Archives for category: Massachusetts

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!

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What do you picture yourself doing at 97 years old? If you follow Mary Fassett’s example you would still create artwork, write, but mostly continue to learn everyday.

Earlier this year, I had the privilege to visit Mary Fassett; on my way home from the 6th Annual Encaustic Conference on beautiful Cape Cod.  Mary has been a fixture on the Cape, where, since moving there in 1980, she worked as a portrait painter and taught art. In reality, she is much more than a painter; Mary has worked in so many mediums.  Check out her sculptures, ceramics, limited edition books, etc. in the photos included here and on the flickr link below..

2 different nymph sculptures; images scanned from her book.

I was thinking of renaming her as “Mary Multi-Faceted” (I think I just have!).  She represents a life of many phases; Mary is a person with endless layers.

What I admire about Mary is her creative spirit; it never falters or fades.  Although, her body has slowed down, her mind continues to feverishly work on the next project. Understandably, she works fervently and quickly, trying to complete many tasks before she goes.

She writes in her book Revise and Dissent:  “I am trying to understand the story of my inner life,   so that I can now peaceably weigh the harrowing conflicts that have worked me over for a lifetime.”

Mary seeks knowledge of self and others almost every waking moment.  During my visit, she held my hands in hers, and studying my eyes, she said, “I don’t really know you; I want to know you”.  Hopefully she discovered something new about me that evening.  I certainly unveiled a new layer or two of her fascinating persona,  not only by visiting her in person, but also via writing this blog.

Bravo Mary! may you continue to inspire us all; forever inquisitive, forever hungry to know the interior, exterior, that is, all facets of being human.

To see more images of her work, check out our flickr here.

Last month, I visited a very special Japanese calligrapher (書道 shodō artist), who is not actually from Japan.  The lovely Rona Conti maintains her studio in Belmont, MA.  Rona is gracious, inviting, and informative, besides very talented!  It was relaxing and so contemplative to watch her hand dance on handmade paper; each masterful stroke is the result of the eternal process of learning, passion, and patience.

To say Rona is a Japanophile would be perhaps an understatement.  Specifically,  Rona embodies the Japanese aesthetic in her daily life; whether it is the tatami mats under her feet, the ceramics adorning her studio, and most importantly,  the discipline she embraces as she approaches her work.

See for yourself not just in the studio, but in her pieces as well:

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Rona’s did a fabulous “MU” character on our vintage shikishi boards with a wisteria design shown in the previous slide show.  I loved the way the black sumi ink softened the floral design to a brocade effect.  Feel free to call Paper Connection for more information about
shikishi and other fine papers for sumi-e and  shodō .

I hadn’t seen my longtime friend Michael LaFosse in too many years.  So when I found out he and his partner Richard Alexander would be doing an origami series on July 15 at the Fuller Craft Museum – I thought this was my chance to see them.   The Fuller is not too far up the road from Providence….it’s located in Brockton, MA.

The event was called Meet the Maker: it consisted of 3 events: 1 beginner’s workshop, slide show and talk, then the more advanced folder’s workshop.  The folding duo was working and teaching non-stop, so we didn’t get to chat much, but it was so wonderful to meet them again and to experience the incredible origami creature collection they brought from the Origamido studio.    Wilbur the piglet was even there.  I hadn’t seen Wilbur since 1992, when we did an event together at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA.  Wilbur hasn’t aged a bit!

LaFosse, Wilbur the Piglet

Michael LaFosse is the master creator of sculptural paper creatures, and Richard Alexander is quite a folder in his own right.  Richard is the master of championing Michael and the entire tradition of Origami.  Check out all the books, kits and DVDs he has produced or they have collaborated on!  At their studio, Origamido -which by the way, translates roughly to The Way of Paper Folding- in Haverhill, MA, folders are treated to expert instruction on how to create fine art origami, basic folding techniques, even paper-making.  Algebraic and geometric equations are applied to the art of origami, as well as critical thinking skills, communication, and the culture and history of origami. This is not your average crane folding workshop.

The following slide show gives you a taste of the day spent at the Fuller Craft Museum: the origami creatures we saw, the Fuller’s exterior and inside during the workshop, and the museum’s beautiful surrounding scenery.

PLUS!   a wonderful dragon folded by Nick Avery of Pembroke, MA.

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At the Meet the Maker lecture I met father and son origami enthusiasts: Mark and Nick Avery, who came to Paper Connection just yesterday.  As soon as they returned home from Paper Connection, apparently,  Nick- who is now 17 yrs old and just started seriously folding 9 months ago  -was so psyched to try his newly purchased papers and so inspired by Michael Lafosse and other masters, he folded this wonderful dragon out of our red dragon pattern blockprinted lokta paper !

So proud to meet one of the next generation’s great folders.