Archives for category: decorative arts

Sizing, dosa, wheat pasteMany of our readers are quite knowledgeable when it comes to sizing your own paper, especially sizing your “go-to” paper.

Here is a step-by-step “recipe” for cooking up your own sizing and applying it to your favorite Eastern paper.

The photos shown here are mostly depicting sizing made from wheat starch.  Nope!, it’s not a gluten-free, but not a problem for the paper, and a nice alternative to animal-based sizing.

Exciting news regarding plant-based sizing… last night we received a new Eastern paper, already pre-sized with devil’s root starch, “konnyaku” -no animals used at all with this process, only human labor.  Photos will be posted soon on social media.

We have entertained many varying viewpoints on sizing and sizing recipes. What are yours? Please share below, along with your experiences in making your own sizing. In the meantime, enjoy our sizing tests, made in our paper “kitchen”, here in Providence.

Adding sizing to paper affects the paper fibers’ sensitivity to humidity, absorption, and bleeding. There are many materials that can be used to size paper; we will cover the sizing procedure for gelatin size and wheat paste. It is not unlike cooking, where 90% of the procedure is preparation. This method allows for easy application with a large soft-bristle brush.

Gelatin Sizing Recipe:

This is the recipe for rabbit skin glue that can be used to size paper. (Please note: the gelatin size will need to be prepared 8-12 hours in advance.) What you will need:

  • Rabbit skin glue: 1/3 Cup (powdered or solid sticks)
  • Crystalline Alum: 1 Pinch (potassium aluminum sulfate)
  • Double boiler with lid (a glass jar and sauce pan will also work)
  • 16–32 oz. plastic / glass container (glass is recommended)
  • Soft-bristle brush

Step One: Soak the glue in a quart of cold water for several hours until it swells and softens. (With solid sticks this may take overnight or 12+ hours).

 

Sizing, dosa, animal skin glue

 

Step Two: Once the glue has softened and become gelatinous heat in a double boiler. The mixture should be stirred continuously until the gelatin has dissolved and the glue has become one consistent solution. (Note: never allow glue to boil). Remove from heat and stir in 1 pinch of alum. Allow the glue to cool slightly and apply warm to your paper. Apply one coat to each side and allow to dry completely on newsprint. Additional coats may be added as necessary.

Sizing, dosa, animal skin glue, wheat paste Sizing, dosa, animal skin glue, wheat paste

Sizing, dosa, animal skin glue, wheat paste

The remaining size solution can be saved in a jar in the refrigerator, and only requires heating to be used again.

 Sizing, dosa, animal skin glue, wheat pasteSizing, dosa, animal skin glue, wheat paste

Wheat Paste Recipe:

This is the recipe for wheat paste that can be used to size paper.(Please note: the wheat paste will need to be prepared one day in advance.) What you will need:

  • Wheat starch: 1/3 cup
  • Double boiler with lid (a glass jar and sauce pan will also work)
  • 16–32 oz. plastic / glass container (glass is recommended)
  • Measuring cup (1/4 cup – 1/2 cup size)
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Nylon fabric

Step One: Fill the bottom of the double boiler with cold water and place on your heat source at a medium heat setting and bring to a low boil. (Alternatively, if you do not have a double boiler a glass jar placed in a saucepan works as well. Add enough water to submerge 1/3 of the jars height.) Sizing, dosa,  wheat paste

Step Two: While you are waiting, measure out your wheat starch and water. We used a 4:1 ratio. 4 parts water to 1 part wheat starch: 11/3 cup of water to 1/3 cup of wheat starch. Mix the starch and water together in the top pan of the double boiler, (or the jar for those who are not using the double boiler) Mix thoroughly, making sure none of the starch has stuck to the bottom. The resulting mixture should be an opaque white solution resembling milk.

Sizing, dosa,  wheat paste Sizing, dosa,  wheat paste Sizing, dosa,  wheat paste

Once you have mixed the ingredients place the pan over the boiling water (or place your jar in the pan) and stir continuously until the mixture begins to thicken. The mixture will thicken to the consistency of heavy cream and small “chunks” will begin to form. Continue stirring until smooth and the mixture has the consistency of custard.

Sizing, dosa,  wheat paste

Step Three: Now the mixture can be covered and allowed to cook over a low boil for 25 minutes, with a quick stir every 5 minutes. The paste should continue to thicken and become somewhat translucent as it cooks. After you’ve allowed the paste to cook, add small amounts of hot water from the pan to your mixture and stir until the paste is smooth and custard like.

Sizing, dosa,  wheat paste Sizing, dosa,  wheat paste

Pour the paste from your pan into your designated container and allow it to cool in a refrigerator over night. This is to allow the paste to gel into a homogeneous solid.

Sizing, dosa,  wheat paste

Step Four: Once the paste has gelled, wring a small amount through a piece of fabric: nylon, cotton, handkerchief, etc… Slowly add small amounts of water and mix with a brush until the paste is thin enough to apply with a brush to your paper. Apply one coat to each side and allow to dry completely on newsprint. Additional coats may be added as necessary.

Sizing, dosa,  wheat pasteSizing, dosa,  wheat paste

Sizing, dosa,  wheat pasteSizing, dosa,  wheat paste

Remember: As with all size, test for each use, and dilute as appropriate. If in doubt, thin and apply multiple coats. Allow the paper to completely dry between each coat. The best way to learn how much size to use, and when to use it is through experience and experimentation.

Sizing, dosa,  wheat paste, gelatin, rabbit skin glue

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.

This special limited edition calendar is printed on all handmade kozo paper. Patterns are printed in Toyama, Japan, using Mr. Serizawa‘s original stencils (kata).   Each page measures ~12×15 inches and are works of art on their own.  It is now available here on our shopify store.

Sold in a portfolio/set of 12 prints.  Only 1 copy in stock@$200.00.Limited Edition Serizawa Calendar

Limited Edition Serizawa Calendar for saleLimited Edition Serizawa Calendar for sale

Limited Edition Serizawa Calendar for sale

Limited Edition Serizawa Calendar for sale Limited Edition Serizawa Calendar for sale

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

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…

DIY, upcycle, marbled paper, hand made, craft, containerHow about wrapping a simple empty cookie tin to pretty-up  your desk or kitchen storage, make a quick vase or gift?

After our last DIY tutorial, we felt ready to tackle wrapping a tin with some beautiful hand-made marbled lokta from Nepal to make a unique up-cycled object.

What you will need:

Frame supplies editTIN-1

Step One:

Cut down a piece of paper to the size of the tin, leaving about a 1/4 inch extra on the top and bottom and at least one inch added to the length.  Apply a coat of glue to the backside of the paper, and make sure you get all the edges.TIN-2Step Two:

Place the tin centered (vertically) on the paper leaving an extra 1/4 inch on the top and bottom to be folded over later.  Align the tin at one end of the paper and roll it slowly with two hands, smoothing the paper from the center out as you go.

TIN-3TIN-4

Step Three:

Pinch the extra paper around the edge of the tin on the top and bottom.  Cut out a circle big enough to cover exposed tin area on bottom and adhere cut circle with glue.  Burnish out any wrinkles and you’re done!

You can apply a clear coat of acrylic medium to the finished object to protect the surface, and add a slight sheen.  This will also make the colors appear more saturated.  You can also rub a clear wax candle (solid wax) to cover the paper to create a barrier, helping resist oil stains and fingerprints.TIN-5TIN-6

DIY, upcycle, patterned paper, lokta, washi, yuzen, frame, chiyogami, joss paperWe had so much fun with our last DIY tutorial, and with so many handmade papers at our disposal at the Paper Connection warehouse, we wanted to share some up-cycling projects using smaller decorative paper scraps and thrift store finds.  Have a small piece of patterned paper lying around from an old project?  Or an old frame?  If so, I bet you’ll love our new DIY demos!

For this demo, we used patterned lokta to frame a piece of Joss paper, a traditional Chinese gold leaf paper.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

wheat paste, patterned paper, lokta, washi, yuzen, DIY, upcycle, frame, chiyogami

Step One:

Place the frame on top of a piece of paper, trim it down so that there are approximately 1-inch borders around the edges.  Then, cut out a window in the center, leaving an extra ~1/4 inch.

Frame-cut-2Frame-cut-1Step Two:

Apply the PVA Glue to the front of the frame and place frame face down centered around the opening. We also included wheat paste on our supply list; takes a  little longer to dry, but creates a very strong bond with paper.  We used a sponge brush to apply the glue.

Frame-corner Step Three:

Using the right angle tool, cut a flap, to later be folded over. You can cut the flap a number of ways, we chose to follow around the frame clockwise, as opposed to lining up the top and bottom.  For the center opening, we eyeballed a 45-degree angle for the cut.

Step Four:

Apply the glue with the sponge brush to the flaps .  Frame-glue-flap

Step Five:

Fold the LONG side of the flap over FIRST.  If you mistakenly fold the short side over first, (like we did), just trim off the long part and if you are using handmade paper it is pretty flexible and you can stretch it to meet the other piece. Same rule applies to the inside flaps- getting a perfect 45-degree angle is difficult, so a little fudging while the flap is wet Frame-fold-backwith glue will allow for a certain margin of error.  Fold the extra paper around the back of the frame.

Step Six:   Burnish the face and edge of the frame with the bone folder to make sure there are no bubbles or creases.DIY, wrapped Frame, burnishing, patterned lokta paper

Step Seven:

DIY coaster, papercraft, yuzen paper, chiyogami

This step is optional, however, while you have all of your supplies out, use a scrap to make a coaster!  We used a a small piece of yuzen or chiyogami and a scrap of masonite.  You could also use an old coaster, or a scrap of wood.  Follow steps 1-6 and once you finish, apply the acrylic medium (also referred to as matte medium or gel medium) as a top coat to the coaster (and frame) for a slightly shinier, and better protected surface.  It will also make the color of whatever paper you use a little more saturated.  And you’re done! Frame-final-1

Frame-Final-4

How to wrap a cylinder,  coming in the next DIY tutorial.

For more interesting paper news, check out our Facebook page and our website Paper Connection.

Our latest paperwoman, Ms. May Babcock, certainly has been busy these days.  She has now become a regular fixture at Providence’s AS220, teaching papermaking.  This long overdue class has been filled to capacity, with eager paper newbies ready to get their hands wet and minds inspired by May’s expertise.  Using sustainable fibers, May implements traditional yet easy-for-the-beginner papermaking with good, old-fashioned recycling.

CLEAN, green PAPER: story by a guest paper-blogger.

At a recent demonstration, held at Jean Winslow’s studio in Lowell, Massachusetts, May helped the eager crowd to turn to invasive species as a source of fiber for papermaking.  Think codium, an invasive seaweed that is in plentiful supply along our beautiful Atlantic coast.  The goopy water that May said resembled “salsa verde”, (we were thinking a thick miso broth with extra wakame too), soon had many hands agitating the shredded seaweed to equally balance its own density in the water. Then with one swift scoop at a 45 degree angle, we were all shuffling our seaweed across a small screen. Following May’s instructions of “opening and closing a door”, we removed our newly-formed sheet on pieces of felt and pelon, with a hinge-like move that closed the screen down on the felt, and opened it up again using the same side of the deckle from which we placed it down.  After rolling and squeezing the sheet, we then proudly dried it on a sheet of plexiglass.

So we were beginners, but looked with awe as we formed our papers and watched them dry.  As we brought our sheets home, we were excited to figure out how we would use this handmade sheet. My codium paper? Safely nestled on my bookshelf along with jars of collected shells from southern Rhode Island beaches…so I caved in to the nautical theme.  At least it’s with the hope of making some space for native seaweed species along Cape Cod, one sheet at a time.

See more of May’s papermaking adventures with local local fibers at May Babcock’s blog.

I literally just stepped off the plane from one of the most beautiful places on Earth: Hawai’i.  Despite the need to be out from behind a desk, close to the lullaby of the ocean waves, still I couldn’t resist delving further into some traditional culture of the islands.  Little did I know this curiosity would lead to a quest on finding a local kapa artist and a lesson in ukulele.

Practically upon landing on Big Island, I immediately discovered an article in the Where series (wheretraveler.com) by Lynn Cook called The Kapa Chronicles, which included not only some kapa history, but also a written review and images of kapa maker Marie McDonald’s pieces as fine art, her recent exhibit at the Honolulu Academy of Arts.  I decided I had to meet this woman, and I set out to find her or at least more information on her work.  How delighted I was to learn she resided in Waimea, only 12 miles from where I was staying!  This was my only but unbelievable chance to meet the kapa maker herself.  Before I embarked on my search for Ms. McDonald, however, I had a few things to learn during my visit.

Performing arts and fiber arts? Always a connection!

First, a brief lesson in ukulele, (click link twice to see video) where I “fell in love” with my young teachers Melissa, Lauren, Ryan and Eric; true, young geniuses at dance and all the traditional performing arts.   Then, a mini lesson in hula, but I noticed there were no signs of anyone wearing kapa; the bark cloth worn for hula in the past.  The art of kapa was almost lost in 1820 when the missionaries who came to Hawai’i introduced woven cloth and sewing circles.

Patterns printed on kapa are made with carved wooden sticks or anvils and natural dyes.Geometric Patterns examples for kapa (bark cloth).Geometric Patterns examples for kapa (bark cloth).

Kapa, generically known as tapa in Polynesian, is a cloth made out of bast fibers from bushes.

Front side of "Masi"; bark cloth from Fiji.

Front side of “Masi”; bark cloth from Fiji.

Back side of "Masi"; bark cloth from Fiji.

Back side of “Masi”; bark cloth from Fiji.

Used traditionally as loincloths and other garments, the kapa was handmade by women.  Did you know, however, that kapa is made out of kōzo; fiber from the paper mulberry bush? Called wauke in Hawai’ian, parallel to the kōzo fiber used in Japan for washi, wauke is cultivated to make kapa cloth traditionally used for hula.  These days, artists create modern patterns on their own, homegrown, homemade kapa cloth.  It is interesting to note that the paper mulberry’s bast fibers make their appearance in various, functional fiber arts found across the globe.

My quest to meet Marie, the kapa artist:

I drove to Waimea and inquired at the local Gallery of Great Things, which carried both Marie’s kapa work as well as her daughter’s. “How could I meet the great Marie McDonald?”  I was informed at least her daughter Roen would be at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday selling kapa.  Saturday, I again made my way to  Waimea Town to the  Farmer’s Market.  Unfortunately, I did not catch up with either mother or daughter, but I was so close!

These photos of mother and daughter were taken in 2010, by http://www.damontucker.com in 2010.

Marie McDonald

Marie McDonald

Marie McDonald, who is 87 years young this year, is a native Hawai’ian who intends to pass on her wealth of knowledge on traditional arts to future generations, along with her daughter, Roen McDonald Hufford.  These are very special farmers, as they grow their own “art materials” to create their art.  They have long been living sustainably before the word became fashionable.

Roen McDonald Hufford

Roen McDonald Hufford

Marie has taught traditional Hawai’ian culture for decades in schools.  She is a scholar in this realm and a true kumu (teacher)  of her culture. She is author of an important book on lei-making called, Ka Lei:The Leis of Hawaii (1985) , and a newer book on  leis, with astounding photography called Na Lei Makamae: The Treasured Lei (2003). I have now learned that mother and daughter teach traditional Hawai’an arts via the Hawai’i Prep Academy, where I must visit next time for sure!

Here are some leis I saw at the farmer’s market in Waimea.homegrown, handmade leis

Here are examples of Marie McDonald’s kapa work:

Dancers wear kapa as they perform; scenes from the Merrie Monarch Festival  from Lynn Cook’s article.

Hula_Kapa1Hula_Kapa2

The Big Island Beckons: The kōzo, kapa and HULA connection is calling me back to the Big Island.  Hopefully it will be very soon, so I may have the honor of meeting Marie McDonald, her daughter, and their many students.  There is much to discuss, learn, and share, but in the meantime, here is my offering of what a little curiosity on vacation can do for you.

Hanji!

Hanji!

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.