Archives for category: travel

Without a doubt Koreans are passionate about their kimchi and have successfully shown the rest of the world what they’re boasting about. After attending a hanji-Korean paper- symposium entitled ” A Thousand Years Old Hanji, Meets the World” , I have no doubt hanji too will soon be rolling off everyone’s tongue! Korean kimchihanji symposium, ksdf, Korean Craft and Design Foundation

Hanji is one of the finest papers in the world and certainly has many die-hard fans.  It is, however, still less known in the global market compared to other Asian papers, i.e. Japanese (washi), Thai, or even Indian cotton papers.

 

SO WHAT ARE SOME OF THE UNIQUE QUALITIES OF TRADITIONAL HANJI?

webal -style sheet formation, no top locking screen, side to side dip, each sheet is double-couched in 2 opposite vertical directions, log rolled over couched sheet to elimate air bubbles and possibly helping release pulp from bamboo screen, and dochim: burnishing or hammering process which flattens, increases the density of paper.

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Most of the attendees from foreign countries were book and paper conservators from places like the Tate Gallery in London, the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, and several other world-renowned institutions. In fact, the focus of the conference was the case for hanji to be used in repair and conservation.  Once the special features of traditionally-made hanji were established over a few days, the conservators could better speculate in what particular repair applications hanji would be the right fit.  The visit to observe actual papermaking, was one step towards understanding the material at hand and how it may behave with other materials.  It was a rare occasion for conservators and papermakers to be sharing each others’ daily jobs, but quite key for mutual of understanding between users and makers.

For me, this emphasized the need for paper vendors like Paper Connection,  as we are really “interpreters” of so many hundreds of paper needs and applications.  At Paper Connection we feel it is our role to chronically disseminate and convey information into a paper vocabulary which the maker or manufacturer can relate to.

Thanks to the prestigous members of the group, we had the privilege of being invited to a special viewing of the archives of Chonbuk National University, (one of the largest collection of antiquities in Korea); what incredible facilities.

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

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

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Of course, Paper Connection is honored to carry hanji, both in an array of wonderful colors and neutral tones. Our hanji line is becoming quite popular, and now available here.  In 2015, we will be stocking a thicker (96 gsm) hanji for printmaking or for backing, and a new thinner paper for basket cording.  Check back here often!

We were very lucky guests of the mayor of Jeonju, 20141218_115712where we were treated to feasts and traditional pansori music performance.  Jeonju is considered the home of hanji and famous for the old-style architecture maintained in Hanok VillageIMG_9274of course, bibimbap, (rice bowl with meat), and the best pansori singer in the land.SAMSUNG CSC

Many thanks again to The Korea Culture & Design Foundation for inviting me to the symposium.  It was a great opportunity for me to learn more about hanji and its culture, its  applications in conservation, and Korea, of course.  A very special thanks to Ms. Bo Kyung Kim of Fides International and hanji artist Ms. Aimee Lee.

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Photographs provided by Paperwoman and KCDF.

We 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

Holding, by Helen Hiebert

Holding, by Helen Hiebert

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

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

 

 

PCI: What is next for Helen Hiebert?!?

Per Helen’s blog, she posts this:

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

Don’t miss out on this opportunity!

Window Start Paper Kit, by Helen Hiebert.

Window Start Paper Kit, by Helen Hiebert.

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

For more on Helen Hiebert, please visit the following:

Website: http://helenhiebertstudio.com/

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

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

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!

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.

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.

Paperwoman stayed local last week as she  had the opportunity to take a tour of the book conservation lab and bindery at Brown University’s John Hay and Rockefeller Libraries through the Watts Program. Here’s some quick glimpses of what was she saw, including an ancient Ethiopian hand-scribed, Christian manuscript with coptic binding,  a wonderful piece of ephemera of P.T. Barnum’s Rarities, some very cool tools and beautifully aged books and other learning tools.

Fresh from our trip to the annual Southern Graphics Council print conference, joint-hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the Peck School for the Arts and Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, we were bubbling over with all the printmaking fervor .   Here’s local blog-article about the conference.

The icing on the cake was meeting our loyal customer and established printmaker,  Larry Welo, who lives not too far North from Milwaukee. Larry made the trek down to  meet and to discuss paper and printmaking over dinner.

So in honor of everything printmaking, and a little Aiko’s connection, we share with you our chat with Mr. Welo.  Printmakers take note! You may take away very interesting tidbits of information regarding Japanese paper and printing techniques.

PCI: So good to finally meet, Larry!  Tell us a little about yourself: What kind of artwork do you do?  What attracts you to working with paper and what do you like best about working with it?

LW: I have worked professionally as an artist printmaker since the mid 1970s.  I fell in love with printmaking (etching in particular) when I was a student.  I decided that this would be my career.  There was no great logic to it.  I was idealistic, and knew that this is something that I can do better than anything else.  I did not really care about the realities of life…making money etc.  Art was my passion as a child, and, as a college student I realized that it would become my profession.  I drew a lot with pen and ink, and etching was like that, but there was such a depth to the images.  It was the line work, the look of aquatint, the plate tone on the image and the embossment that had immense appeal to me.  Paper is one of the vehicles for etching.  It is of the utmost importance.  There are many steps involved in creating an etching, but it always ends up being printed on paper.  Over the years, I have used a large number of different papers.  I quickly learned that they are vastly different from each other.  It is up to the artist to decide what works best and will work with them to give the best results.  In the early 1980s, I visited Aiko’s Art Materials in Chicago for the first time.  I was living and working in Minneapolis at the time.  I knew that there were other printmakers throughout art history who preferred Japanese papers, and I was curious.  I began purchasing papers from Aiko’s at that time.  I tried quite a few of them.  They had a large selection of dyed papers, which I would experiment with frequently.  I figured out a way to use the dyed papers for chine colle that gave me consistently good and sometimes fairly elaborate results. I would cut out the papers and overlap them so that the cut out areas would allow the underlying papers, which were also cut out, to show through.  It was a means of achieving colors without needing to use additional etching plates.

Driftless, etching with chine colle

Driftless, etching with chine colle

Fertile Ridge, etching with chine colle

Fertile Ridge, etching with chine colle

PCI: Your results are beautiful.  How did you hear about our company?

LW: When Aiko’s closed, I received a mailing from Paper Connection.  They carried an Aiko’s paper which I used frequently.  It was Sakamoto.  I liked using it with some of my multiple plate color etchings, and I missed no longer being able to find it.  I became interested in trying other papers carried by Paper Connection.

PCI:  So you had a bit of exposure to certain Japanese papers.  How did Paper Connection help widen out some of your knowledge on the different types of Japanese paper?

LW: I received very good suggestions on what might work well for my intaglio prints.  I carefully cut out pieces of the recommended sample book swatches, labeled them, laid them on an inked plate and printed on them.  I determined which sheets I liked best and began ordering the sheets individually so I could give them more of a chance.

Attempting to organize the search for the perfect printmaking paper tests.

Attempting to organize the search for the perfect printmaking paper tests.

PCI:  We love how you put the samples to work! That’s great, as we are not printmakers ourselves. Any of your experimenting and feedback is what we want to hear about.  So after all this testing out of our samples, what papers do you use of ours and for what process? What did you like about those papers that aids in your creative and/or technical process?

Seeking the perfect etching paper tests.

Seeking the perfect etching paper tests.

LW: Gampishi Sukiawase (M-0227) is my favorite paper.  It is an expensive paper, and when I first tried it, I thought it would be only the one time.  I was totally seduced by this paper, and have used it ever since.  It prints like no other.  When I print an etching, I rely on manipulating the ink tone on the plate.  The ink tone gives me more subtle value options.  There are very few other papers that can print this ink tone well. This paper prints it like no other.  It is a joy to print on.  It is made with gampi fibers and is very strong yet very sensitive.  Sakamoto Heavy (AI-224B) is another paper that I like.  It is a very sensitive paper. Kozoshi Sized Heavyweight (M-0206) is also very nice to print on.   It is inexpensive and has many of the desirable characteristics of some of the more expensive sheets.  I hope to continue to try other Paper Connection papers…maybe the best one is yet to be found.

Shady Characters, made with M-0227, Gampi.

Shady Characters, made with M-0227, Gampi.

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

LW: The sheets are extremely sensitive.  What I do to the plate when I am wiping it shows up on the printed image…everything.  There is never any blotchiness.  Everything is very clean, and I am able to get the full range of values (light to dark) that I seek.

PCI: So, if you had to recommend a Paper Connection paper for a particular application:

LW: I like Gampishi Sukiawase (M-0227) because it makes me seem to be a better artist than I really am!  I call it the Stradivarius of printmaking papers.

PCI: Wow! We wonder what the gampi papermaker would say to that.  If you could have a conversation with any
artist present or past, who would it be?

LW:  I would like to get inside Rembrandt’s head sometime.

PCI: Agreed! We saw one of his Apostle series at the Getty once. Mesmerizing.  Larry, thank you so much. We appreciate the time you took to respond to our questions, and even more so, we thank you for being such a valued customer, and artist who truly appreciates the art of handmade paper!. For more on Larry, check out his website here.

Thanks Larry!

Thanks Larry!