Archives for category: inspiration

Do you have the winter blues? Right now, if you are in the New England area, you might say: “yes!” We have had quite the winter so far, with snowstorm after snowstorm, and bitter cold to boot.

However, with my amazing staff we have been able to keep our tight paper-ship running, sending out orders, and meeting with various paper artists who enjoy the experience of visiting our warehouse and showroom. There was one special visitor by Ms. Christine Aaron, who between blizzards drove to our humble headquarters all the way from Porchester, NY. Her presence thoroughly warmed up the season; especially her joyful smile and pure enthusiasm for creating art-  just the medicine we needed to cure the winter blues.

christine aaron, printmaker, encaustic, usuyou gampi paper

christine aaron, printmaker, encaustic, usuyou gampi paper

Enjoy Christine’s interview, as well as images of her works and from our warehouse. We know it will cure any cabin fever you may be experiencing this winter.

PCI: Please tell us about your background, Christine, and what kind of artwork you do.

CA: I’m a mixed media artist whose current mediums of choice are printmaking and wax, employed on a variety of substrates such as paper, metal, mirror and wood. In my last few series, I am using tree imagery as symbolic of memory, life’s record and the passage of time.

3_C_Aaron_EchoIII

PCI: What inspires you? Which artists have influenced you?

CA: I find inspiration from so many sources. Some of these might seem more apparent in my work, others less so. Trees, both living and deteriorating, of course!  I admire and respond to a wide range of artists’ work, not stemming from any particular group or “type.” Current favorites are Anselm Kiefer, El Anatsui, The Gees Bend quiltmakers, Emilie Brezinski, Lynn Geesaman, Klimpts landscapes, Thiebauds  landscapes. I am recently very intrigued by and drawn to outsider art. I try to go to visit museums, galleries, and go to the exhibits of artist friends and contemporaries. The good and the bad of it is that the sources of inspiration and therefore possibilities of choice/direction within my work are endless.

christine aaron, printmaker, encaustic, Remnant

Remnant

PCI: What attracts you to working with paper?

christine aaron, printmaker, encaustic, usuyou gampi paper,Tree Muse II

Tree Muse II

CA: It’s versatility! It’s reception of any medium. The fact that paper can assert its presence, or visually disappear. Its uses range from the diaphanous to the sculptural, and there is a paper for every artistic need possible.

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

CA: I have never made paper though it has always been of interest to me. There are so many options when you engage artistically with paper and I feel like I am just beginning to scratch the surface as to its possibilities within my artwork.

christine aaron, printmaker, encaustic, usuyou gampi paper christine aaron, printmaker, encaustic, usuyou gampi paper

PCI: This is so true. We have been in the world of paper for over twenty years now and it’s amazing how much more you can learn, regarding how it’s made to each sheet’s qualities.  So how did you hear about Paper Connection?

CA: I was introduced to Paper Connection at the 8th International Encaustic Conference in Provincetown, Mass. It’s an annual conference conceived and run by Joanne Mattera, and now co-run with Cherie Mittenthal of the Truro Center for the Arts, that focuses on the medium of wax, and professional development within that field. The vendor room is a smorgasbord of supplies and Paper Connection was one of the vendors.

PCI: And we enjoyed participating in that conference. The members of this encaustic group are very supportive of each other. Paper Connection felt welcomed from our first experience, particularly by artists like yourself.  We are grateful to know you and have been vendors at this conference every year since. How much did you know about Japanese or Eastern papers before using our selection?

CA: I have been using and experimenting with some Japanese papers both in my printmaking (chine colle) and with layering imagery in my work with wax. My “go-to” was a Japanese “silk tissue” and I was struggling to find something similar for an installation I was creating for a solo exhibit. I could not find any source that had this paper in rolls, (only sheets).

christine aaron, printmaker, encaustic, usuyou gampi paper

Pulling Large Format Print

christine aaron, printmaker, encaustic, usuyou gampi paper christine aaron, printmaker, encaustic, usuyou gampi paper

PCI: How did we help?

CA: Lauren was incredibly patient, and knowledgeable in discussing what my needs were, and suggesting possibilities. I had tried an usukuchi (rayon) paper, and though transparent it didn’t have the “feel” I was looking for. Lauren told me that Paper Connection had rolls of both white and natural gampi, (what I had known as Japanese silk tissue). I bought it on the spot. And then once I experienced printing on it…I ordered lots more!

PCI: For which we were so grateful!  What do you like about gampi paper and how do you incorporate it in your work?

christine aaron, printmaker, encaustic, usuyou gampi paper

Hand Transfer

CA: This paper is fantastic. Translucent to the point of transparency when printed on, strong yet fragile, it worked beautifully with my imagery. I hand printed multiple  36 x 102 inch panels for my installation. Once hung, they would gently move with any air current, and almost “followed” viewers as they walked through the panels(the movement generated by the air currents of the people). In addition, the sound they made as they moved was lovely…a whisper that added to the audio part of the installation.

christine aaron, printmaker, encaustic, usuyou gampi paper, Murmur

Murmur

christine aaron, printmaker, encaustic, usuyou gampi paper, Murmur

Murmur detail

PCI: Paper and Sound…aaahhh! We’re always telling  clients “listen to the sound of gampi”…..

We carry rolled papers with artists like you in mind, for larger format prints and installation pieces. What did you like about those papers that aided in your creative and/or technical process?

CA: The rolls of usuyou gampi worked beautifully for my installation. I also use many Japanese papers in my print and mixed media work. I frequently write or print (oil based paper lithography, hand transferred), on them, and then tear up and reassemble, and layer the imagery as part of a larger composition. Recently I have been experimenting with using these papers dipped in wax, where the paper asserts itself more sculpturally.

PCI:  We are so happy that gampi paper works well with encaustics. What are the differences between our papers and others you have worked with?

CA: I’m not sure I can speak to the differences, since I feel like a novice in this area. However, I will say having someone as knowledgeable as Lauren with whom to speak, makes a huge difference in being able to find the right paper for whatever I’m working on.

PCI: Thank you!

Fill in the blank, if you had to recommend a Paper Connection paper for a particular application:

CA: The Usuyou Gampi for layering within any mixed media work.

PCI: If you could have a conversation with any artist present or past, who would it be? Would you talk about paper?

CA: I have tried to answer this question numerous times and there are too many artists to list and questions to ask!

Well said. Our dear readers can imagine which artists are in our imaginary paper salon this month. Thank you Christine, not only for the interview, but taking usuyou gampi paper to new horizons and heights.

Photographs featuring Christine printing were taken at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking with Christopher Shore. Thank you for use of the images.

For more on Christine Aaron please visit her website: christineaaron.com

5_C_Aaron_Forest Muse

Muse

8_C_Aaron_RedArches

Red Arches

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.

SAMSUNG CSC20141217_15213120141217_152128

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

IMG_5696

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

SAMSUNG CSC

Photographs provided by Paperwoman and KCDF.

We are rounding out 2014 with an interview with artist David A. Clark, who, much to our delight, paid us a visit to our warehouse and showroomdavid a clark, printmaker, encaustic !

We enjoyed the visit, especially as things wind down as the year closes out. His perspective on handmade paper and printmaking gave us a renewed outlook as we focus on our goals for 2015. As you muse over yours, please enjoy his interview and images of his work. Thanks, David, it truly was our pleasure!

PCI: What kind of artwork do you do?

DAC: I’m really interested in the idea of trajectory and impulse and the way those two abstracts influence one’s direction, thought and the way we, as human beings, move, act, think and feel as a result of their influence. My work has always been an exploration of the idea that life is a series of small impulses and trajectories strung along a larger arc. Those concepts are manifested in many different ways in my work, and for the last several years most of them have been brought to life with encaustic and paper. Lots and lots of paper.

Ancient Histories #11, 2014 Encaustic Monoprint on Kozo Natural 38” x 25”

Ancient Histories #11, 2014
Encaustic Monoprint on Kozo Natural
38  x 25 inches

PCI: And we love to hear that! What or who has influenced/inspired you?

DAC: I find inspiration everywhere, but I’m process oriented, so typically I will have an idea in my head that is amorphous, it’s usually a feeling or an impulse that is pushing me to find it a physical form and I’ll be working in my studio on a different project and some bit of what I am doing will ‘bridge the gap” between the idea and the object, and the work will begin to take shape. Honestly though, at the moment I find great inspiration in the materials that I am working with. Materials can often be the “bridge” between the ephemeral and the physical. A perfect example is when you showed me the Sakamoto paper at 7th International Encaustic Conference. I had not worked with paper like that before, but I touched it and it triggered a curious spark. So, I bought every sheet she had and it took me about a year for that paper to find the right “idea” partner to form a dance. But I knew the minute I touched that paper that I could tell a story with it and that it would be the perfect marriage with the impulses that were percolating in my head.

2.Ancient Histories #14 2014 Encaustic Monoprint on layered Gampi & Sakamoto 32.5 x 18.5 in.

Ancient Histories #14
2014
Encaustic Monoprint on layered Gampi & Sakamoto
32.5 x 18.5 in.

Ancient Histories #22 2014 Encaustic Monoprint on Sakamoto Heavyweight 38.5 x 25 in.

Ancient Histories #22
2014
Encaustic Monoprint on Sakamoto Heavyweight
38.5 x 25 in.

PCI: What attracts you to working with paper?

DAC: Paper is language. It holds nuance and, because I am mostly printing right now, it is the catalyst for the image. As a material, paper is so versatile. It’s ephemeral or lasting, fragile or strong, absorbent or impermeable, but the most important quality to me currently is the organic nature of paper and it’s link to a historical context. There are so many different types of paper that can tell different stories. The work that I am doing at the moment is a direct result of the alchemy of process between particular types of paper, the encaustic paint I am printing with and the ideas that are asking to be made. The body of work I am currently making is very much a collaboration with paper.

 

Ancient Histories #46 2014 Encaustic Monoprint on Sakamoto Heavyweight 21.5 x 38.5 in.

Ancient Histories #46
2014
Encaustic Monoprint on Sakamoto Heavyweight
21.5 x 38.5 in.

Ancient Histories #103 2014 Encaustic Monoprint on Sakamoto Heavyweight 38.5 x 25 in.

Ancient Histories #103
2014
Encaustic Monoprint on Sakamoto Heavyweight
38.5 x 25 in.

PCI: We love the language analogy, as relating paper to language, semantics  and cultural dialect is a part of my daily goal. After all, paper is a surface invented to transmit information via language, as your layered artwork does so very well.  What do you like best about working with paper? Have you ever made paper?

DAC :I asked Catherine Nash, an artist, friend, author and expert on handmade paper, to show me how to work with high shrinkage flax last year. I loved working with the pulp and forming the sheets. I can see projects involving making my own paper at some point in the future, but for now I have my hands full with the work I am doing. I have visited some paper makers in Thailand and Cambodia, but I think a trip to Japan will be in order at some point when the ideas in my head get too big for the sheets that I am able to buy.

Ancient Histories #107 2014 Encaustic Monoprint on Sakamoto Heavyweight 25 x 38.5 in.

Ancient Histories #107
2014
Encaustic Monoprint on Sakamoto Heavyweight
25 x 38.5 in.

Ancient Histories #127 2014 Encaustic Monoprint on Kozo Natural 25 x 38 in.

Ancient Histories #127
2014
Encaustic Monoprint on Kozo Natural
25 x 38 in.

PCI: How did you hear about our company?

DAC: I first encountered Paper Connection International through you at the 7th International Encaustic Conference. I think I bought half of everything you had that first day. You had papers I had never seen before that had qualities that I knew would work well for me. Lauren, you have since become a good friend and a terrific resource for information. I’ll often email and ask about paper recommendations for projects. And I am really looking forward to visiting the store this fall for the first time. I have mostly been dialoguing with you at the Conference and by email, but so much of ones relationship to paper is tactile, so I am looking forward to touching everything in the store.

Self Portrait 2014 Encaustic Monoprint on Kozo Natural 25 x 38 in.

Self Portrait
2014
Encaustic Monoprint on Kozo Natural
25 x 38 in.

Passage #1 2014 Encaustic Monoprints on Sakamoto 38.5 x 150 in.

Passage #1
2014
Encaustic Monoprints on Sakamoto
38.5 x 150 in.

PCI: David, thank you so much. We really appreciated that first day at the Conference, as it led to such great things! Did you have much knowledge about Japanese papers before using our papers?

DAC: I have a rudimentary education in Japanese paper. Catherine Nash has been a terrific resource, and you and your staff at Paper Connection International have been a huge, huge help in illuminating and educating me in what is available. And I’m a voracious reader and researcher, so my knowledge of paper is ongoing.

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

DAC: When you introduced me to Sakamoto Heavyweight and your beautiful Kozo Natural. Those two papers form the foundation of my current work. That work would be telling a much different story without those two papers.

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

DAC: Currently I’m working on a series of Encaustic Monoprints called “Ancient Histories” which is printed on Sakamoto, Sakamoto Heavyweight, Kozo Natural, and some Kitakata, Tamura Koban, Mexican Handmade, Akatosashi and Sekishu. The Sakamoto and the Kozo Natural form the backbone of the series. They are the most beautifully strong, forgiving and versatile papers. There is something unique that happens in the print process with these papers that is pure magic.

PCI: What did you like about those papers that aided in your creative and/or technical process?

DAC: I particularly love the velvety texture and soft, organic color of the Kozo Natural, and the two opposing surfaces of the Sakamoto, both the smooth and the more velvety, and that it comes in two different weights. Both papers print well, but they each print slightly differently when printing with encaustic. And something particular occurs with the Sakamoto that doesn’t happen with any other paper. I like these papers so much I teach with them now.

PCI: We love hearing that! What are some of the differences between our papers and others you have worked with?

DC: Paper Connection carries paper that I cannot get anywhere else.

PCI: Thank you for noticing that! And yes, we try our best to provide those specialty papers while supporting the paper makers who craft them.  Fill in the blank, if you had to recommend a Paper Connection paper for a particular application:

DAC: I would recommend the Kozo Natural. It is such a glorious paper for encaustic printing.

PCI: Good choice. Bonus question:  If you could have a conversation with any artist present or past, who would it be?  And would you talk about paper?

DAC: I’d have a conversation with my friend Catherine Nash. She’s such a gifted artist, and I love her work and the way she thinks. Catherine wrote an amazing book about artists that work with encaustic and paper called “Authentic Visual Voices: Contemporary Paper and Encaustic”.  Spending time with Catherine is like going to Mount Olympus. She has such a wealth of knowledge about paper that the whole sky opens up and one looks around and discovers that the world is made with paper.

PCI:  Catherine is truly is an innovator in the paper world; she is never afraid of using paper in new ways with a variety of materials.

We hope that visiting Paper Connection was like going to Mount Fuji?  haha… I do remember you saying it was the highlight of your trip to Rhode Island; that was pure music to my ears.  Thank you again, David!   I am excited to have you visit Japan; I would be thrilled to be your guide.

Click on David’s website here.

Here are some images of David’s visit to our warehouse:

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.

studio6

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!

 

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…

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

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.

September brings us back to school, back to a regular routine, and maybe a case of summertime blues? In case you need some motivation to return to your classes, whether it be teaching or attending, here’s an interview with our Artist of the Month, Kumi Korf.  Kumi has been a longtime customer, who faithfully orders her go to paper from us: Akatosashi.  This aged kozo paper has a bit of “aka” or a red hue to it, reflecting the maturity of the fiber.  And perhaps it takes an experienced hand to work with it.  Instead of widely experimenting with our many grades of kozo,  Ms. Korf loyally stands by this paper.  She knows exactly what she wants, and when she calls, we know to get her usual supply ready.  Of course, it’s not the only paper from us she has worked with, but we feel like Akatosashi is a trusted friend for her.  If you are an artist who likes your old “reliables”, you will enjoy her interview.  Or maybe you are starting off this semester unsure of what direction you want your work to go; Ms. Korf’s expertise can benefit you so you can aim your course wisely.

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

KK: My art work is mostly printmaking and artists’ books. I am in love with 20th century art and 17th century Japanese art.

kumi  kumi2

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

KK: Being Japanese, paper is the most familiar material next to wood, it being the most beautiful and handcrafted material ever. Paper demands a certain way of handling, and its relationship to water is special.  Touching paper is like meditation.  When I face paper, and prepare to work on it, with respect to paper and my craft, it returns what I expected and even more.

PCI: Could you elaborate more on the paper’s relationship to water?

KK: When one uses European paper, when it is wet, unless one uses a blotter and weight, it is not possible to keep it flat.  In washi’s (Japanese paper) case, air drying keeps the paper flat.  In my case, if I want the paper really smooth, I iron it.  It’s lightweight and thin, but when damp, I can safely peel the paper off the copper plate.  The washi’s long fiber is very useful and wonderful.

PCI: So interesting.  It’s sort of a paper urban myth that light weight and thin papers are not strong.  How did you hear about our company and paper?

KK: I met my paper in New York.

Akatosashi

New batch of handmade Akatosashi

PCI: We love how you call it your paper, like your own kin!  It’s been so long that we have known each other, which we appreciate!  We have a mutual colleague: Yasuyo Tanaka, which you two have known each other far longer than we have, but the Kozo connection can be small.  How long have you been working with washi?

KK: My knowledge of washi goes back to my childhood.  In Japanese everyday life, washi’s presence is everywhere: as part of screen doors, toilet paper, gift wrapping paper, calligraphy paper, sketchbooks, origami, etc., I must have made something with washi as a youth.  In the mid 1980s, I started to make my own kozo paper.  When I made my own paper, I made it as art by itself, but not paper for printmaking.

PCI:  For what process do you use this  aged kozo? What did you like about it that aided in your creative and/or technical process?

KK: I use Akatosashi for intaglio prints, because I like its color and finish.  It gives me the quality I like and the color I need.

"Radiation Swim, 2005". Spit-Bite and sugar-lift aquatint on Akatosashi.

“Radiation Swim, 2005”. Spit-Bite and sugar-lift aquatint on Akatosashi.

PCI:  Tell us more about the unique character of Akatosashi’s color, and why you like it.

KK: Akatosashi, as its name suggests, has that tint of reddish, brownish color.  I equate it as an “under painting” color for painting. I consider my prints as paintings more than etchings, so it is very useful.  What it does is that undertone unifies colors; I can count on that.

PCI: What a testimony to not only the papermaker but the amazing fiber as well!  In what ways did Paper Connection help navigate and perhaps inform you about our selection of Japanese paper?

KK: As a provider of washi for me, not only Akatosashi, but other washi for me, your service is appreciated always.

PCI: Thank you so much.  Likewise!  And of course, which artist(s)  would you like to have a conversation with? We know paper will be a topic!

KK: Rembrandt, Koetsu, Miro, and Matisse.

PCI: Fascinating group! That would be a discussion we’d like to eavesdrop on.  Rembrandt makes his appearance again.  Thank you so much, Kumi, not only for your time but your long time support.

Kumi Korf is represented by Chandler Fine Art in San Francisco. she also is a member of the Center for Book Arts in New York, where she has been teaching for many years, besides the San Francisco Center for Book Arts, and Ink Shop in Ithaca, New York.

For more on Kumi, please visit her website kumikorf.com.