Paperwoman stayed local last week as she had the opportunity to take a tour of the book conservation lab and bindery at Brown University’s John Hay and Rockefeller Libraries through the Watts Program. Here’s some quick glimpses of what was she saw, including an ancient Ethiopian hand-scribed, Christian manuscript with coptic binding, a wonderful piece of ephemera of P.T. Barnum’s Rarities, some very cool tools and beautifully aged books and other learning tools.
Fresh from our trip to the annual Southern Graphics Council print conference, joint-hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the Peck School for the Arts and Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, we were bubbling over with all the printmaking fervor . Here’s local blog-article about the conference.
The icing on the cake was meeting our loyal customer and established printmaker, Larry Welo, who lives not too far North from Milwaukee. Larry made the trek down to meet and to discuss paper and printmaking over dinner.
So in honor of everything printmaking, and a little Aiko’s connection, we share with you our chat with Mr. Welo. Printmakers take note! You may take away very interesting tidbits of information regarding Japanese paper and printing techniques.
PCI: So good to finally meet, Larry! Tell us a little about yourself: What kind of artwork do you do? What attracts you to working with paper and what do you like best about working with it?
LW: I have worked professionally as an artist printmaker since the mid 1970s. I fell in love with printmaking (etching in particular) when I was a student. I decided that this would be my career. There was no great logic to it. I was idealistic, and knew that this is something that I can do better than anything else. I did not really care about the realities of life…making money etc. Art was my passion as a child, and, as a college student I realized that it would become my profession. I drew a lot with pen and ink, and etching was like that, but there was such a depth to the images. It was the line work, the look of aquatint, the plate tone on the image and the embossment that had immense appeal to me. Paper is one of the vehicles for etching. It is of the utmost importance. There are many steps involved in creating an etching, but it always ends up being printed on paper. Over the years, I have used a large number of different papers. I quickly learned that they are vastly different from each other. It is up to the artist to decide what works best and will work with them to give the best results. In the early 1980s, I visited Aiko’s Art Materials in Chicago for the first time. I was living and working in Minneapolis at the time. I knew that there were other printmakers throughout art history who preferred Japanese papers, and I was curious. I began purchasing papers from Aiko’s at that time. I tried quite a few of them. They had a large selection of dyed papers, which I would experiment with frequently. I figured out a way to use the dyed papers for chine colle that gave me consistently good and sometimes fairly elaborate results. I would cut out the papers and overlap them so that the cut out areas would allow the underlying papers, which were also cut out, to show through. It was a means of achieving colors without needing to use additional etching plates.
PCI: Your results are beautiful. How did you hear about our company?
LW: When Aiko’s closed, I received a mailing from Paper Connection. They carried an Aiko’s paper which I used frequently. It was Sakamoto. I liked using it with some of my multiple plate color etchings, and I missed no longer being able to find it. I became interested in trying other papers carried by Paper Connection.
PCI: So you had a bit of exposure to certain Japanese papers. How did Paper Connection help widen out some of your knowledge on the different types of Japanese paper?
LW: I received very good suggestions on what might work well for my intaglio prints. I carefully cut out pieces of the recommended sample book swatches, labeled them, laid them on an inked plate and printed on them. I determined which sheets I liked best and began ordering the sheets individually so I could give them more of a chance.
PCI: We love how you put the samples to work! That’s great, as we are not printmakers ourselves. Any of your experimenting and feedback is what we want to hear about. So after all this testing out of our samples, what papers do you use of ours and for what process? What did you like about those papers that aids in your creative and/or technical process?
LW: Gampishi Sukiawase (M-0227) is my favorite paper. It is an expensive paper, and when I first tried it, I thought it would be only the one time. I was totally seduced by this paper, and have used it ever since. It prints like no other. When I print an etching, I rely on manipulating the ink tone on the plate. The ink tone gives me more subtle value options. There are very few other papers that can print this ink tone well. This paper prints it like no other. It is a joy to print on. It is made with gampi fibers and is very strong yet very sensitive. Sakamoto Heavy (AI-224B) is another paper that I like. It is a very sensitive paper. Kozoshi Sized Heavyweight (M-0206) is also very nice to print on. It is inexpensive and has many of the desirable characteristics of some of the more expensive sheets. I hope to continue to try other Paper Connection papers…maybe the best one is yet to be found.
PCI: What are some of the differences between our papers and others you have worked with?
LW: The sheets are extremely sensitive. What I do to the plate when I am wiping it shows up on the printed image…everything. There is never any blotchiness. Everything is very clean, and I am able to get the full range of values (light to dark) that I seek.
PCI: So, if you had to recommend a Paper Connection paper for a particular application:
LW: I like Gampishi Sukiawase (M-0227) because it makes me seem to be a better artist than I really am! I call it the Stradivarius of printmaking papers.
PCI: Wow! We wonder what the gampi papermaker would say to that. If you could have a conversation with any
artist present or past, who would it be?
LW: I would like to get inside Rembrandt’s head sometime.
PCI: Agreed! We saw one of his Apostle series at the Getty once. Mesmerizing. Larry, thank you so much. We appreciate the time you took to respond to our questions, and even more so, we thank you for being such a valued customer, and artist who truly appreciates the art of handmade paper!. For more on Larry, check out his website here.
You knew we now stock hanji at Paper Connection; right? For all those who can’t wait to try this handmade, mulberry paper from Korea, we are happy to provide hanji in a vast array of colors. We have been inspired and influenced by world renowned hanji artists, such as Ms. Jiyoung Chung , author of the book, Joomchi & Beyond, experts and Ms. Aimee Lee, author of Hanji Unfurled. Their passion and expertise has truly educated us in explaining the benefits of this paper to our eager customers. Strong, handmade hanji can be wonderfully woven, tugged, and transformed into amazing sculptural pieces, from clothing to bowls, to fibrous, organic installations that take a life of their own.
Ms. Aimee Lee teaches hanji sheet formation, and other hanji paper arts. In fact, she is on her way back to Providence, RI to teach a workshop through Brown University’s Watts Program/JCB Library: Charles H. Watts II History and Culture of the Book Program, this Saturday, April 13th, however, the workshop filled up immediately, there is a waiting list though; for your reference check out this link .
In conjunction with the April 13, 2013 workshop provided by Ms. Aimee Lee, Paper Connection International‘s warehouse/showroom will be open from 10am-2pm on Saturday, April 13. Since we are not open to the public, this is a great opportunity to obtain conservation-quality, 100% mulberry papers from Korea, or “hanji”. Paper Connection is located at 166 Doyle Ave., 2nd Floor, Providence, RI (diagonally across from the East Side YMCA). Parking available on left side of parking lot in front of building. Call 401.454.1436 for more information.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I am always anxious to bring in spring; my favorite season…especially after the Blizzard of 2013 in the Northeast of the US.
This year on February 2nd, I was lucky to witness the Setsubun ritual at my local shrine in my other neighborhood in Japan. The tradition of Setsubun no Hi or Setsubun Day is all about welcoming the spring.
When the idea came to Japan in the 18th century, it was incorporated into Japan’s native religion, Shintoism. But Setsubun originated in China is performed before the Lunar New Year.
In Japan, Setsubun is an annual Shinto ritual. Beans are thrown as a symbol to shoo out the evil spirits from the past year and thus welcoming in the new season; spring. After a purification ceremony is performed, including waiving folded white paper (gohei), the Shinto priests toss good luck coins into the crowd; 5-yen or 100-yen coins.
While I was taking photos of the ceremony, unbeknownst to me a 100-yen coin landed in my shoulder bag! I thought I heard something fall in, but I didn’t find it right away. I guess that means 2013 will bring me lots of good luck!
Setsubun is surely full of superstition, as it based in Japan’s original religion Shintoism, which has plenty of good and evil spirits in every animate and inanimate object.
You must admit though, that American culture has some pretty superstitious rituals. Consider the same time of year-February 2nd, Ground Hog Day! Most notable is that both Shinto practices and the idea of having a ground hog predict the weather are strangely related; both customs are based in ancient nature worship and animism.
Welcome to a new feature of Where is Paperwoman? Our Artist of the Month series focuses on an artist who not only loves paper, but implements it in his or her work to astonishing effect. Of course, we may be biased that they use Paper Connection’s paper, but regardless, their vision, approach, and resulting work are most worthy to share with you, our dear readers. This month, we chat with Barbara Green, our neighbor, colleague, and friend. She is an established artist, residing in Rhode Island by way of Germany, having attended school in Chicago and Ohio. Barbara is a longtime member of 19 on Paper, an organization of Rhode Island artists whose works are either of or on paper. She has shown in numerous galleries, museums, corporations, with her collections displayed at various universities, hospitals, and other institutions.
PCI: Tell us a little about yourself, Barbara; what kind of artwork do you do?
BG: Paint, watercolor, oil stick, paper for installations, weaving (shifu).
PCI: What or who has influenced and inspired you?BG: Paper as a medium; Sargent, Homer, Japanese scrolls and prints, contemporary fiber artists, and nature.
PCI: What attracts you to working with paper?
BG: The feel of paper in its various forms: wet, cut, or twisted.
PCI: Sounds wonderfully tactile. What do you like best about working with paper?
BG: Paper has the seemingly unending possibilities to create, from being a surface for painting to a sculptural medium.
PCI: How did you hear about our company?
BG: I was searching for special paper and I also heard about PCI from a friend.
PCI: Did you have much knowledge about Japanese papers before using our papers?
PCI: So how did Paper Connection help you choose and inform you about Japanese paper?
BG: Lauren Pearlman and the staff had great advice.
PCI: Thanks, we try our best! What papers do you use of ours and for what process?
BG: I use sheets and rolls, depending what I am working on.
PCI: That’s right, I remember you purchasing a white striped, (sudare pattern), Lace paper roll and transformed it into a beautiful, graceful installation.
What did you like about those papers that aided in your creative and/or technical process?
BG: The high quality, strength, and beautiful colors.
PCI: What are some of the differences between our papers and others you have worked with?
BG: Western papers are designed for a specific purpose, like watercolor papers, printing. Papers that PCI carries can be used in many ways, not only traditionally.
PCI: Good to know! Fill in the blank, if you had to recommend a specific PCI paper for a particular application, it would be…:
BG: I like your various kozo paper for strength because it is very versatile and comes in various weights and sizes, as well as colors.
PCI: Bonus question: If you could have a conversation with any artist past or present, who would it be? And would you talk about paper?
BG: The National Treasure paper makers from Japan. Definitely!
PCI: Certainly they would like to speak with you too; I would love to be a fly on the wall when that happens. Barbara, thank you so much for your time and sharing with us your insight into your work and paper.
To learn more about Barbara Green, please visit her website. We love her Artist Statement:
“Paper is the support for an image, a construction, an impression. Color, whether watercolor, oilstick or printing ink, enhances the image. My work has been in series. It can be very realistic to abstract as well as sculptural. I am inspired by nature, color, space and materials themselves, such as fine Japanese paper.” B. L. Green
If you are interested in being featured for an upcoming “Artist of the Month”, please contact us at 401-454-1436. Thanks!
2012 over!?! That was amazingly quick. I guess I do spend much of my time on the road and it is clear traveling or rather “not being home” speeds up time!
To switch things up in my dual-life pattern, I spent the fall of 2012 in the East Coast of the US for a change. First DC, then Cleveland (noted in the previous blog. Early November started with a bang, with one the best Paper Connection Annual Holiday Warehouse sales ever! Then, more excitement by mid-November, as my staff and I organized a 4-day visit from a Paper Rock Star guest-Ms. Aimee Lee in Providence, RI. We had an awesome turn out for Ms. Lee’s hanji talk, demo and new book signing: Hanji Unfurled. After Ms. Lee’s successful visit to Rhode Island, I got to enjoy a “real” Thanksgiving with relatives, turkey and pies; it had been many years! Surely a day to recognize all that we have and all that we have in abundance. November, 2012 was certainly packed full with a cornucopia of accomplishments; I am very thankful, no matter what month it is.
By December, 2012, my suitcase was re-packed, and currently I am back on the other side of the globe. Since I’ll be on the road again shortly; heading to Seoul next week, I thought I would turn to TWO past abundant Novembers. Reflecting back as time springs forward.
November, 2011: Journeyed north to Tokohu- the Northeast of Japan: For several reasons, this voyage to Tohoku was quite meaningful, especially post the March 11, 2011 disasters. The main goal was to check on my very good friend, who had moved back to the Tohoku area on March 1, 2011, I hadn’t seen her family since 1986. My friend warned me that all the coastal places we visited in 1986 “ARE GONE”, she wrote days after the tsunami hit. Another reason for going to Tohoku was to get a sense of the general post 3.11 feeling of the Tohoku survivors, where so many mingei-folk arts are/were born. The bonus of this trip was visiting with Mr. Koichi Odanaka at his studio. It was my privilege to meet Mr. Keisuke Serizawa’s last apprentice. I thoroughly enjoyed the back stories Mr. Odanaka told of his life with Mr. and Mrs. Serizawa in Tokyo. So it was a gratifying trip- educational and moving at the same time.
Odanaka’s work is truly irresistible. Although, it’s not something I stock at this point, I would like to support as many artists as possible in the Tohoku region of Japan. Let me know if you’re interested in any of his work; I’ll see what I can do! Here are a few of his stenciled items I purchased: calendar and textiles.
November, 2010: Traveled, by plane, to Toyama-ken for the first time ever.
For centuries Toyama was known as the main pharmaceutical producing area of Japan. Back before plastic bottles with cotton stuffing, all medicines were wrapped with washi. The area was previously known as “Etchu” so the paper from the area is called “Etchu Washi”.
Of course, the need for washi dropped off with the invention of new packaging, but a young Mr. Yoshida, moved back to his hometown of Yatsuo, giving up a city life and a city job to start a washi-making mill in the small, well-preserved town of Yatsuo, not too far from Toyama City. Mr. Yoshida knew he had to make paper for new uses, so he decided to make kozo paper for artwork. Mr. Yoshida befriended the katazome master himself, Mr. Keisuke Serizawa, while he was working up at Ogawamachi in Saitama, making his own paper for his stencil work. Mr. Yoshida convinced Mr. Serizawa to try some Yatsuo paper (Etchu Washi) for his stencil work. From that point forward, Mr. Serizawa used the kozo paper made at Mr. Yoshida’s newly fashioned mill. It was a start of what would become a long business relationship and friendship. Both the Yoshidas and the Serizawa’s had a deep connection with mingei and both had the passion to carry the tradition of washi and katazome into the future. Currently, the next generation of the Yoshida family run a paper shop, mill and incredible folk art museum, which houses the collection of the Yoshida parents. Thanks to the friendship between the Yoshida family and the Serizawa family, this Yatsuo operation called Keijyusha continues to produce decorated katazome papers, stationery items and collectible calendars employing Serizawa’s original stencils.
There are still a few 2013 Serizawa desk calendars for sale at Paper Connection and many beautiful items in stock and for sale from this precious operation in Yatsuo. Please call us or email us for more information.
Have you ever considered yourself a superstar? A paper star, at least? I had the privilege of spending a week around the seasoned, paper legends as well as the new generation of paper stars at the Watermarks Conference, (the 2012 meetings for both Friends of Dard Hunter and IAPMA.) sponsored by and held at the Morgan Art Papermaking Consevatory & Educational Foundation, in Cleveland, Ohio.
When I booked this trip, I wondered, what can I do in Cleveland for one week besides make, eat and dream paper? I realized that Cleveland, has Lake Eerie, a seriously well-deserved local pride and die-hard fans of their sports teams. Since I was still a little jetlagged, and the pre-conference workshop I signed up for hadn’t started yet, my colleague said ” why don’t you go to the legendary Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame?” So I did.
My reasons for going on this Cleveland Magical Mystery Tour, started becoming clearer while inside the RRHF.
Not only did I get to learn so much about the history of the Rock n’ Roll era, I was able to surround myself with (at least simulated versions of ) Rock Star Legends. The RRHF primed me for the rest of the entire week when I got to hang out with the Rock Stars of Paper; paper gurus and paper masters from all over the globe all came together in Cleveland, Ohio!
Who Wrote the Book of Love, I mean washi?! Premier paper legend and MacArther Grant recipient, Mr. Tim Barrett of the University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA did. His many fans want to have their photos taken with Mr. Barrett; …dang, I didn’t get a good one of me with him! tsk, tsk.
Asao Shimura mixes konnyaku with pigment.
There were so many Paper Rock Stars there...Mr. Asao Shimura who taught a 2-day workshop on konnyaku intaglio printing. Like waiting in line for tickets to the biggest concert of the year, I tenaciously waited for my spot in his class, and got it! Asao hasn’t been stateside in years and he traveled from his home in the Philippines to teach in the US. I’ve been a fan for years, but finally got to meet him and take his workshop, with more of his fans.
Asao Shimura definitely marches to the beat of his own drummer, and we should thank him for it, as he trail-blazes in the world of paper arts, he teaches too, sharing his insight and skill with eager students. He’s a soul man of a paper culture…(I’ve got rhythm, but I AM asking for more Paper Rock Star Fame!)
A fairly new talent in the group is Ms. Aimee Lee, now an author of a new book: Hanji Unfurled, One Journey into Korean Papermaking, I swear- when she walked into the room during my pre-conference workshop, a group of fans formed a circle around her; I heard “Aimee!, Aimee!” coming from the crowd. I was an Aimee Lee groupie before even seeing her live. I could catch on fairly quickly; I tried to blend in with group-playing the coy paperazzi. I am still very much part of Aimee Lee’s fan club, and therefore so thrilled a host to her, while she’s in New England promoting her new book via artist’s talk, demo and workshop both in Boston, November 10th and Providence area, November 14th.
Blood, Sweat, and Tears, may be a RRHF inductee, but have no doubt, the vatman or vatwoman produces blood, sweat and tears on a daily basis, as they toil and create paper with their two hands, keeping the art of handmade paper true, pure, and alive-ensuring that Papermaking is Here to Stay!
At least at some level, I continue to aspire to Paper Rock Star status. When asked: “do you make paper?” I reply: “not exactly, but I am an agent, a promoter, a paper Shake, rattle and roller and total groupie of the Dardos!”
Watermarks 2012 was more than about reuniting with friends and colleagues I haven’t seen years, and more than about discovering new Paper Rock Stars. It was a week of Letting the Good Times Roll, a week of re-inspiration to continue down The Long & Winding Road to bring handmade paper to the likes of you.
My Cleveland experience was the necessary step towards attaining Hall of Fame status or at least a couple of my own fans.. I am now determined more than ever to create a (paper) hit in my hometown of Providence. A really BIG hit.
For more photos, check out our FACEBOOK page for the Watermarks album. Don’t forget to “like” us!
washi warehouse, a set on Flickr.
Take a peek at what will be on sale this Saturday, November 3rd, at our annual WInter Warehouse Sale. Of course, there will be lots of paper too.We open at 10AM. See you there!
Korea claims a unique and intriguing art called joomchi.
How do you go about making joomchi? It’s easier to try with your own hands than to explain in words…but here it goes. This is my beginner’s understanding of the process: At least 2 layers of Korean mulberry paper, or hanji, are first wet, then, aggressively gripped, grabbed, stretched, and manipulated until the fibers are broken down and almost “felted” to your liking. Hours of aggravating the paper are expended, while possibly years of angst is relieved. A major transformation occurs; once flat sheets of paper become a very organic, leather-like, almost living form.
No adhesives are used, however, natural dyes, pigments, other papers, fibers, and cloth can be “collaged” in to create a very special mixed media paper art.
We learned that Japanese mulberry paper (kozo) works fine for making joomchi, as our colleague Barbara Green tested it. She used Paper Connection’s senkashi (a heavy weight un-dyed kozo paper, traditionally used for clothing) and some vintage, pigmented kozo.
I finally made it to the nearby Atrium Gallery in Providence to see one of their latest shows: Joomchi and Beyond, curated by Ms. Jiyoung Chung. I blogged briefly about Ms. Chung and her exhibit at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, last June, 2011. Subsequently, I was lucky enough to attend her workshop early spring 2012. Many of the works shown at the Atrium are part of Ms. Chung’s fantastic book also entitled Joomchi and Beyond.
Please see Jiyoung’s book for photos of her method and process. She is a great teacher. For more photos of the show, click here.
Another artist who works with hanji and creates joomchi is Aimee Lee.
It is truly amazing when you think that no adhesives are used, and all the papers are transformed by hand technique alone.
I love this use of natural persimmon juice by Aimee:
Can’t wait to meet her in 2 weeks at the Morgan!
Aimee is also planning a book signing tour in New England in November, thus I’m hoping she will come to Providence and Paper Connection, of course!
Who’s in for meeting Aimee Lee and talking paper?!?!