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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. contactus@paperconnection.com

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.

Starting a Creative Collective May 13 2022

Imagine a world in which we share our gifts.

When resources are scarce, we can pull ourselves inward. Like the folk story, Stone Soup, where the villagers did not want to offer their food to strangers simply because they were strangers. They wanted to remain isolated - to shut out people they felt ungenerous toward, depriving themselves at the same time. We would all feel richer, sharing and receiving, with equal abandon and abundance. In the same vein as the Stone Soup strangers, Kelsey Pike and Adri Luna had the genius to create a vision of feast and good fortune that needed testing, and the journey of Cherry Pit Collective was born.
Simple Beginnings:
Kelsey Pike was looking for a studio space for her hand papermaking business. She longed to reignite a communal studio much like her art school days. Kelsey saw an article about Maker Village, a community wood and metal shop in an underdeveloped area of downtown Kansas City, Missouri. She inquired about available space, explaining her vision: The idea of a communal studio for artists, makers, and creatives where the work and vision of women, non-binary, and marginalized genders/communities are supported and celebrated. The building owners loved the idea as they had been rehabbing the space and were ready to install final details.
Looking towards the Collective's front-facing windows.
Artists need adequate lighting for work throughout the day and night, heating & cooling throughout the year and plenty of electrical outlets for various tools required to create.
Ignited by the first steps, Kelsey and Adri Luna began forming and refining. Working with the landlords, they designed and build-out (and eventually up) the interior space that would become Cherry Pit Collective.
Part of the Pit Collective.
Enter and feel a sense of comfort, inclusion, and safety.
The warehouse, nestled between Maker Village KC and Oddities Print Shop, resides in the center of Kansas City, MO, near the corner of 31st and Cherry. Kelsey and Adri loved the exposed brick interior, thirty-foot ceilings, and tons of natural light from its south-facing glass panel front. There is a mixture of wood and cement floors and an additional skylight at the apex of the roof. The vision was open-ended studio spaces ranging from thirty to two-hundred square feet with simple wooden partitions designating each maker space while still creating community. They kept the basement open with its ten-foot ceilings. Most of the work was completed in 2016. By the summer of 2021 the final touch of a loft, financed by the building owners, was completed. The loft area, built towards the back of the building, houses an ingenious papermaking set-up, washer & dryer, plus an area used for orders and shipping needs.
How did they do it? Money & Resources.
Viewpoint from the front door.
One: Friends & Family Two: Kickstarter & Exceptional Donors Three: Shear Hutzpah Kelsey and Adri wanted to create a space to support female-identifying and marginalized genders/communities.

- There was a story to tell.

A look-see at a workspace.

Like many makers and artists, most work from home, their bedrooms, kitchens, dining room tables, and ill-equipped basement spaces doing double duty. Creators pushed projects aside to accommodate family, children, roommates, day jobs, side businesses, and housework, with a lack of professional places to discuss collaborations and projects that were safe and quiet enough. Cherry Pit Collective would provide dedicated spaces for members to create, meet, and make, leaving home responsibilities to arrive at Cherry Pit Collective. Folks could come ready to work, focused, with space, light, comfort, and community, no longer isolated but in a safe environment for the development and growth of female-fronted businesses. Members would work together to support and promote each other through a shared workspace, shared environment keeping, costs, benefits, and risks. The collective would include monthly programming and skill-sharing events while creating a community of local makers - fostering collaboration over competition. So, in June of 2016, Kelsey and Adri ran a Kickstarter to raise $10,000 for a building deposit and final build-out expenses. For thirty-six days, Kickstarter offered possibilities. Cherry Pit Collective supplied their vision video and perks to backers for exclusive items made by local artists and folks who would be bringing their creativity and community to the Collective. In addition, throughout the campaign, the fledgling collective-to-be hosted a final push event called the Cherry Bomb-A-Thon. The campaign was a success and ended up $180 over the $10,000 goal. ​The Kickstarter took care of much-needed lighting, heating, cooling, and the build-out of electric outlets, making the space more affordable for its members at the get-go.
Welcome to Cherry Pit Collective.
Paying for these expenses upfront, with funds from friends, family, colleagues, and patrons keeps the space more affordable for members. In addition to crowdfunding efforts, they supplemented with annual fundraising events, classes, and monthly fees from members. If you are an artist or craftsperson in the Kansas City area, you may benefit from the minds at Cherry Pit Collective. They host workshops and classes on topics small art businesses need to succeed, such as craft fair booth set-up, filing taxes, fine-tuning SEO for your online shop, and how to get products into local businesses. Q & A with Kelsey Pike What are some obstacles to creating a Collective? In the beginning, we had trouble finding the right balance of work between members. As members grew to know and trust one another and felt autonomy and agency as members of the collective, it was increasingly easy to divide tasks based on personal interests and skills.
Crysta Henthorne - Illustrator, Graphic Designer, and Painter.
Members handle all aspects of managing the collective, including cleaning, promotional work, class programming, event coordination, and member recruitment. What is the significance of being a female-only space? The original mission was to fill the studio with hard-working artists & makers. The first dozen happened to be female-identifying which worked so well that we intentionally moved in that direction, making members feel comfortable, safe, and relaxed while working, freeing themselves, which is sometimes challenging in male-centric workplaces. How important is networking for artists and makers? A community feel is deeply integral to networking, rather than trying to meet the right people or make specific connections. Our collective builds on members with varying skill levels and backgrounds. Businesses are a decade or older, while others are just starting. The aim is to learn from each other. Fresh perspectives help seasoned makers see different vantage points, and established artists offer experiential advice. Members encourage each other to try new approaches, share unique specialties and support each other.
Kelsey Pike working in her papermaking studio.
Kelsey, how did you begin your business - Sustainable Paper+Craft? I learned papermaking in 2010 when I took a class at KCAI called Materials & Methods. I fell in love with the process and decided to make paper for the rest of my life. I started an Etsy shop at the end of that year. The original concept was to sell handmade paper sketchbooks I made as a studio project. The initial sketchbooks sold out. I did the math and realized the direction had to change, and selling loose paper sheets to other artists became the focus. In my senior year, dreading graduation and no longer having access to the paper studio, the thought of never making paper was disheartening. I finished with a degree from the Kansas City Art Institute in Art History and a minor in Printmaking. I tried for grants and got rejected, so I combined my Etsy profits with graduation gifts and purchased my own Hollander beater and other studio equipment that I still use. Initially, how important was branding to you with Sustainable Paper+Art? At the start, my concern with branding was minimal. My primary focus was making the highest quality papers that would perform in a way that brought people back for more. Over time, I made a logo, picked a font, created a website with photos, and it all went uphill from there. Did you have a mission when starting Sustainable Paper+Craft? I had no mission. I just knew I loved making paper and was good at it. More than anything, I wanted people to use what I was making because of its beauty, functionality, a pleasure to the eye, and forgiving qualities.

Kelsey's advice for fledgling makers/starting their own company

Sharpen your craft ⋅ Spend hours, days, and months learning ⋅ Become the expert ⋅ Travel if you can ⋅ Learn from masters ⋅ Read the books ⋅ Never stop practicing and stretching yourself ⋅ Listen and give back

What are the challenges creatives face in your city? Kansas City is a great place to live because it is still relatively affordable. As an artist or entrepreneur, you can pursue your creative interest and still afford to live comfortably. This idea is not lost on the community here and has created a saturation of creatives. With saturation in any field comes competition, the fear that every new venture is somehow detracting from your own. I confirm there is space for further cultivation of new ideas to develop success.
Kelsey Pike and Lauren Pearlman at Cherry Pit Collective in Kansas City, Missouri.
What physical aspects of your co-working community make people feel at home and welcome? The space has several shared areas, open to all members, making it feel like a cozy home. The kitchen, large communal eating area, lounge, and a big backyard with a fire pit give space to individuals outside their studio. Workspaces are open to the communal area, encouraging exchange between studio mates. It is impossible to arrive and not see who else is working, welcoming conversation and closeness. What are your top 3 tips for people hesitant to join a co-working space? We designed our membership admission process to ensure a mutual best fit. Our written application requires answering personal questions, then informal interviews and coffee meetings with members. If the candidate passes all these gateways, we know they will be a great addition, ensuring we have chosen them based on fit and what they offer the collective, as much as them choosing us. For any collective, Kelsey suggests the following:
  1. Test it out. Depending on the space, this might mean attending an event, going for a tour, or checking out open studio hours.
  2. Be your authentic self from day one. You want to connect with meaning and sincerity. These are people you'll see regularly. Allow them to get to know you and be a support system.
  3. Once your space is secured, spend time there. You make connections by showing up.
  4. If applicable, try volunteering in a way that will make you a valuable member of your community.
Cherry Pit Collective stands on ancestral land, honored with gratitude, the land itself and the people who have and continue to steward it - to the people of Kiikaapo (Kikapoo), Wazhazhe Mazhá (Osage), Kaw (Kansa), and Očhéthi Šakówin (Sioux). Kelsey Pike 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 programs fostering collaboration over competition. You can locate Kelsey and view Cherry Pit Collective: Kelsey@Sustainablepapercraft.com cherrypitcollective.com Cherry Pit Collective on Facebook Cherry Pit Collective on Instagram
Fricka Jones - Artist, Writer, Editor
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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


Friends of Dard Hunter Conference: Earth | Paper | Sky October 04 2016

Paperwoman is excited to attend the annual Friends of Dard Hunter conference, Earth | Paper | Sky, in Santa Fe, NM, October 20-23, 2016. With an emphasis on sustainability, water conservation, and global warming, a mission for all who attend is to ensure a "better tomorrow." Papermakers, artists, conservators, historians, and others active in the world of paper will have a full schedule comprising of panel discussions, demonstrations, the annual business meeting, and a silent auction. Various venues such as the Georgia O'Keefe Research Center, New Mexico History Museum, Museum of International Folk Art, and the Santa Fe Botanical Garden host the many events. We are sure the breathtaking and limitless landscape of the Southwest will be an inspiring backdrop for such an important theme this year for the Friends of Dard Hunter annual conference. Not registered? The Paper Trade Fair is open to the public. It will be held in the lobby of the New Mexico History Musem, on Friday, October 21, and Saturday, October 22, 2016. Paper Connection will participate and carry handmade materials, available for sale, such as these mini sugeta (screens). unnamed See you there!

Hands in the Slurry June 30 2015

Well believe it or not, I rarely get a chance to actually pull sheets, make artwork or do anything with paper except count it, wrap it and ship it. But just last month I had a full day finally using that other side of my brain.IMG_3132 Yes! A whole day of paper making with Michelle Samour at the Museum School, Boston, MA.
Cooking kozo pulp Cooking kozo pulp
Cooked Thai kozo pulp. Cooked Thai kozo pulp.
Michelle "charging" the vat. Michelle "charging" the vat.
IMG_3124 (1)
couching my sheet couching my sheet
couching step 2 couching step 2
IMG_3134 It was a pleasure and a joy and I learned so many PAPER MAKING-IN-STUDIO tips.
LPPaper2_resizedB A little bit of pulp painting with stencils
A little bit of embedding. A little bit of embedding.

Thank you sensei Michelle Samour!

I took this photo below of Michelle in Cleveland, 2012. Check out her latest work recently shown at the Fitchburg Art Museum.
Eyes of God, Michelle Samour Eyes of God by Michelle Samour

Hanji Meets the World January 10 2015

Without a doubt Koreans are passionate about their kimchi and have successfully shown the rest of the world what they're boasting about. After attending a hanji-Korean paper- symposium entitled " A Thousand Years Old Hanji, Meets the World" , I have no doubt hanji too will soon be rolling off everyone's tongue! Korean kimchihanji symposium, ksdf, Korean Craft and Design Foundation Hanji is one of the finest papers in the world and certainly has many die-hard fans. It is, however, still less known in the global market compared to other Asian papers, i.e. Japanese (washi), Thai, or even Indian cotton papers. SO WHAT ARE SOME OF THE UNIQUE QUALITIES OF TRADITIONAL HANJI? webal -style sheet formation, no top locking screen, side to side dip, each sheet is double-couched in 2 opposite vertical directions, log rolled over couched sheet to elimate air bubbles and possibly helping release pulp from bamboo screen, and dochim: burnishing or hammering process which flattens, increases the density of paper. SAMSUNG CSC20141217_15213120141217_152128 Most of the attendees from foreign countries were book and paper conservators from places like the Tate Gallery in London, the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, and several other world-renowned institutions. In fact, the focus of the conference was the case for hanji to be used in repair and conservation. Once the special features of traditionally-made hanji were established over a few days, the conservators could better speculate in what particular repair applications hanji would be the right fit. The visit to observe actual papermaking, was one step towards understanding the material at hand and how it may behave with other materials. It was a rare occasion for conservators and papermakers to be sharing each others' daily jobs, but quite key for mutual of understanding between users and makers. For me, this emphasized the need for paper vendors like Paper Connection, as we are really "interpreters" of so many hundreds of paper needs and applications. At Paper Connection we feel it is our role to chronically disseminate and convey information into a paper vocabulary which the maker or manufacturer can relate to. Thanks to the prestigous members of the group, we had the privilege of being invited to a special viewing of the archives of Chonbuk National University, (one of the largest collection of antiquities in Korea); what incredible facilities. Two of my favorite book authors were part of my group: Ms. Aimee Lee and Mr. Nick Basbanes. IMG_5696 As you can imagine, the uses for hanji are endless, also true for almost any other well-made paper. Of course, Paper Connection is honored to carry hanji, both in an array of wonderful colors and neutral tones. Our hanji line is becoming quite popular, and now available here. In 2015, we will be stocking a thicker (96 gsm) hanji for printmaking or for backing, and a new thinner paper for basket cording. Check back here often! We were very lucky guests of the mayor of Jeonju, 20141218_115712where we were treated to feasts and traditional pansori music performance. Jeonju is considered the home of hanji and famous for the old-style architecture maintained in Hanok Village, IMG_9274of course, bibimbap, (rice bowl with meat), and the best pansori singer in the land.SAMSUNG CSC Many thanks again to The Korea Culture & Design Foundation for inviting me to the symposium. It was a great opportunity for me to learn more about hanji and its culture, its applications in conservation, and Korea, of course. A very special thanks to Ms. Bo Kyung Kim of Fides International and hanji artist Ms. Aimee Lee. SAMSUNG CSC Photographs provided by Paperwoman and KCDF.

Artist of the Month: Chuck Lathrop May 30 2014

Many moons ago, on a few occasions, we were lucky to have Chuck Lathrop visit Paper Connection. Back then, Chuck Lathrop lived in nearby Massachusetts and was part of the Monotype Guild of New England. Chuck exposed us to his brave approach to print on ANY surface, resulting in cutting-edge, bold and abstract prints, and we exposed him to traditional, Japanese, fine art papers or washi.

A few years ago, Chuck left our area to start his own studio in the sunny Southwest. Let's talk to Chuck and find out his opinion on paper, and the situation with his own handmade paper with dryer lint! Chuck is never shied away from trying new surfaces; coffee filters, and yes, even dryer lint paper.

coffee filters, beeswax, encaustic 74 Days in the Life of the Artist as Measured in Coffee Filters (used coffee filters, beeswax)
PCI: Please tell us about what you do. CL: Over the last 35 years my work has included printmaking, painting, mixed-media drawings and objects. The landscape has always had a huge influence on my work. At first it was through direct observation or photos, but today I work from within relying on memory, impressions, andemotion to create abstractions. Automatic mark-making is a huge part of my work as well. PCI: Who has inspired you? CL: My artistic influences are varied and too numerous to cite individually. Paul Cezanne and Robert Motherwell standout because my introduction to them coincided with huge changes in my style and motif. Today, there are many contemporary artists I draw inspiration from. PCI: What attracts you to working with paper? What do you like best about working with it? CL: Paper is probably one of the most versatile substrates available to artists and I have enjoyed pushing it to its limits.
West Mesa (Large) mixed media drawing on Kozo West Mesa (Large)
mixed media drawing on Kozo
PCI: How did you hear about our company? CL: I was introduced to Paper Connection International through the Monotype Guild of New England when Lauren Pearlman invited MGNE members to come to PCI’s office (showroom/warehouse) to talk about Japanese paper. PCI: How much knowledge did you have about Japanese papers before using ours? How did we help? CL: Until my introduction to PCI I had only used Western paper and my knowledge of Japanese paper was very limited. What my association with Lauren and PCI did for me was to expose me to a lot more possibilities regarding paper. PCI: What papers do you use of ours and for what process? What did you like about those papers that aided in your creative and/or technical process? CL: Kumohada Unryushi, (now a limited edition paper), and the various weights of Kozo are the ones I use the most frequently. I use the Kozo for monotypes and woodcuts. The Kumohada is utilized for collagraphs and painting. Some of the work on these papers I have mounted to panel and used as a basis for encaustic work. (Please see image below of When the Rhythm Sections Floats I Float Too, encaustic on reduction woodcut on panel).
Untitled, monoprint, using Kumohoda Unryushi paper Untitled, monoprint, using Kumohoda Unryushi paper
PCI: We are learning much about how our papers react to the encaustic process, and we'd love more of your feedback as we are novices to the application.
When the Rhythm Section Floats I Float Too encaustic on reduction woodcut on panel When the Rhythm Section Floats I Float Too
encaustic on reduction woodcut on panel
PCI: We're reminded of your visit and how laundry lint inspired you? CL: As I remember it I was learning how make paper with scraps of museum board, something of which I generally have a quite a bit of in the studio. In my research I ran across a reference to someone using dryer lint. Made sense to me since some Western papers were made from cotton rags hence term “rag paper”. I collected a bunch of lint from the dryer and one day when I was creating paper from museum board I threw some of the lint into the mix towards the end of the day’s session. Consequently the first sheet had a little paper pulp which yielded a light blue-gray and the last sheets had no paper pulp and came out a dark blue-gray. Though I still have some sheets of the paper (both from museum board and lint), I created at the time (the late 1990's), and still work with it on occasion, I found the paper was weak and easily tore when I didn’t want it to tear. Given that I now live the Southwest and water supply is always an issue, especially during the current drought we are in, and the fact that any kind of paper making takes a large amount of water, I probably won’t be making any more paper. PCI: We commend your awareness and responsible action. What is your experience as far as the strength of Japanese papers versus Western papers? CL: I prefer Western paper when I create paintings and mixed drawings, but for printmaking I prefer the Japanese papers. The Japanese papers don’t hold up well with my painting techniques and tend to fur-up when I draw on them. On the other hand I appreciate the quality of the Japanese papers when I’m making prints because there is a beautiful difference on how they receive the ink regardless of the strength. I don’t think Eastern paper is necessarily stronger than Western paper. A paper’s strength is largely dependent on the length of its fibers and what it is made of. I suspect some of the Eastern papers maybe stronger, but on the other hand, I would also guess some of the Western papers might be stronger. Other issues in this discussion are the questions: What will the paper used for? Will it be dampened or soaked? How absorbent is the paper dry or wet? PCI: Those are all very good questions that one should ask before purchasing paper. Our famous bonus question: If you could have a conversation with any artist present or past, who would it be? And would you talk about paper? CL: Yikes! There are so many I would like to have a conversation with that if I had the chance I would gather them around a table, if a large enough one could be found, just to talk about art. PCI: We'll provide the drinks! For more on Chuck Lathrop, please visit his website: www.chucklathrop.com. Chuck has recently established an online journal: www.nmartreview.com. We enjoyed the discussion, "On Serious Art." An upcoming show at the Downtown Contemporary Gallery, in Albuquerque, NM, will feature Chuck along with other printmakers. The show opens May 30th. If you are in the Albuquerque area then please go!