Archives for category: nature

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.

Many moons ago, on a few occasions, we were lucky to have Chuck Lathrop visit Paper Connection.  Back then, Chuck Lathrop lived in nearby Massachusetts and was part of the Monotype Guild of New England.  Chuck exposed us to his brave approach to  print on ANY surface, resulting in cutting-edge, bold and abstract prints, and we exposed him to traditional, Japanese, fine art  papers or washi.

A few years ago,  Chuck left our area to start his own studio in the sunny Southwest.  Let’s talk to Chuck and find out his opinion on paper, and the situation with his own handmade paper with dryer lint!  Chuck is never shied away from trying new surfaces; coffee filters, and yes, even dryer lint paper.

coffee filters, beeswax, encaustic

74 Days in the Life of the Artist as Measured in Coffee Filters (used coffee filters, beeswax)

PCI: Please tell us about what you do.

CL: Over the last 35 years my work has included printmaking, painting, mixed-media drawings and objects. The landscape has always had a huge influence on my work. At first it was through direct observation or photos, but today I work from within relying on memory, impressions, andemotion to create abstractions. Automatic mark-making is a huge part of my work as well.

PCI: Who has inspired you?

CL: My artistic influences are varied and too numerous to cite individually. Paul Cezanne and Robert Motherwell standout because my introduction to them coincided with huge changes in my style and motif.  Today, there are many contemporary artists I draw inspiration from.

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

CL: Paper is probably one of the most versatile substrates available to artists and I have enjoyed pushing it to its limits.

West Mesa (Large) mixed media drawing on Kozo

West Mesa (Large)
mixed media drawing on Kozo

 

PCI: How did you hear about our company?

CL: I was introduced to Paper Connection International through the Monotype Guild of New England when Lauren Pearlman invited MGNE members to come to PCI’s office (showroom/warehouse) to talk about Japanese paper.

PCI: How much knowledge did you have about Japanese papers before using ours?  How did we help?

CL: Until my introduction to PCI I had only used Western paper and my knowledge of Japanese paper was very limited. What my association with Lauren and PCI did for me was to expose me to a lot more possibilities regarding paper.

PCI: What papers do you use of ours and for what process? What did you like about those papers that aided in your creative and/or technical process?

CL: Kumohada Unryushi, (now a limited edition paper), and the various weights of Kozo are the ones I use the most frequently.  I use the Kozo for monotypes and woodcuts. The Kumohada is utilized for collagraphs and painting. Some of the work on these papers I have mounted to panel and used as a basis for encaustic work.  (Please see image below of When the Rhythm Sections Floats I Float Too, encaustic on  reduction woodcut on panel).

Untitled, monoprint, using Kumohoda Unryushi paper

Untitled, monoprint, using Kumohoda Unryushi paper

PCI: We are learning much about how our papers react to the encaustic process, and we’d love more of your feedback as we are novices to the application.

When the Rhythm Section Floats I Float Too encaustic on reduction woodcut on panel

When the Rhythm Section Floats I Float Too
encaustic on reduction woodcut on panel

PCI: We’re reminded of your visit and how laundry lint inspired you?

CL: As I remember it I was learning how make paper with scraps of museum board, something of which I generally have a quite a bit of in the studio. In my research I ran across a reference to someone using dryer lint. Made sense to me since some Western papers were made from cotton rags hence term “rag paper”.  I collected a bunch of lint from the dryer and one day when I was creating paper from museum board I threw some of the lint into the mix towards the end of the day’s session. Consequently the first sheet had a little paper pulp which yielded a light blue-gray and the last sheets had no paper pulp and came out a dark blue-gray.  Though I still have some sheets of the paper (both from museum board and lint), I created at the time (the late 1990’s), and still work with it on occasion, I found the paper was weak and easily tore when I didn’t want it to tear.  Given that I now live the Southwest and water supply is always an issue, especially during the current drought we are in, and the fact that any kind of paper making takes a large amount of water, I probably won’t be making any more paper.

PCI: We commend your awareness and responsible action. What is your experience as far as the strength of Japanese papers versus Western papers?

CL:  I prefer Western paper when I create paintings and mixed drawings, but for printmaking I prefer the Japanese papers. The Japanese papers don’t hold up well with my painting techniques and tend to fur-up when I draw on them. On the other hand I appreciate the quality of the Japanese papers when I’m making prints because there is a beautiful difference on how they receive the ink regardless of the strength.  I don’t think Eastern paper is necessarily stronger than Western paper. A paper’s strength is largely dependent on the length of its fibers and what it is made of.  I suspect some of the Eastern papers maybe stronger, but on the other hand, I would also guess some of the Western papers might be stronger.  Other issues in this discussion are the questions: What will the paper used for? Will it be dampened or soaked? How absorbent is the paper dry or wet?

PCI: Those are all very good questions that one should ask before purchasing paper.  Our famous bonus question: If you could have a conversation with any artist present or past, who would it be? And would you talk about paper?

CL: Yikes! There are so many I would like to have a conversation with that if I had the chance I would gather them around a table, if a large enough one could be found, just to talk about art.

PCI: We’ll provide the drinks!

For more on Chuck Lathrop, please visit his website: http://www.chucklathrop.com.  Chuck has recently established an online journal: www.nmartreview.com.  We enjoyed the discussion, “On Serious Art.”

An upcoming show at the Downtown Contemporary Gallery, in Albuquerque, NM, will feature Chuck along with other printmakers.  The show opens May 30th. If you are in the Albuquerque area then please go!

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

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

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

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

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

Bamboo

Bamboo

PCI: What attracts you to working with paper?

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

zooslide

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

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

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

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

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

JS: Very, very little… only Origami papers.

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

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

PCI: What papers do you use of ours and for what process? What did you like about those papers that aided in your creative and/or technical process?

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

paper sculpture

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

The Robe Series by Joan Son

The Robe Series by Joan Son

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

JS: Paper Connection always has the highest quality papers.

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

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

bookmarks, Laurelai Designs

Laurelai bookmarks by Joan Son

money holders, business card holders

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

PCI:  That paper is an oldie but goodie.  Our famous bonus question:  If you could have a conversation with any artist present or past, who would it be?  And would you talk about paper?

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

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

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

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

When:  Opening night Saturday April 5, 2014

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

On view through April 29, 2014

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

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

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

Much more of the story here on Kickstarter…

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

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

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

Alternative photo process,

Pirate Chic, by Francis Schanberger

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

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

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

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

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

Winged Seeds, by Francis Schanberge

Winged Seeds, by Francis Schanberger

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

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

platinum print, alternative photo process, mino washi

Two Gingkos, by Francis Schanberger

PCI: What papers do you use of ours and for what process? What did you like about those papers that aided in your creative and/or technical process? Describe some of the differences between our papers and others you have worked with?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

francisschanberger.com

From Walking

Forces of Nature

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.

Nancy is a recent customer of Paper Connection, and has graciously sent us photographs of her transforming Momi Kozo, or crinkled mulberry, to beautifully arranged flowers.  We thought we’d grab on to this hot off the press inspiration and ask her to be our Artist of the Month for June. Here is a different spin of the usual questionnaire, as Nancy contributed sans Q & A her insightful training, methods, and background.  Introducing Nancy, from South Carolina, in her own words:

“Watercolor paintings of flowers or still lifes is my usual involvement with fine paper, but when Japanese paper enters the conversation, there is an entirely different group of interests that emerge.  There is Japanese calligraphy, both kanji and hiragana.  Paper dolls, washi ningyo,  are another passion.   Fairly recently, paper flowers and foliage have become an interest.

As a very young girl, my favorite place to play was with a girl whose father worked for a printer.  She had a shelf full of all colors and textures of paper he had brought her.   It was very exciting!   At about the same time, paper dolls appeared, and caught and held my interest.   I still collect them, and made one for a little girl who was undergoing chemotherapy, and had lost her hair.   It was a wig paper doll, with fanciful and silly wigs to cheer up the child with their outlandish colors and designs.

Japanese paper was an exciting aspect of our stay in Japan.   While my husband worked, I attended classes, starting with “hari-e” or torn paper pictures.   There, I learned about different Japanese papers and their properties.   It was also my first experience with a “sensei” or teacher/master.   I decided to do a little improvisation with one of the designs, and before the glue had dried, the sensei stripped the paper off the board, and repositioned it in its proper place.   So much for creative ideas!  It had been a longtime ambition to learn calligraphy.  Every Saturday I  went to class, watched while the sensei remarked everyone’s calligraphy with brilliant orange ink, and went home with my assignment for the next week, using reams of calligraphy practice paper, trying to properly form shapes new to me.   Later, when some amount of proficiency had been attained, beautiful paper appeared, and shikishi (paper boards for artwork) arrived in boxes.   Always, the paper was perfectly suited to each purpose.

I have forgotten now how I became interested in Japanese paper dolls.  That is where I learned how paper could be manipulated, with such striking results.  Each doll was different, patterned after mostly historical types, and they began to accumulate with their colorful kimonos and fanciful hairdos.

In the 1980’s there were several paper stores in Hiroshima, a cool manufacturer in Kyoto, and a manufacturer in Tokyo.   I began to collect all the paper I could, knowing I could not possibly use all of it, but finding each new type or design more exciting than the one before.  Now the stores in Hiroshima are gone, but Paper Connection is stocked with fabulous papers from all over Asia, and the knowledgeable staff is most helpful.   I look forward to learning more about Japanese paper, and, most of all, adding to my collection.

The only paper I have ordered from Paper Connection so far is Momi Kozo.  It has long been a favorite paper because of the large, luminous color range, and great texture.   It has been invaluable for washi ningyo, and now, making paper flowers, it is very versatile and is light enough that two pieces can be glued together.   It is also very strong, and can absorb the rigors of twisting and bending, necessary in both washi ningyo and floral art.   Paper Connection has a large selection of Momi Kozo and I purchased one of every color.   I look forward to exploring more of paper Connection’s broad stock of exotic papers.

The artist I would dearly love to talk to is Isabelle de Borchgrave, a Belgian woman who specializes in creating life size historic costumes from many kinds of paper, including lens paper.   Her recent book, “Pulp Fashion” is a stunning display of her vision, talent, and appreciation for fine paper, and the extremes to which it can be pushed with some ingenuity.”

Nancy at work

Nancy at work

photo

Various papers lend to various textures.

Various papers lend to various textures.

Nancy, thank you so much for telling us about your background, your inspiration, and Isabelle de Borchgrave.  Your kindness to others is worthy of example, and we look forward to seeing more of your pieces.

Feast your eyes on more of Nancy’s work:

Carl Keck is a New England based artist who approached us out of the blue.  He is that one of a kind special customer who trusts our choices, accepts what paper we provide him before he even looks at it, never mind touches it, and transforms it into something that is entirely his own, without any fanfare.  A lot goes unspoken, but understood.  One day we may meet Carl in person, but in the meantime, we enjoy his generous amounts of prints he sends us, not just emails of images, but actual prints he mails, as well as some poetic emails we receive.  We actually featured Carl’s work a few blogs ago, and although it showcased his wonderful and prodigious talents, we did not have the opportunity to ask Carl personally his take on the paper he uses, his work, and that parallel world where Rembrandt meets Paperwoman.  Here is our conversation.  Enjoy!

PCI:  How would you describe your work?

CK: Our world is what we perceive it to be.  Our experiences influence what we can and cannot see.  My art is about putting down as quickly and clearly as possible, those things I experience.  What I see around me sets off a cascade of thoughts and usually coalesces into an idea.  I try with all my heart to express that idea.  Since all thoughts are abstract when you try to think about them, my art, when it’s good, lies on that border where the things I see meet the thoughts that those things emote in me.  Paper, any paper, allows me to translate my inspirations quickly.  With woodblocks, it allows me to rapidly experiment with additions, color and textures.  I don’t want to lose the essence of what insight I may have to share.

Carl's woodblock on gampi, made the week of May 20th, 2013.

Carl’s woodblock on gampi, made the week of May 20th, 2013.

New print, May 23, 2013 .

New print, May 23, 2013 .

PCI: What attracts you to working with paper?  What do you like best about working with paper?
CK: Good paper, which for me is Japanese washi-especially vintage washi-somehow instructs my work.  It’s always closer to how I first imagined the work, when I use the best materials I can find.  At the same time, different papers want you to treat them individually.  It’s a pleasant challenge!  I make something everyday.  Art is a kind of continuous diary of what we’ve felt about what we’ve seen.  I do just about everything possible with paper: woodblocks, monotypes, watercolors, ink and wash paintings, and so on.  Often I mix processes together-whatever it takes to get the idea that’s in me out.
PCI: What inspires or influences you, Carl?
CK: There have been so many influences besides Nature herself.  I frequent museums a lot, especially the MET in Manhattan.  I go there to see the level of dedication great art shows.  I noticed that I was always attracted to paintings and sculptures that seem as if they were done in a few hurried moments.  I saw so much more when the artist had no time to smooth things over.  And this is most apparent in drawing and other works on paper.  Van Gogh’s reed ink drawings are so immediate.  Klee’s watercolors have something mysterious about them.  Degas’ pastels worked over monotypes, Redon and his flowers, Rembrandt’s etching-oh how he wiped his plates!  And Picasso-how he experiments still before our eyes.  I can go on and on.
PCI: How did you come to know Paper Connection? Were you familiar with Japanese papers in the past?
CK: I have been using Japanese washi for a good number of years.  Sources are few.  A good friend in Kyoto finds me vintage washi from the auctions she goes to.  Also I sometimes purchase directly from merchants in Japan.  However it’s expensive.  I searched the web for some of the paper makers I’ve used, and found Paper Connection.  So by mainly looking for well known paper makers and vintage washi.Work on Gampi made on the morning of May 16th, 2013.

PCI: How did we help you navigate through our extensive collection and your previous knowledge of washi?

CK:  A few years ago I contacted Paper Connection and was sent some papers: many decorative papers I rarely use, and some others which I gladly exhausted.  At that point I had to have more.

PCI: We are happy to hear that you liked our Fine Art paper samples.  What are some of the differences between our papers and others you  have worked with?
CK:  About paper, I can get used to any kind.  The better the quality, the easier it is to love and work with.  Once I get familiar with a paper, I instinctively call for it when a work requires it’s qualities.  Japanese washi is strong, thin, and honest.  It takes whatever manipulation I need from it, and the way it takes ink and pigment are predictable.  Though with vintage papers there is a quality of imperfect absorption which thrills me.
PCI:  What papers do you use of ours and for what process? What do you like about these papers that helps your creative and technical process?
CK: Just recently I received backed gampi from Paper Connection.  It has the sheen of gampi, which is usually thin tissue, yet has the backing to make it hardy for repeated printing.  A great innovation.  For delicate subjects it glows.  You experience the delicacy all over again just because of the paper type.  In tissue form its great to use when there is enough ink left on your block to take a second impression. Colors are soft and subtle, yet they are all there.

PCI: Our bonus question: if you could have a conversation with any artist, past or present, who would it be? And would you talk about paper?
CK:  I’d love to have a conversation with Rembrandt or Durer.  I’ve done literally a thousand self portraits and another thousand of my son.  Rembrandt did many.  We learned from him how to look deeply and frequently at our mortal predicament.  What a great gift are his paintings and works on paper.  And he used washi!  I’d thank him and ask about what it meant to grow old, how he kept his art flame so bright.  I’d ask him about the women he loved.  And if he’s ever heard of the Paper Women up in Rhode Island…

PCI: Wow, we’d love to be a fly on the wall for that one!  Carl, thank you so much. We really appreciate your insight, your support of washi, and of course, your work that you so generously share with us.

March has been a very busy month for us.  We have been planning for the upcoming Southern Graphics Conference, a printmaking love fest that this year is being held in Milwaukee.  So printmaking methods have been in our minds, maybe a bit too much. What papers are best for lithos? Is gampi good for chine colle? , etc. (The answer, by the way, is yes, yes and yes.)  However, to take a break from the wonderful world of printmaking, we turn our attention to a different, if not extraordinary application of our papers, by Arlene McGonagle.  We have known Arlene for many years; she is a very faithful, loyal supporter of Paper Connection. And we love her unique approach to transforming our sheets of papers into something three dimensional, and even poetic. We will let her explain.

Layered, by Arlene McGonagle

Layered

PCI: Tell us a little bit about yourself: What kind of artwork do you do?

AM: I make baskets – one of a kind sculptural baskets. I have been a traditional basket maker since 1980. I grew up on a produce farm in Hadley, Massachusetts. Baskets were part of our harvesting process in which our vegetables were all harvested using different basket styles. As a young person I was not aware of my passion for baskets, but I do believe growing up on a farm gave me the knowledge for the functional construction aspects of basket weaving.

PCI: What or who has influenced and inspired you?

AM: After making functional Nantucket and Shaker baskets for fifteen years I needed a methodology in which to become more creative in my personal form of expression. So I returned to college entering The University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth in the Fiber Arts and Textile Design Department for a Masters Degree. As a result my work and materials changed overnight. The Fiber Arts Department encouraged us to use different and unusual materials from barks to wire and everything in-between.

PCI: What attracts you to working with paper?

AM: The wide variety of texture in paper, I felt the more texture the better in the paper I use. The paper reminded me of the barks, woods, and reeds I had used in the traditional basketry process. However, the paper I chose was colorful with intricate designs and flexible without soaking it in water. It was also gentler on my hands and easier to weave.

PCI: That’s great, especially for your hands’ health too!  What do you like best about working with paper?

AM: For me it’s all about texture and color. I love the thick kyosei-shi paper because it reminds me of fabric. I have been working in neutral colors lately, but this paper allows me to go wild with color if the basket calls for color. I also love the mulberry, or kozo paper for its translucent and regal qualities. When words are written on this paper it adds a note of importance and strength.

PCI: How did you hear about our company?

AM: I had heard about Paper Connection for many years, but did not know it was open to the public. So I called one day and explained that I was a basket artist looking for special textured paper and made an appointment to stop in.

PCI: Simple enough. We love your initiative.  Did you have much knowledge about Japanese papers before using our papers?

AM:  I had no knowledge of Japanese papers whatsoever. I fell in love with the papers offered at Paper Connection and sometimes even designed the baskets around the available papers. I learned more about paper variety and function with each visit to Paper Connection. The vast knowledge of the staff and the wonderful stories Lauren would tell about the makers of the paper helped me to realize that the paper was almost sacred and that my designs had to live up to the value of the papers I purchased.

PCI: Wow. We’re so happy and grateful to hear that.  What a testimony to the artistry of the papermakers themselves!  What are some of the differences between our papers and others you have worked with?

AM:  I seem to keep going back to Kyosei-shi for most of my basketwork. It is physically strong and with a wide variety of colors. However, I can buy it in off-white and dye in the colors I need. I don’t know if I could dye other papers in a water bath.

PCI: So to sum up?

AM: I like kyosei-shi paper because it is strong and textured like fabric for my baskets; it is flexible and does not tear when I weave it with wire.

Basket Book by Arlene McGonagle

Basket Book by Arlene McGonagle

PCI: Arlene, thank you so much.  We love your work, we appreciate how you use these wonderful papers, the motivation behind it, and your generous support over the many years.

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For more information about Arlene, please visit her website, Basket Sculpture.  Her studio is located in beautiful Warren, RI.  To read more about her work, Arlene was featured in the Fall 2012 issue of the National Basketry Organization.  Article courtesy of Arlene McGonagle.

Welcome to a new feature of Where is Paperwoman? Our Artist of the Month series focuses on an artist who not only loves paper, but implements it in his or her work to astonishing effect.  Of course, we may be biased that they use Paper Connection’s paper, but regardless, their vision, approach, and resulting work are most worthy to share with you, our dear readers. This month, we chat with Barbara Green, our neighbor, colleague, and friend.  She is an established artist, residing in Rhode Island by way of Germany, having attended school in Chicago and Ohio. Barbara is a longtime member of 19 on Paper, an organization of Rhode Island artists whose works are either of or on paper. She has shown in numerous galleries, museums, corporations, with her collections displayed at various universities, hospitals, and other institutions.

PCI: Tell us a little about yourself, Barbara; what kind of artwork do you do?

BG: Paint, watercolor, oil stick, paper for installations, weaving (shifu).

PCI: What or who has influenced and inspired you?BG: Paper as a medium; Sargent, Homer, Japanese scrolls and prints, contemporary fiber artists, and nature.

PCI: What attracts you to working with paper?

BG: The feel of paper in its various forms: wet, cut, or twisted.

PCI: Sounds wonderfully tactile. What do you like best about working with paper?

BG: Paper has the seemingly unending possibilities to create, from being a surface for painting to a sculptural medium.

PCI: How did you hear about our company?

BG: I was searching for special paper and I also heard about PCI from a friend.

PCI: Did you have much knowledge about Japanese papers before using our papers?

BG: No.

PCI: So how did Paper Connection help you choose and inform you about Japanese paper?

BG: Lauren Pearlman and the staff had great advice.

PCI: Thanks, we try our best! What papers do you use of ours and for what process?

BG:  I use sheets and rolls, depending what I am working on.

PCI: That’s right, I remember you purchasing a white striped, (sudare pattern), Lace paper roll and transformed it into a beautiful, graceful installation.

Barbara's use of Sudare, or striped, Lace paper.

Barbara’s use of Sudare, or striped, Lace paper.

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

BG:  The high quality, strength, and beautiful colors.

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

BG: Western papers are designed for a specific purpose, like watercolor papers, printing.  Papers that PCI carries can be used in many ways, not only traditionally.

PCI: Good to know! Fill in the blank, if you had to recommend a specific PCI paper for a particular application, it would be…:

BG: I like your various kozo paper for strength because it is very versatile and comes in various weights and sizes, as well as colors.

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

BG: The National Treasure paper makers from Japan.  Definitely!

PCI: Certainly they would like to speak with you too; I would love to be a fly on the wall when that happens. Barbara, thank you so much for your time and sharing with us your insight into your work and paper.

Barbara Green

Barbara Green

To learn more about Barbara Green, please visit her website.  We love her Artist Statement:

“Paper is the support for an image, a construction, an impression. Color, whether watercolor, oilstick or printing ink, enhances the image. My work has been in series. It can be very realistic to abstract as well as sculptural. I am inspired by nature, color, space and materials themselves, such as fine Japanese paper.” B. L. Green

If you are interested in being featured for an upcoming “Artist of the Month”, please contact us at 401-454-1436. Thanks!

Have you ever considered yourself a superstar?  A paper star, at least?  I had the privilege of spending a week around the seasoned, paper legends as well as the new generation of  paper stars at the Watermarks Conference, (the 2012 meetings for both  Friends of Dard Hunter and IAPMA.) sponsored by and held at the Morgan Art Papermaking Consevatory & Educational Foundation, in Cleveland, Ohio.

When I booked this trip, I wondered, what can I do in Cleveland for one week besides make, eat and dream paper? I realized that Cleveland, has Lake Eerie, a seriously well-deserved local pride and die-hard fans of their sports teams. Since I was still a little jetlagged, and the pre-conference workshop I signed up for hadn’t started yet, my colleague said ” why don’t you go to the legendary Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame?”  So I did.

Giant guitars outside of RRHF.

My reasons for going on this Cleveland Magical Mystery Tour, started becoming clearer while inside the RRHF.

Not only did I get to learn so much about the history of the Rock n’ Roll era, I was able to surround myself with (at least simulated versions of ) Rock Star Legends.  The RRHF primed me for the rest of the entire week when I got to hang out with the Rock Stars of Paper; paper gurus and paper masters from all over the globe all came together in Cleveland, Ohio!

Tim with Carolina Larrera. Carolina is not only a Tim Barrett groupie, but Paper Rock Star from Chile.

Who Wrote the Book of Love, I mean washi?! Premier paper legend and MacArther Grant recipient, Mr. Tim Barrett of the University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA did.  His many fans want to have their photos taken with Mr. Barrett; …dang, I didn’t get a good one of me with him!  tsk, tsk.

Asao Shimura mixes konnyaku with pigment.

There were so many Paper Rock Stars there...Mr. Asao Shimura who taught a 2-day workshop on konnyaku intaglio printing. Like waiting in line for tickets to the biggest concert of the year, I tenaciously waited for my spot in his class, and got it!  Asao hasn’t been stateside in years and he traveled from his home in the Philippines to teach in the US. I’ve been a fan for years, but finally got to meet him and take his workshop, with more of his fans.

Asao Shimura definitely marches to the beat of his own drummer, and we should thank him for it, as he trail-blazes in the world of paper arts, he teaches too, sharing his insight and skill with eager students.  He’s  a soul man of a paper culture…(I’ve got rhythm, but I AM asking for more  Paper Rock Star Fame!)

Aimee Lee: Young Paper Rock Star- crowd is starting to gather…

A fairly new talent in the group is Ms. Aimee Lee,  now an author of a new book: Hanji Unfurled, One Journey into Korean Papermaking,  I swear- when she walked into the room during my pre-conference workshop, a group of fans formed a circle around her; I heard “Aimee!, Aimee!” coming from the crowd.    I was an Aimee Lee groupie before even seeing her live.  I could catch on fairly quickly; I tried to blend in with group-playing the coy paperazzi.  I am still very much part of Aimee Lee’s fan club, and therefore so thrilled a host to her, while she’s in New England promoting her new book via artist’s talk, demo and workshop both in Boston, November 10th and Providence area, November 14th.

Blood, Sweat, and Tears, may be a RRHF inductee, but have no doubt, the vatman or vatwoman produces blood, sweat and tears on a daily basis, as they toil and create paper with their two hands, keeping the art of handmade paper true, pure, and alive-ensuring that Papermaking is Here to Stay!

At least at some level, I continue to aspire to Paper Rock Star status.  When asked: “do you make paper?” I reply: “not exactly, but I am an agent, a promoter, a paper Shake, rattle and roller and total groupie of the Dardos!”

Watermarks 2012 was more than about reuniting with friends and colleagues I haven’t seen years, and more than about discovering new Paper Rock Stars. It was a week of  Letting the Good Times Roll, a week of  re-inspiration to continue down The Long & Winding Road  to bring handmade paper to the likes of you.

My Cleveland experience was the necessary step towards attaining Hall of Fame status or at least a couple of my own fans..  I am now determined more than ever to create a (paper) hit in my hometown of Providence.  A really BIG hit.

Thank you Watermarks 2012 , the Morgan and Cleveland ,OHIO!: you keep on rockin’ me baby!

For more photos, check out our FACEBOOK page for the Watermarks album. Don’t forget to “like” us!