Crinkling Paper Techniques FAQs & some paper vocab March 21 2024

Not all crinkled paper is made the same..... and not all crinkled paper is referred to in quite the same way. What does "momigami" refer to? The word "momi" literally means "crinkled" or "kneaded"- It's a descriptor for the following noun "kami" or "gami" (as a suffix) meaning "paper". In Japanese "shi" is also used a suffix meaning "paper". "Momu" is the verb "to knead" in Japanese. There is hand-crinkled paper, typically using "the one-fist-at-a-time" method. That's how we crinkled this heavyweight marbled kōzo paper for facemasks we sewed on a sewing machine. The sheets became softer and more fabric-like the more we crinkled them. The masks were quite comfortable on one's face; the paper was soft for the skin. The image below shows our vintage Momi Kōzo Papers recently added to our shop. The more fancy metallic version are now up on our shop too: Fancy Momi Kōzo Papers. These 2-ply papers are crinkled and dyed on the "front" side, and also have a flat (un-crinkled), white backing. Here's a little video of crinkling paper mask crinkling Absolutely any paper can be crinkled, and can be called "momigami". However, in the world of washi (Japanese paper), we typically see momigami made with a large dyed piece of kōzo paper sometimes known as "mingeishi'. When washi is creped with a tool (instead of the hand) then the paper is referred to as creped in English, however, Japanese it can still be referred to as "momi-something". For example above here is an image of "momi chiyogami" or chirimen- gami . chirimen (creped) gami or kami for paper. Momi chiyogami is crinkled or creped with a straight bar tool; using a tool like a stick or bar, allows you to crinkle or crepe paper a little more evenly; like image above. Above is a before and after photo of turning regular wrapping paper into a creped paper by using a large, traditional, very analogue creping process. What does "kyōseishi" refer to? Kyōseishi = Momigami with starch. In this case, "kyōsei" means "strengthened". The correct word for to refer to a paper both crinkled and starched with konjac or konnyaku is kyōseishi or sometimes "kamiko" if made into large extended lengths of kyoseishi. The photo above depicts a beautiful pillow made out of kyōseishi. Here's a little video on the toughness of kyōsei We also have these gorgeous starched papers covered with gold leaf dust- they are called Kindeishi or (kin) "gold" (dei) "mud" (shi) "paper": in English their nickname is "muddy gold paper". They are basically very starched kyōseishi with gold leaf dust. What is "joomchi" ? Is an ancient Korean craft and the best translation is felted paper, but instead of felting with soap, which one would use with wool, only water and good quality kōzo paper is necessary. Image below depicts the craft of joomchi. Click here for more of our blog posts related to joomchi.
MORE PAPER VOCAB! The word "kōzo" is the Japanese word for the paper mulberry fiber made from what is known in English as the paper mulberry bush or (Broussonetia papyrifera).
The Korean word is "cham dak".
The word "hanji"' is the word for paper hand-crafted in Korea.
The majority of hanji happens to be made from paper mulberry fiber.

Konjac or Konnyaku and Paper January 12 2023

Konjac or Konnyaku -spelled both ways in English and pronounced like the the liquor and place "Cognac", is otherwise known as devil's tongue root. This root is ground into a powder and made into a paste. It is more often made into gelatin in the shape of noodles, retangles, or spheres and used often in the Japanese diet. It's high in fiber and very a healthy starch. Konjac in jelly form is sometimes added to health drinks.

The konjac powder stirred into almost a clear paste has been used for centuries to coat paper especially in making kamiko or paper cloth, like that shown in the photos of the paper cushion and totebag.
konjac treated handmade paper cushion konjac treated handmade paper cushion
Once dry, the treated paper called kyosei-shi or "strengthened" paper, becomes more wind and water-resistant, improving heat retention while remaining breathable and durable. The paper becomes functional for even outdoor use, such as: rain capes and hats, paper show covers, paper buckets, pouches and more. After konjac paste application, the paper appears more textured and feels more leather-like, and will hold its strength, and durability. Kyosei-shi is great for book covers, sewing, stitching, dyeing, and any work requiring strength and more flexibility.
handmade paper tote bag konjac treated, handmade paper totebag
We have paper cushions (not online quite yet) and tote bags available for purchase. If you are interested in purchasing these konjac treated finished products, please email us at for more information. Click here--> konjac powder if you are interested in making your own paste. We were inspired to write about konjac after attending a delightful and informative presentation and workshop at RISD (Rhode Island School of Design)'s printmaking department last month by artist and papermaker Nicholas Cladis from The University of Iowa Center for the Book, where participants experienced the medium.

Artist of the Month: Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord April 28 2015

We here at Paper Connection International have come out of hibernation, finally, after a long, New England winter. Of course the snow has been long gone, but it seemed like cold weather would just never end, and all the elements with it-curling up in our sweaters and scarves, cradling our teas, looking for inspiration in a sunny day. Where inspiration can always be found is in our vast support from artists who not only buy our paper but regularly let us know how well it works in their processes. This month features Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord. SG_bokalokta2We have always admired her work, and are thrilled she ushers in May with her unique perspective. The weather may seem like it's a month behind, and perhaps we are too with our AOM, but Susan is worth the wait. PCI: What kind of artwork do you do, Susan? SKG: I make artist's books that I have named them SPIRIT BOOKS which combine natural materials and handmade papers to celebrate the spirit of nature. Here’s a statement about them: The Spirit Books bring together my love of the book and my response to the natural world that we see and the invisible one that lies behind it. I feel a deep connection to older powers as I gather twigs, branches, vines, and roots. Using them to cradle books, I link them to the longstanding tradition of books as testaments of faith and belief. Each page is a meditation that echoes nature with both repetition and variety. “Reading” the book is meant to be a contemplative experience that takes the reader out of the everyday world and into a state of gratitude and reverence.
Illuminating Grace Lokta paper pages from PCI; stitching with gold thread and rose thorns,  amate paper cover Illuminating Grace
Lokta paper pages from PCI; stitching with gold thread and rose thorns, amate paper cover
PCI: And we certainly do need to be taken out of the everyday world at times. What is the source of your inspiration? SKG: I think the above statement describes my inspiration from nature and the book. I’d also like to honor the person who I consider my mentor, the late Jenny Hunter Groat. She was a modern dancer, a calligrapher, a painter, a Zen Buddhist, a deep thinker, and a kind and generous soul. She wrote to me: “Follow where your passion lies. It has never been false to me. It will not mislead you. Have faith in your 'rightness' and mystery.” PCI: When did handmade paper come into play? SKG: I began my work in the visual arts with calligraphy. At that time I saw paper as a surface to write on. In my first books, paper was again the surface for words and imagery. When I began making the Spirit Books in 1992, paper took on a new significance. It became part of the core and meaning of the book. The paper is enhanced with small twigs, vines, beads, sew stitches, woven paper, and punched and pricked holes.
 Truth Guardian Lokta paper pages from with brass beads and pinpricked and punched holes, amate paper cover Truth Guardian
Lokta paper pages from with brass beads and pin-pricked and punched holes, amate paper (Mexican bark cloth) cover
PCI: What do you like best about working with paper? Have you ever made paper? SKG: I love the texture and feel of paper. I love its history. I like how I am linked to a long tradition of craftsmanship when I use it. I did take a papermaking class, but decided not to pursue it. I work very slowly and felt that if I added papermaking to the art making process, I would never get anything finished.
Creative Generosity Lokta paper pages with glass seed beads and gold thread Creative Generosity
Lokta paper pages with glass seed beads and gold thread
PCI: How did you hear about our company? SKG: I first met Lauren in the late 1980s when she worked for a Japanese paper company that had a showroom in Boston. The papers were beautiful and she was always so knowledgeable. She taught me a lot about paper and was such fun to talk to. A few of the first Spirit Books used Kosei paper from Japan that I purchased in Boston. Now many of them use Paper Connection’s lokta paper from Nepal. Because I want the Spirit Books to look and feel as organic as possible, I always tear the paper for the pages rather than cut it. I like the edges that I get from the strong and supple fibers of the Lokta paper. I always choose earth-toned papers to blend with the sticks, vines, driftwood, and other natural material.
 Beseeching Beads Kyosei paper pages from Japan with brass findings, beads of brass and glass, and assorted papers amate paper cover Beseeching Beads
Kyosei paper pages from Japan with brass findings, beads of brass and glass, and assorted papers amate paper cover
PCI: What paper do you like to use and why? SKG: I still do some calligraphy with pen and brush. One of my favorite papers to write on is gampi. The surface is silky and smooth and takes ink beautifully.
Close up of Susan's work Close up of Susan's work
PCI: Thank you so much, Susan, for your time and insight.
Detail of one of Susan's works. Detail of one of Susan's works.
Courtesy of Susan Kapunscinski Gaylord Courtesy of Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord
For more on Susan please visit her website: To purchase a book on Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord's pieces, including her new " THE SPIRIT BOOKS CATALOG", please visit her etsy shop here.

Artist of the Month: Arlene McGonagle March 14 2013

March has been a very busy month for us. We have been planning for the upcoming Southern Graphics Conference, a printmaking love fest that this year is being held in Milwaukee. So printmaking methods have been in our minds, maybe a bit too much. What papers are best for lithos? Is gampi good for chine colle? , etc. (The answer, by the way, is yes, yes and yes.) However, to take a break from the wonderful world of printmaking, we turn our attention to a different, if not extraordinary application of our papers, by Arlene McGonagle. We have known Arlene for many years; she is a very faithful, loyal supporter of Paper Connection. And we love her unique approach to transforming our sheets of papers into something three dimensional, and even poetic. We will let her explain.
Layered, by Arlene McGonagle Layered
PCI: Tell us a little bit about yourself: What kind of artwork do you do? AM: I make baskets – one of a kind sculptural baskets. I have been a traditional basket maker since 1980. I grew up on a produce farm in Hadley, Massachusetts. Baskets were part of our harvesting process in which our vegetables were all harvested using different basket styles. As a young person I was not aware of my passion for baskets, but I do believe growing up on a farm gave me the knowledge for the functional construction aspects of basket weaving. PCI: What or who has influenced and inspired you? AM: After making functional Nantucket and Shaker baskets for fifteen years I needed a methodology in which to become more creative in my personal form of expression. So I returned to college entering The University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth in the Fiber Arts and Textile Design Department for a Masters Degree. As a result my work and materials changed overnight. The Fiber Arts Department encouraged us to use different and unusual materials from barks to wire and everything in-between. PCI: What attracts you to working with paper? AM: The wide variety of texture in paper, I felt the more texture the better in the paper I use. The paper reminded me of the barks, woods, and reeds I had used in the traditional basketry process. However, the paper I chose was colorful with intricate designs and flexible without soaking it in water. It was also gentler on my hands and easier to weave. PCI: That's great, especially for your hands' health too! What do you like best about working with paper? AM: For me it’s all about texture and color. I love the thick kyosei-shi paper because it reminds me of fabric. I have been working in neutral colors lately, but this paper allows me to go wild with color if the basket calls for color. I also love the mulberry, or kozo paper for its translucent and regal qualities. When words are written on this paper it adds a note of importance and strength. PCI: How did you hear about our company? AM: I had heard about Paper Connection for many years, but did not know it was open to the public. So I called one day and explained that I was a basket artist looking for special textured paper and made an appointment to stop in. PCI: Simple enough. We love your initiative. Did you have much knowledge about Japanese papers before using our papers? AM: I had no knowledge of Japanese papers whatsoever. I fell in love with the papers offered at Paper Connection and sometimes even designed the baskets around the available papers. I learned more about paper variety and function with each visit to Paper Connection. The vast knowledge of the staff and the wonderful stories Lauren would tell about the makers of the paper helped me to realize that the paper was almost sacred and that my designs had to live up to the value of the papers I purchased. PCI: Wow. We're so happy and grateful to hear that. What a testimony to the artistry of the papermakers themselves! What are some of the differences between our papers and others you have worked with? AM: I seem to keep going back to Kyosei-shi for most of my basketwork. It is physically strong and with a wide variety of colors. However, I can buy it in off-white and dye in the colors I need. I don’t know if I could dye other papers in a water bath. PCI: So to sum up? AM: I like kyosei-shi paper because it is strong and textured like fabric for my baskets; it is flexible and does not tear when I weave it with wire.
Basket Book by Arlene McGonagle Basket Book by Arlene McGonagle
PCI: Arlene, thank you so much. We love your work, we appreciate how you use these wonderful papers, the motivation behind it, and your generous support over the many years. u17 For more information about Arlene, please visit her website, Basket Sculpture. Her studio is located in beautiful Warren, RI. To read more about her work, Arlene was featured in the Fall 2012 issue of the National Basketry Organization. Article courtesy of Arlene McGonagle.

Paper To Wear May 19 2011

Check out this handmade tunic, created with our very own Kyosei paper

or (Kyoseishi) by Utah artist Kaye Terry.

Kyosei paper is crinkled by hand and repeatedly treated with a clear root starch, usually konnyaku, which results in a very pliable, sew-able, paper cloth.

Thanks to Kaye Terry, I'm inspired to make my own tunic or paper clothing to wear at our booth at the upcoming Surface Design Association Conference. Or at least I'll be wearing paper in some form; it's a promise!

Is it Paper, Fabric or both? August 05 2010

I signed up to be a member of Surface Design Association recently, and am excited to explore the world of fiber arts. More than just a macrame necklace, mind you, not that there's anything wrong with that. How can fiber artists incorporate our papers into their work? Can our papers replace synthetic fibers such as nylon, vinyl and the like? Coincidentally, I was invited to Arlene McGonagle , Carol FitzSimond's and Wanda Coderre's collaborative show here in Providence, called The Ties That Bind . at the Providence Art Club. All paper users, Arlene, in particular, uses our Kyosei in here woven baskets.
one of Arlene McGonagle's Incredible Paper Baskets
I decided to put Kyosei as the paper of the month for these dog days of August. But who knows? Maybe with my trend forecasting, it will be the next big thing in the paper biz...again! You heard it hear first! Check out more of the show here.