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.

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