Archives for category: Art

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.

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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.

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Two of my favorite book authors were part of my group:  Ms. Aimee Lee and Mr. Nick Basbanes.

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As you can imagine, the uses for hanji are endless, also true for almost any other well-made paper.

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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 VillageIMG_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.

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Photographs provided by Paperwoman and KCDF.

We met Helen Hiebert back in the early ’90s, in SoHo, NYC at Dieu Donné Papermill , and have since watched her blossom into truly a paperwoman extraordinaire.

In our conversation below, we discuss handmade paper with Helen, who has cultivated a solid reputation as an educator, artist, writer and champion of the art of paper.  Enjoy her musings on handmade paper, altitude, and insight on her techniques, as well as what new paper goodies she is offering this time of year!

PCI:  What first attracted you to papermaking?

HH:  The fact that I could make paper from the ground up. I was involved in a community garden in NYC when I first learned to make paper at Dieu Donné Papermill, so I was learning about growing plants for the first time. When I discovered papermaking, I was intrigued by the fact that I could grow and make the raw material, and then continue working with it by making art.

PCI:  Would you say your approach to papermaking is more scientific or do hope to achieve a certain aesthetic goal? Do you aim to create your papers as a base for your artwork?

HH: To answer the first part of that question, I think I do both: I have an experimental approach to working with abaca – testing its strength and ability to become translucent and shrink in relation to various things I interject into the process (embedding string and wire for example, or nailing wet sheets to a board, thus interrupting and altering the drying process). But when I am working on a particular project, like Mother Tree or The Wish, I do have an aesthetic goal, and I choose from my reportoire of techniques to order achieve these goals. And to answer the second part of the question: I do not see myself as making papers as a base for my work but as the material that I’m most likely to work with.

The Wish, installation by Helen Hiebert.

The Wish, installation by Helen Hiebert.

The Mother Tree, installation by Helen Hiebert.

The Mother Tree, installation by Helen Hiebert.

PCI: How have traditional Asian papermaking methods influenced your papermaking?

HH: A trip to Japan in the late 1980’s inspired my interest in handmade paper. I saw handmade papers in shops and was struck by the light filtering through the traditional shoji screens at the inn where I was staying. This was not a paper trip, but rather a trip to visit my father who was working in Japan, so it was purely inspirational. But that trip became the beginning of my career! Upon my return to NYC where I was living, I began looking for ways to return to Japan to learn papermaking. I remember visiting an out-of-the-way bookstore and purchasing Sukey Hughes bookWashi, and I think I purchased Tim Barrett’s book around that time. When I was researching ways to travel to Japan (i.e. an income stream) I discovered Dieu Donné Papermill and volunteered there for a short time. Then I became Program Director and worked there for six years. I never went back to Japan (not yet at least) and I learned all about Western papermaking and creative papermaking techniques.

PCI:  We absolutely love this video of children learning papermaking at Dieu Donné, as featured on Sesame Street! Spot Helen @ 00:25, 00:39, and 1:47.  The other artist is Robbin Ami Silverberg, who now runs her own papermill in Brooklyn.

PCI:  How has your growing knowledge of papermaking influenced how your work has evolved?

HH: I’m not sure this is an answer to your question, but I would expand it to include all of the paper arts. I have a fascination with graphic design and product design, and I’m always looking at materials and products and thinking about how they might translate in paper. I’m also obsessed with techniques that other artists are discovering, and I don’t think that the potential of paper has been fully explored. I’m more concerned with expressing my ideas through paper (and other materials) rather than expanding my knowledge of papermaking, although I’m certainly influenced by what I see and discover.

http://www.paperconnection.com/laurelai-designs

100 x 100 Paper Weavings #51; © 2013 Helen Hiebert Studio, Paper Connection’s Laurelai Design series & Hark! Handmade Paper

PCI: You recently moved from Portland, Oregon, to Colorado. How has the water,  altitude, and all around general move affected your papermaking and work?

HH: People told me my work would change when I moved, but I’m not sure that it has significantly. Part of this might have to do with the fact that most of my projects take years to realize. I’ve also moved a lot, so perhaps that is just part of my being. I miss the artist community I developed in Portland, and my paper dries much quicker here in Colorado.

PCI: You recently completed a trip to Europe. What were some highlights? Anything that would find its way incorporated into your next pieces?

I taught a workshop and lectured at the Papierwespe in Vienna.  Beatrix Mapalagama, the owner, has a great little business in Vienna, providing workshops in all facets of paper. I enjoyed the time I spent with her as well as the teaching.

Artists' books in a Venice window, Italy.

Artists’ books in a Venice window, Italy.

And it was a treat to visit Fabriano in Italy –to see all of the historic equipment and watermarked papers and to participate in the IAPMA (International Association of Hand Papermakers and Paper Artists) Congress.  Jocelyn Chateavert gave a demonstration which sparked several new ideas for working with abaca.  I was also able to visit Roberto Mannino’s studio in Rome as well as his permanent paper installation at the Graphic Institute in a building right above the Trevi Fountain.  It is wonderful to be able to share time, stories and ideas with other artists who work in similar ways.

Fabriano IAPMA Congress venue.

Fabriano IAPMA Congress venue.

Jocelyn Chateauvert prepares for her demo, Fabriano.

Jocelyn Chateauvert prepares for her demo, Fabriano.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biking with friends in Germany.

Biking with friends in Germany.

Herr Chmel's paper theater, Vienna, Austria.

Herr Chmel’s paper theater, Vienna, Austria.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

unnamedceiling

unnamed

PCI: Do you prefer making paper, working with paper, writing, or teaching? What aspects of each of these do you enjoy?

HH: Good question! Part of this has to do with making a living. Years ago, I looked at my income to see which of these areas was most profitable. And you know what? It was pretty even across the board. That told me two things: 1: I could choose one direction and put all of my energy there; or 2: I could continue to have several income streams. I really enjoy each of these facets and think that they play well off of each other.  Sometimes I make myself tired because I can’t turn off the ideas. Lots of them go by the wayside, and others stick.  This keeps me ticking.

Holding, by Helen Hiebert

Holding, by Helen Hiebert

PCI: We are certainly glad you keep active in all fields, and keep those ideas coming! Which artist(s), past or present, would you like to have a conversation with? What would you say about paper?

HH: I’d have to say Eva Hesse, and I would discuss our shared fascination with materials, among other things.  I’ve always thought that she would have loved paper… and she lived really close to Dieu Donné, (although it wasn’t there yet – she died in 1970 and it was founded in 1976). I sometimes fantasize about how we walked along the same streets of New York.

 

 

PCI: What is next for Helen Hiebert?!?

Per Helen’s blog, she posts this:

“A quick heads-up: next Friday through Sunday (11/28 – 12/1) I’m offering FREE SHIPPING on everything you find on my website. Playing With Paper Kits, How-to books, DVDs and art. It will be almost like you’re here shopping in my studio!”  

Don’t miss out on this opportunity!

Window Start Paper Kit, by Helen Hiebert.

Window Start Paper Kit, by Helen Hiebert.

Earlier in the year, Helen  published a wonderful blog about Paper Connection.  We are so pleased to be collaborating more with Helen this year and re-developing a deeper paper relationship between us.

For more on Helen Hiebert, please visit the following:

Website: http://helenhiebertstudio.com/

Blog: http://helenhiebertstudio.com/blog/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HelenHiebertStudio

It’s been a while since we last interviewed an Artist of the Month, as we had a busy summer gearing up for shows, like this one. We have also been working on this shop, which is very exciting.  Alas, no excuses, and we have a very special interview with Ms. Leni Fried, who we have visited before, in her inspiring studio in beautiful western Massachusetts in the Berkshires.

Leni is a printmaker, and has been teaching mostly monoprint and collograph for over 3o years.  She has elevated our questions into a conversation all of her own. We let her have free reign as she had much to share and much to say:

Mission Statement

Art has no one mission statement as what drives me for producing a piece of art is always in flux.

After our government’s violent response to the terrorists events of September 11, 2001, I was so upset, I could not make any art for 3 months.  My artwork became intensely political once I emerged.

The piece below is called,  ‘The people say no to war propaganda’.

lenifried,statue of liberty,9.11,print

When I saw our governments response to Hurricane Katrina I began a series of linocuts.  The one below is called ‘The Faces of Katrina.’

facesofkatrina

and this one ‘Abandoned’.

abandoned

I was amazed to discover that the artwork of many of my artist friends did not seem to be affected by current events.  For me art is a barometer of our time and has the potential to create powerful changes. 

Inspiration

My favorite artists have varied tremendously throughout my life depending on what subject matter and technique I am working with in my own work.

When I lived in the city I was very attracted to Romare Bearden’s work.  The flatness of his imagery and stark use of color and of course the power and poetry in his work still moves me tremendously.

You probably can see by looking at this detail of his famous piece called ‘The Block’ how he influenced the cityscapes I was doing at the time.

romare

Most of the greatest artists are the ones who are not in museums.  Museums recycle the same artists in a continuous loop.

Of the famous artists I have been influenced by the Matisse cutouts, Hundertwasser, Paul Klee, Munch and others.  Less famous ones, such as Bread and Puppet theater, my friend Helio, Bob Blackburn, Mary Teichman, Sarah Sears and many more I’ve met along the way will probably never be celebrated in the more public sense.  They have inspired me the most.

artist in holyoke, Leni Fried, prinmaking

‘Artist in Holyoke by Leni Fried’

Right now I am in love with Asian art. I never expected to do landscapes and in my 30’s I often mocked landscapes in terms of having very little to say.  Placid exercises in realism…

But now I have been doing a series of tree prints especially winter imagery. This work is influenced by Hokusai and other great Japanese printmakers.  Here is one of the winter tree prints called ‘Skyward’.

skyward

As far as papers go I have always loved paper which is one of the reasons I love printmaking.

I buy paper from all sources. What I love most about Paper Connection is that Lauren shares my love of paper as well.  I am working on a series of scrolls which are imported from Beijing.  They are blank and I print on the thinner papers from Paper Connection and adhere them to the scrolls.  Almost any thin paper you (Paper Connection) carries will work for this.  My favorites are in the HK series, that are very smooth and some that have a browner tone.

I use lightweight Kozo (#M-0207-2) for my classes because it is inexpensive and prints consistently.

scroll, leni fried,print, kozo, kouzo,

A scroll by Leni Fried, printed on Kozo (PCI code number M-0202).

Paper Connection’s papers are useful for hand printing because they are thin and the surface is very sensitive.

 New Work

Here’s a peek at the new series using  vintage Japanese red kozo paper.  These chickadee prints are made using one plate made from mylar. The mylar is double thickness and linear elements are added using a stencil burner that melts and abrades the surface.  There is a rainbow roll with oil based inks on the background. The chickadee is inked with black like an etching and then the rest of the colors are handpainted.  They are monoprints because of the hand painting and that the positioning on the plexi background plate will vary from one print to the next.  The other chickadee prints are done similarly. Some are mounted in the Chinese wall scrolls and the thin Japanese paper is from Paper Connection.

Learn more here.

Leni Fried printing on red Kozo, Paper Connection International

Two chickadees on red Kozo

Chickadees on thin Kozo from Paper Connection International

Chickadees on lightweight Kozo.

 

Painting But Not On Paper

Besides printmaking, I have done quite a few bicycle paint jobs throughout my life.

They are hand painted and quite complex.  This one involves anodizing titanium and is a memorial to my customer’s golden retriever!  So here’s a picture of one of the bikes even though this is not paper related.

This was a client from Hawaii.  Anela means angel.  Kauai is the island he lives on.”

kauibikebikeleni

 Where To Find Leni

These and other prints can be found on Leni’s Etsy shop!  She also conducts workshops, which are very one on one. Monoprint, collograph, and some hand printing techniques are taught.  She will start a class anytime with 4 people.

Leni is also having two open studios this Fall season. Her studio is also open by appointment.

Here are some other community events she is participating in:

The Bagshare Project

Arts & Industry Open Studios, in Florence, MA, November 8th & 9th, 2014

Her studio i

Check out her calendar here.

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Leni’s studio

To catch up with Leni and all her works, please visit her following websites:

www.lenifriedprintmaking.com

www.titaniumarts.com

Thanks, Leni, for sharing all your insight into your art, and your support of real fine art paper!

 

What is “mokuhanga“?

The Japanese woodblock print or mokuhanga, is a precise, multi-step printmaking technique, using water-based pigments applied with brushes, not rollers.  The latter may give you some of idea of how mokuhanga differs from the western woodcut print.  The paper (usually washi) is moistened, laid on block and a baren is used to rub back side of paper.

This multiple-colored block print form became popular during the Edo period (1603-1867).  Many of the old techniques are still followed. What has mostly changed is the growing awareness and broad spectrum of artists who are adopting their individual styles and at the same time, spreading the word about the unique process of mokuhanga.

baren, mokuhanga, printmaking

Barens and Brushes

Special veneer woodblocks

Special veneer woodblocks

 At the beginning  of my career involving Japanese arts and crafts, I was privileged to curate a collection of “ukiyo-e” prints.  The term ukiyo-e translates as Images of the Floating World.  The masters of ukiyo-e laid down the base and framework for contemporary woodblock prints.

Here HOKUSAI’s  The Great Wave off Kanagawa (from a Series of Thirty–Six Views of Mount Fuji) is shown printed on various washi with sizing and without;  a research chart presented by Awagami Factory at Tokyo University for the Arts using Japanese paper from different parts of Japan and different sizing recipes.  I thought this was a brilliant depiction of how different papers  yield different results for the same print.

Hokusai, wave, ukiyo-e,taganoura

Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa

KUNIYOSHI’s prints of anthropomorphized animals, show just how colorful and how may colors applied in these mokuhanga from 150 or years ago.
Kuniyoshi, animals

Kuniyoshi’s One Hundred Horrible Stories

I learned a few important facts about mokuhanga, even in just preparing for our booth for the 2nd International Mokuhanga Conference,  (now the 2nd one), hosted by Tokyo University for the Arts, September 10-14, 2014.
Paper Connection, mokuhanga, washi, printmaking

Our booth

I learned what type of paper is in demand in the West, where mokuhanga seems to be more popular than it is in Japan and that the papers used primarily by artists in the West are much thicker than what the ukiyo-e artists used.  Paper Connection created this special swatch portfolio just for the conference.  We included 11 different papers, with a few surprise papers made from alternative fibers, and with unusual sizing.

mokuhanga papers, sized kouzo, kozo,

Paper Connection’s Mokuhanga Swatch Portfolio

What a joy it was to meet so many talented printmakers from all over the globe and learn from them directly; discussing their criteria for papers for their artwork.  Saw some old friends like Larry Pinto, Marjorie Tomchuk, Michael Durgin and met some lovely new friends like Mia O, Carla Salem, and Claire Cuccio.

 

As within any discipline of art, the desired paper and its use, is as unique as the individual using it.  From the paper seller’s view,  Paper Connection welcomes any and all queries, as this only helps us become better at what we do.

In addition to the IMC ‘s mission; to reinstate the integrity of mokuhanga; in effect, bring it back to the limelight, MI-LAB Art Residency Program forged by Ms. Keiko Kadota has provided a place for artists from all parts of the world to collaborate and learn about mokuhanga in depth.

I had the pleasure of meeting and also hearing a talk by Elspeth Lamb,  author of Papermaking for Printmakers,  and who is on the Board of Glasgow Print Studio.

The Pool, by Elspeth Lamb

The Pool, by Elspeth Lamb

I strive to incorporate informative material before starting a new creative project, even before buying new papers for Paper Connection.  For example, I learned about Mr. Akira Kurosaki use of hanji: Korean mulberry paper for his prints, thanks to mokuhanga expert April Vollmer’s interesting article on the process in Art In Print:
http://artinprint.org/index.php/articles/article/mokuhanga_international

April Vollmer, mokuhanga, print, woodblock print

April Vollmer’s Guardian Spider

April is currently working on her soon-to-be published book, called the Japanese Woodblock Workshop.

Please peruse through a few of the prints I saw during the conference.  Printmaker, Ms. Yoonmi Nam, who teaches at the University of Kansas, wrote an excellent summary of the conference and posted it in Printeresting.  Click links to read and see her super photos of the art and the artists at the conference.

mokuhanga, shoji miyamoto

mokuhanga

 

mokuhanga, woodblock print, woodcut

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: http://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!

Her name evokes light, bright, warm light to me, and when you see her AMAZING works, (yes, that is all in CAPS for a reason), you will feel the same light too: paper transformed into creatures and works that come alive, and feel like they can float away, tempting you to put your fingers on them, feel the fiber that encases them, and even wear them.  Meet the one and only Joan Son.

I have had the privilege of giving 2 presentations with Joan Son and have been to her studio/residence several times in Houston, TX.  Joan is a most gracious host. I cherish her warmth, kindness and years of friendship.  Joan’s glowing personality is truly manifested in her incredible talent of transforming paper into life-like sculptures.

I hope you enjoy reading her perspective on paper as much as I did.

PCI: What kind of artwork do you do?  What or who has influenced and inspired you?

JS: I am an artist working in the medium of paper based in the discipline of origami. For the past 21, years since my debut in the windows of Tiffany & Co. (Houston Galleria), I have devoted my career to the exploration of contemporary origami as fine art. My art has developed into finely crafted gift items for museum shops beginning at the Smithsonian in 1995; larger commissioned works for public and private venues and origami instruction nationally at Origami Conventions and in Houston at numerous educational facilities.

Bamboo

Bamboo

PCI: What attracts you to working with paper?

JS: I have always loved paper. My first love was designing paper doll dresses when I was 9 years old. So even my mother’s typing paper, lined school papers and tissue paper were attractive to me from very early on. I was totally intrigued making carnation like flowers with tissue paper. Even now when paper towels or napkins are on my grocery list I get excited wondering what patterns will be available. The commercial stuff is always changing.

zooslide

PCI: What do you like best about working with paper? I’m so curious as you have such a literal hands-on approach.

JS: I like to say that paper is sculptable and forgiving. I love that about paper. It works into to all of my art pieces. It is much more durable that most folks think.

PCI: I love the choice of words “forgiving” and “durable”, it’s almost like you are describing an amazing person.  Please share how we met.

JS:  Your wonderful papers were represented by a commercial paper company (Clampitt Paper in Houston, TX). Their representative gave me your contact information and I have been passionate about your papers through all your evolutions.  Since 1993 when I was working in a design firm, creating brochures, annual reports… and dabbling in my own creative process,  I’ve been using them for everything from butterfly pins, collage works, to 8-foot tall paper Kimonos.

PCI: Hopefully I’ve been evolving in a progressive way! And our papers reflect that.  We are so happy that we have such a long-term solid relationship.  It’s reliable artists like yourself that help small business keep going.  Did you have much knowledge about Japanese papers before using our line?

JS: Very, very little… only Origami papers.

PCI: In what ways did Paper Connection help navigate and perhaps inform you about Japanese paper?

JS: In every way. You and I did a presentation together for Texas Art Supply here in Houston a few years ago. It was fascinating to see and hear about your travels in Asia and all the details and nuances of these exquisite papers.

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?

JS: Japanese Yuzen and Katazome paper are delicious, the Laurelai design papers, (see the Yoga Garden Robe), are fun and add a distinct personality to my designs. Looking through the catalog now I see there are so many more I still have to work with. I can hardly wait! I use your papers for many of my collage pieces, origami pieces and display.

paper sculpture

Yoga Garden Robe by Joan Son, using several of the Laurelai papers

The Robe Series by Joan Son

The Robe Series by Joan Son

PCI: What are some of the differences between our papers and others you have worked with?

JS: Paper Connection always has the highest quality papers.

PCI: Thank you so much! We really try to represent the best in handmade papers for those like yourself who truly appreciate them.  Word game for you: fill in the blank, if you had to recommend a Paper Connection paper for a particular application:

JS: I like Daitoku papers for their simple gold touches and natural beauty.  Plus they have saved my life on two projects where I needed a very large sheet. These measure 37 x 72 inches. Perfect!

bookmarks, Laurelai Designs

Laurelai bookmarks by Joan Son

money holders, business card holders

Joan loves the Laurelai papers for many things, including bookmarks and wallets.

PCI:  That paper is an oldie but goodie.  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?

JS: PATTI SMITH. As I strive to make my work more deeply meaningful first to myself and that it be illuminating for others… this veteran rock and roll artist transcends all levels for me. She continues to inform our world with her tenderness and fury.  And that she continues to evolve her art into all the years of her life. I think the conversation of paper would come up easily with Patti. I’m sure we would be tearing it or making it into butterflies right away.

PCI: Yes! A musician! To say the least. A poet. You surely would. Can I dance along? Thank you Joan, for all you do for Paper Connection and the paper world.

Check out this BIG NEWS for Joan!  She opens a new body of work in Houston at the Jung Center Gallery in April 2014.  We have included the Press Release:

TIME TRAVELERS
looking back to move forward
a retrospective
a coming full circle
a beginning

When:  Opening night Saturday April 5, 2014

Where: Jung Center Gallery 
5200 Montrose, Houston, Texas 77006
Time: 5:00 to 7:00

On view through April 29, 2014

If you are in the Houston we highly recommend you attend. We wish we could be there ourselves.

Joan Son is an American artist who has devoted her career to the exploration of contemporary origami as fine art.

Now, through an Individual Artist Grant from the city of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, she shows a side of herself that has been hiding for 50 years.
TIME TRAVELERS brings her art full circle with paper doll dress designs she created when she was 9 years old. From these early paintings (that luckily her mother saved!) Joan is constructing full size paper dresses that will be displayed on lighted 6 foot plexiglass cylinders suggesting portals of time. Her story is inspired by this quote from Carl Jung…
“What did you do as a child that made the hours pass like minutes? Herein lies the key to your earthly pursuits.”
Joan raised additional funds through her Kickstarter campaign and may be best known for her origami art that debuted in the windows of Tiffany & Co. in 1993. During the past 21 years she has developed her art as gift pieces for museum shops around the country beginning with the Smithsonian in 1995, been commissioned for larger art works both public and private and worked as an instructor of origami nationally and locally.

Much more of the story here on Kickstarter…

I had an interesting time reading the answers to this month’s AOM, as Mr. Francis Schanberger marries paper, beautiful, handmade, warm, organic paper, with photography. Photography: some may loosely think of it as an offshoot in the world of fine arts, with its glory days of dramtic black and white footage, whether a dashing Avedon model, or an Arbus character staring back at you inviting your comments, your questions, your curiosity.  And now we have our phones, of course. Camera lenses, on our phones or the latest SLR do not seem to be remotely related to the paper world, nor can you use your camera as a tool to imprint your image directly on paper, (or can you)?  Nevertheless, the two worlds seem to be on opposite sides of the arts timetable: digital, fast, the science of light and time, with paper, handmade, hands-on techniques, whether using a brush or a press.  So, onward to Francis, who gives us a lesson in chemistry + photography + paper, and the methods are intriguing, as one artist’s vision grows with each sheet of the ever trustworthy washi, or Japanese paper.

PCI: So, tell us a little bit about your work, Francis, and your inspiration.

FS: Describing the kind of work that I do used to be such an easy question. I am trained as a photographer but have pushed back against established ways of showing work. In the photographic world, images were for many years presented in white mats and black frames. Presenting work is more fluid now, but that initial rebellion continues in my avoidance of the inkjet print or the “publish on demand” photo book. Printmakers, painters, and installation artists have influenced me. It is stand alone photographs sometimes complimented with photographic installation. Lately I have been creating ephemeral photograms (camera-less images) using clothing and plant pigments.

Alternative photo process,

Pirate Chic, by Francis Schanberger

PCI: That process is fascinating. Watch the VIDEO HERE.  What do you like about working with paper?

FS: Paper continually reminds me that I am making something.  Specifically, the handmade papers create a tension between photographic image and photographic object.  By tension I mean to suggest an awareness of the power of photography to exist as a simulation of reality and as a real, stand alone, tactile thing.  Paper has mass, volume, memory, texture and sound qualities.  Related to vision, it can pass light through itself and block it.

PCI: Papers definitely have their own sounds, as well as smells, in a good way, of course.     How did you hear about our company?

FS: One of my favorite papers, a heavy weight Kozo Unryu, was encountered by chance in preparing for two different assignments in an alternative photography class I was teaching. I had found a paper to use in a demonstration of creating handmade artist’s books. I had extra paper left over and decided to try out chemistry for the students’ next project Vandyke Brown prints. This is a historical photographic process that uses iron and sliver in tandem to print out an image before it is even developed.  The combination of paper and chemistry did something I never expected.  Instead of immediately soaking in, as I have experienced with unsized papers, it gave me time to brush it on, eventually being absorbed by the outer most layers of the paper.   After processing, I noticed that it yielded a very dense brown color somewhat hard to achieve in the Vandyke Brown (kallitype) process.

When I first moved to Dayton, Ohio there was a wonderful art supply store on the west side of town called McCallister’s. They went out of business in 2009, shortly after I began working with the Kozo Unryu papers they had stocked. One of these was the paper I had used for the book assignment. I searched online for paper suppliers who might carry the identical paper.  After replying to my email queries and after mailing a sample to Rhode Island, Paper Connection International identified the paper I was using and was able to ship it to the Midwest.

Winged Seeds, by Francis Schanberge

Winged Seeds, by Francis Schanberger

PCI: Did you have much knowledge about Japanese papers before using our papers? How did Paper Connection help you navigate through the wonderful world of washi?

FS: Paper Connection provided my first real education on Japanese papers. I had no idea the paper I had been using was considered a heavy weight and the ability to work with larger quantities of this paper helped me to learn how the Kozo responded to humidity, pH during processing, and how much chemistry I could apply to the paper surface.  The paper has a very pronounced texture because of the Unryu (long fibers embedded in the paper).  I began to select subject matter that would benefit and not compete with the surface.

platinum print, alternative photo process, mino washi

Two Gingkos, by Francis Schanberger

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? Describe some of the differences between our papers and others you have worked with?

FS: Currently I use Japanese papers for historical photographic printing done in Vandyke Brown and Platinum / Palladium.  I have used three different papers from Paper Connection. The Kozo Unryu HW in both a brushed and unbrushed surface and a Kozo paper with no Unryu texture and hardly any sizing.  I do prefer the sized paper because they allow me to brush on the emulsion over a hard table surface. However, last May I was asked to try out a brand new paper made in Ino, Japan that was a combination of Kozo and Gampi with no internal sizing. The paper is extremely thin weighing in at 30 g/sm. I had to learn to apply the light sensitive emulsion with the paper placed over a piece of felted wool.  I am warming up to the new paper but the photochemistry it was designed for is pricey which limits my ability to print with it.

PCI: What paper of ours would you recommend for the various methods you employ in your work?

FS: I like the Kozo Unryu Heavy Weight paper for Vandyke Brown printing because it works really well with my style of brushing on light-sensitive emulsion and it has a terrific wet strength.

PCI: And, of course, which artist would you like to have a nice sit down and chat with? And does paper fit in somehow?

FS: If I could have a conversation with any artist present or past it would be pictorialist photographer Jane Reece. I would talk about paper because she was known in her time as an expert in printing photographs on Japanese tissue.  Because of my involvement with the use of the paper from Ino (Kochi) Japan, I have become aware of the paper makers’ interest in early twentieth century photographers and their use of Japanese tissue. The paper makers of Ino are interested in whether the paper they have made bears any resemblance to the Japanese tissue of the early 1900’s. The only examples exist in museums in the United States.

PCI: Thank you so much, Francis. This has been enlightening, and your work exudes the warmth and texture paper provides, with the imagery that light creates with your vision.  Chemistry + photography + paper = beautiful.

Francis will be featured in an alternate venue during the upcoming Kyotographie in Kyoto this Spring:

COHJU gallery: Platinum Print / Alternative Process meets Tosahakkinshi April 26th– May 10th, 2014

This exhibition is a follow-up to an exhibition of three Japanese and two American photographers at the Ino-cho Paper Museum last September.  Francis along with these other artists all used the new paper and printed images in the Platinum Palladium process:

http://francisschanberger.com/section/373290_Tosa_Washi_Meets_Platinum_Palladium.html

To learn more about Francis, please visit his website and the following links:

francisschanberger.com

From Walking

Forces of Nature

He is an established letterpress printer in the Providence, RI, area, teaches letterpress at RISD, unique to say the least, and our Artist of the Month for January.  We wouldn’t want to start 2014 off any other way.  This has been a long time coming, as we have known Dan for many years.  It’s worth the wait though, as we peer into his ever tinkering, witty, quirky mind, and talk about paper!

PCI: We have know you for a while, Dan, but please share with our readers and paper fans what kind of artwork do you do?  What or who has influenced/inspired you?

DW: I am a printer and printmaker, and run my own letterpress print shop, DWRI Letterpress in Providence, RI.  The shop does commercial letterpress work, from invitations to business stationery to many, many collaborations with artists and designers.  In my own prints, I make work from various sources, (found printed objects, photographs, type, etc) with ink and paper using way too many cast iron printing presses.  My own work involves a lot of type, coarse halftone images, old newspapers, etc., to bring these earlier printed objects back into the mainstream.

Inspiration?  Pretty much everything, but as far as artists go, I always loved Saul Steinberg as a kid and adult, and also Jean Tinguely, the French sculptor who made the self destructing Homage to New York.Dan Wood's desk

PCI: What attracts you to working with paper? What do you like best about working with paper?

DW: For paper, and prints in general, I like the fact there is a certain amount of permanence, the idea the paper once printed is now a record of that earlier process.  It has some depth and dimension when printing via letterpress, but not nearly as much as the plates or type that went into making it. There is also a delicateness, and fragility, in contrast to the greasy messy machines that it is surrounded by, and somehow, they both come out ok.

PCI: How did you hear about our company, Paper Connection?

DW: I dont remember!  It’s Rhode Island, so at some point when the need for a particular paper came along, I’m sure someone said, “Hey, I know a guy…” or in this case, “hey, I know a gal…”, and that was that.  Let me think, what and when was it…

PCI:  We recall it was through a local stationer on the West Side…..

So, back to the days before we knew about each other; how much knowledge of washi  and other Asian papers did you have before using our supply?

DW: A little bit, but only from a printmaking perspective with chine collé, etc…nothing like the Lokta (20×30 inches $4.00/sheet and a 3 x6 feet natural lokta @ $30.00/sheet ) or Pang Pi (45×80 inches $20.00/sheet), I like to use for my work.

PCI: More on those two specific papers later.  How did we help navigate and perhaps inform you about Japanese paper?

DW: The most educational aspect for me is of the contemporary position of traditional paper makers and artisans in Japan and in the world, and how important it is to support like-minded artisans if indeed we value what they produce. You can feel that labor of love in the paper itself, and I am not a touchy-feely-gaga-over-paper person.

PCI: And that’s okay!  We really appreciate the awareness you share regarding the artistic nature of the paper makers themselves. They are truly National Treasures.  Which papers do you use of ours and for what printmaking process? How do these papers interact with your take on letterpress?

DW: So, the printing process I use is letterpress printing, which at its core is basically just a mechanized from of relief printing (inking a raised surfaced and pressing it onto a paper like substrate).  Many Japanese papers are ideally suited for this method, for use in traditional Japanese relief printing.  For me, however, I gravitate to the slightly grittier papers like the Pang Pi (oversized kozo) from China (45×80 inches $20.00/sheet), and Lokta from Nepal (3×6 feet natural lokta @ $30.00/sheet. )   I like these papers as they are both available in huge sheets, and for my uses have a quality similar to the old newspapers I am referencing sometimes in my work.  They both also react and hold ink exceptionally well, but have a thickness and feel not unlike the western cotton and wood based papers used in my artwork and shop.

PCI: What are some of the differences between our papers and others you have worked with?

DW: The main stereotypical difference is that sulfite , (wood pulp), and cotton papers tend to need to be much, much thicker to be stronger sheets, while mulberry and other papers can be exceptionally strong and also super thin.   They can then have a sleekness without being calendered or overtly manufactured, but still hold together.

PCI: So in this case, especially for those in the letterpress field,  thin doesn’t mean weak, and thick doesn’t mean strong. Tell us which Paper Connection paper you would recommend for a particular application:

DW:  I like PANG PI paper for LETTERPRESS because it IS REALLY BIG AND HOLDS BLACK INK REALLY WELL.  And it is cool.

PCI: 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?

DW: At this point, I would be happy to talk to any artist, (or anyone really), who managed to just keep his or her cool, despite whatever pressures. That’s about it.  I feel lucky to be able to work and talk crap with so many people and artists already, especially fellow letterpress and other printers – they are weird in a lot of very particular ways.

PCI: Dan, thank you so much. We feel like you taught us a thing or two on letterpress, and we really appreciate your presence in our humble Ocean State.  Thank you for being such a huge support of Paper Connection!Dan Wood, DWRIFor more on Dan Wood’s work and his letterpress studio, please visit his website: dwriletterpress.net

Follow his tumblr here: The DWRI Letterpress Blog
See more of his art here.

A visit to Dan’s letterpress class at RISD (Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI)

Jane and Francesca, two of our paperwomen, had the chance to enlighten aspiring printmakers of the future, on the beauty of washi and letterpress.   A common misconception is  that paper must be thick, and framed by those wonderful deckle edges we see on so many letterpress invitations.  Not so, as we all discovered at the class.  Just because washi is thinner, doesn’t mean it is weaker.

Dan Wood, DWRI, RISD, Letterpress, Paper Connection

Dan Wood, DWRI, RISD, Letterpress, Paper Connection

Dan Wood, DWRI, RISD, Letterpress, Paper Connection, Lace Cardstock              Searching for the 8th wonder of the world on Japanese Plum Blossom Lace paper, backed.

Stocked in 3 colors: pink, gray and coconut cream; 21.5×31 inches @ only $6.00/sheet at Paper Connection: 401-454-1436.

Paperwoman’s letterpress printed business cards on Japanese Plum Blossom Lace Cardstock, by Dan Wood.

letterpress,cardstock,lace

We didn’t have to look too far to meet our next Artist of the Month: Esteban Martinez.  How close?  How about a next door neighbor! Rhode Island has a reputation for being small, where there exist three degrees of separation, with those degrees going down as the art scene in the Ocean State only gets stronger.  As Mr. Martinez answers our famous questions, perhaps you can think of reaching out to a neighbor, business or otherwise, and see what kind of connections you can make: it’s amazing how much in common we have, simply by asking.

PCI: Tell us a little about yourself and your work, Esteban.  What kind of artwork do you do? What or who influenced and inspired you?

EM: Shodo, Japanese calligraphy.  My main inspiration was my late Aikido teacher Fumio Toyoda Shihan.  I also get inspiration from classical Zen calligraphers and martial artists.

Ordinary Mind by Esteban Martinez

Ordinary Mind by Esteban Martinez

PCI: What attracts you to working with paper?

EM: Well, 50% of good Shodo is having good paper. The other 50% is skill and ink.  So paper is important.  How paper reacts to ink, quality, size, texture…it will all affect the end result.

PCI: What do you like best about working with paper?

EM: How it reacts to the ink, and the effect it produces, whether it is dry or wet spots.  It all gives the calligraphy a unique feel.

Esteban choosing papers at our warehouse.

Esteban choosing papers at our warehouse.

Kihosen Kana  in bolts

Kihosen Kana in bolts

PCI: In turn, which your pieces manifest.  How did you hear about Paper Connection International?
EM: Lauren is my next door neighbor!

PCI: So who says good fences make good neighbors?

How much knowledge did you have of washi before using our papers?

EM: Just the basics of Japanese “rice” paper for calligraphy.  I didn’t really got my hands on real handmade until Lauren gave me a piece of a beautiful paper called Kihosen Kana.

PCI:  A popular misnomer that Asian papers are made of “rice” materials.  We are so glad you were introduced to that gorgeous paper, made out of kozo, or Japanese mulberry.  How did Paper Connection help navigate and inform you about Japanese paper?

EM: Through Lauren I have been learning the differences between machine made and hand made paper, and why handmade quality paper is so much better.

IMG_8360

PCI: So what papers do you use of ours and for what process?

EM: I got a whole block of Kihosen Kana handmade paper.

Kihosen Kana Paper

Kihosen Kana Paper

PCI: What did you like about those papers that enhanced your creative and technical process?

EM: The sumi ink flows beautifully in it and I really like how the calligraphy looks on it.

PCI: Please explain some of the differences you have discovered between our papers and others you have worked with.

EM:  You can tell that the paper from PCI has been carefully sourced from the best places. The rest feels generic and poor quality.

PCI: Based on your experience so far, what papers would you recommend to a fellow Shodo artist?

EM: I like Kihonsen Kana paper for  Shodo or Sumi-e because it has a beautiful texture and the sumi_ ink flows perfectly on it.

PCI: I can envision the tranquility of each brushstroke as you describe that.  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?

EM: I would like to have a conversation with Yamaoka Tesshu. He was a master swordsman and Japanese calligrapher. I would ask him how did he choose his paper and how he mounted them on scrolls.

PCI: What a combination of skills! Surely that would be an enlightening conversation.  Thank you so much, Esteban, for your time, and your support of Paper Connection International. We really appreciate it. And thank you for being such a nice neighbor!

To find out more about Esteban Martinez, please visit his website: Gohitsu Shodo Studio, where you can also fan his Facebook page and see what he’s up to on YouTube.  I totally chilled to the background music while watching him at work. A great way to get inspired!

You could say “I am my mother’s daughter”  in my love of folk art  and ephemera… apparently!  My mother’s collection through the years has inspired me to not only start my own collection, but to keep up with hers.  Although not technically folk art, she had amassed a collection of vintage Japanese wrapping papers and packaging.  “Vintage”, meaning, not from 1992, or (click here to see our sister shop on Esty) retro-looking replicas, but literally, “vintage”;4-5 decades oldwhich was stored away in the corner of her attic, waiting for her next mixed media collage.

Here are some of the many sheets I pored through, pondering if I could use them in my own artwork.  For now I will just add them to my personal ephemera collection.

See more at our flickr here.