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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: SusanGaylord.com 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: David A. Clark December 10 2014

We are rounding out 2014 with an interview with artist David A. Clark, who, much to our delight, paid us a visit to our warehouse and showroomdavid a clark, printmaker, encaustic ! We enjoyed the visit, especially as things wind down as the year closes out. His perspective on handmade paper and printmaking gave us a renewed outlook as we focus on our goals for 2015. As you muse over yours, please enjoy his interview and images of his work. Thanks, David, it truly was our pleasure! PCI: What kind of artwork do you do? DAC: I’m really interested in the idea of trajectory and impulse and the way those two abstracts influence one’s direction, thought and the way we, as human beings, move, act, think and feel as a result of their influence. My work has always been an exploration of the idea that life is a series of small impulses and trajectories strung along a larger arc. Those concepts are manifested in many different ways in my work, and for the last several years most of them have been brought to life with encaustic and paper. Lots and lots of paper.
Ancient Histories #11, 2014 Encaustic Monoprint on Kozo Natural 38” x 25” Ancient Histories #11, 2014
Encaustic Monoprint on Kozo Natural
38 x 25 inches
PCI: And we love to hear that! What or who has influenced/inspired you? DAC: I find inspiration everywhere, but I’m process oriented, so typically I will have an idea in my head that is amorphous, it’s usually a feeling or an impulse that is pushing me to find it a physical form and I’ll be working in my studio on a different project and some bit of what I am doing will ‘bridge the gap” between the idea and the object, and the work will begin to take shape. Honestly though, at the moment I find great inspiration in the materials that I am working with. Materials can often be the “bridge” between the ephemeral and the physical. A perfect example is when you showed me the Sakamoto paper at 7th International Encaustic Conference. I had not worked with paper like that before, but I touched it and it triggered a curious spark. So, I bought every sheet she had and it took me about a year for that paper to find the right “idea” partner to form a dance. But I knew the minute I touched that paper that I could tell a story with it and that it would be the perfect marriage with the impulses that were percolating in my head.
2.Ancient Histories #14 2014 Encaustic Monoprint on layered Gampi & Sakamoto 32.5 x 18.5 in. Ancient Histories #14
2014
Encaustic Monoprint on layered Gampi & Sakamoto
32.5 x 18.5 in.
Ancient Histories #22 2014 Encaustic Monoprint on Sakamoto Heavyweight 38.5 x 25 in. Ancient Histories #22
2014
Encaustic Monoprint on Sakamoto Heavyweight
38.5 x 25 in.
PCI: What attracts you to working with paper? DAC: Paper is language. It holds nuance and, because I am mostly printing right now, it is the catalyst for the image. As a material, paper is so versatile. It’s ephemeral or lasting, fragile or strong, absorbent or impermeable, but the most important quality to me currently is the organic nature of paper and it’s link to a historical context. There are so many different types of paper that can tell different stories. The work that I am doing at the moment is a direct result of the alchemy of process between particular types of paper, the encaustic paint I am printing with and the ideas that are asking to be made. The body of work I am currently making is very much a collaboration with paper.
Ancient Histories #46 2014 Encaustic Monoprint on Sakamoto Heavyweight 21.5 x 38.5 in. Ancient Histories #46
2014
Encaustic Monoprint on Sakamoto Heavyweight
21.5 x 38.5 in.
Ancient Histories #103 2014 Encaustic Monoprint on Sakamoto Heavyweight 38.5 x 25 in. Ancient Histories #103
2014
Encaustic Monoprint on Sakamoto Heavyweight
38.5 x 25 in.
PCI: We love the language analogy, as relating paper to language, semantics and cultural dialect is a part of my daily goal. After all, paper is a surface invented to transmit information via language, as your layered artwork does so very well. What do you like best about working with paper? Have you ever made paper? DAC :I asked Catherine Nash, an artist, friend, author and expert on handmade paper, to show me how to work with high shrinkage flax last year. I loved working with the pulp and forming the sheets. I can see projects involving making my own paper at some point in the future, but for now I have my hands full with the work I am doing. I have visited some paper makers in Thailand and Cambodia, but I think a trip to Japan will be in order at some point when the ideas in my head get too big for the sheets that I am able to buy.
Ancient Histories #107 2014 Encaustic Monoprint on Sakamoto Heavyweight 25 x 38.5 in. Ancient Histories #107
2014
Encaustic Monoprint on Sakamoto Heavyweight
25 x 38.5 in.
Ancient Histories #127 2014 Encaustic Monoprint on Kozo Natural 25 x 38 in. Ancient Histories #127
2014
Encaustic Monoprint on Kozo Natural
25 x 38 in.
PCI: How did you hear about our company? DAC: I first encountered Paper Connection International through you at the 7th International Encaustic Conference. I think I bought half of everything you had that first day. You had papers I had never seen before that had qualities that I knew would work well for me. Lauren, you have since become a good friend and a terrific resource for information. I’ll often email and ask about paper recommendations for projects. And I am really looking forward to visiting the store this fall for the first time. I have mostly been dialoguing with you at the Conference and by email, but so much of ones relationship to paper is tactile, so I am looking forward to touching everything in the store.
Self Portrait 2014 Encaustic Monoprint on Kozo Natural 25 x 38 in. Self Portrait
2014
Encaustic Monoprint on Kozo Natural
25 x 38 in.
Passage #1 2014 Encaustic Monoprints on Sakamoto 38.5 x 150 in.  Passage #1
2014
Encaustic Monoprints on Sakamoto
38.5 x 150 in.
PCI: David, thank you so much. We really appreciated that first day at the Conference, as it led to such great things! Did you have much knowledge about Japanese papers before using our papers? DAC: I have a rudimentary education in Japanese paper. Catherine Nash has been a terrific resource, and you and your staff at Paper Connection International have been a huge, huge help in illuminating and educating me in what is available. And I’m a voracious reader and researcher, so my knowledge of paper is ongoing. PCI: In what ways did Paper Connection help navigate and perhaps inform you about Japanese paper? DAC: When you introduced me to Sakamoto Heavyweight and your beautiful Kozo Natural. Those two papers form the foundation of my current work. That work would be telling a much different story without those two papers. PCI: What papers do you use of ours and for what process? DAC: Currently I’m working on a series of Encaustic Monoprints called “Ancient Histories” which is printed on Sakamoto, Sakamoto Heavyweight, Kozo Natural, and some Kitakata, Tamura Koban, Mexican Handmade, Akatosashi and Sekishu. The Sakamoto and the Kozo Natural form the backbone of the series. They are the most beautifully strong, forgiving and versatile papers. There is something unique that happens in the print process with these papers that is pure magic. PCI: What did you like about those papers that aided in your creative and/or technical process? DAC: I particularly love the velvety texture and soft, organic color of the Kozo Natural, and the two opposing surfaces of the Sakamoto, both the smooth and the more velvety, and that it comes in two different weights. Both papers print well, but they each print slightly differently when printing with encaustic. And something particular occurs with the Sakamoto that doesn’t happen with any other paper. I like these papers so much I teach with them now. PCI: We love hearing that! What are some of the differences between our papers and others you have worked with? DC: Paper Connection carries paper that I cannot get anywhere else. PCI: Thank you for noticing that! And yes, we try our best to provide those specialty papers while supporting the paper makers who craft them. Fill in the blank, if you had to recommend a Paper Connection paper for a particular application: DAC: I would recommend the Kozo Natural. It is such a glorious paper for encaustic printing. PCI: Good choice. Bonus question: If you could have a conversation with any artist present or past, who would it be? And would you talk about paper? DAC: I'd have a conversation with my friend Catherine Nash. She’s such a gifted artist, and I love her work and the way she thinks. Catherine wrote an amazing book about artists that work with encaustic and paper called “Authentic Visual Voices: Contemporary Paper and Encaustic”. Spending time with Catherine is like going to Mount Olympus. She has such a wealth of knowledge about paper that the whole sky opens up and one looks around and discovers that the world is made with paper. PCI: Catherine is truly is an innovator in the paper world; she is never afraid of using paper in new ways with a variety of materials. We hope that visiting Paper Connection was like going to Mount Fuji? haha... I do remember you saying it was the highlight of your trip to Rhode Island; that was pure music to my ears. Thank you again, David! I am excited to have you visit Japan; I would be thrilled to be your guide. Click on David's website here. Here are some images of David's visit to our warehouse: