company, back in the '80s, and Michelle Samour, who teaches, writes and takes pulp painting in yet a completely different direction; a completely new latitude.