Archives for posts with tag: Japanese paper

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

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

christine aaron, printmaker, encaustic, usuyou gampi paper

christine aaron, printmaker, encaustic, usuyou gampi paper

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

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

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

3_C_Aaron_EchoIII

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

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

christine aaron, printmaker, encaustic, Remnant

Remnant

PCI: What attracts you to working with paper?

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

Tree Muse II

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

christine aaron, printmaker, encaustic, usuyou gampi paper

Pulling Large Format Print

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

PCI: How did we help?

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

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

christine aaron, printmaker, encaustic, usuyou gampi paper

Hand Transfer

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

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

Murmur

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

Murmur detail

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

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

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

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

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

PCI: Thank you!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5_C_Aaron_Forest Muse

Muse

8_C_Aaron_RedArches

Red Arches

What is “mokuhanga“?

The Japanese woodblock print or mokuhanga, is a precise, multi-step printmaking technique, using water-based pigments applied with brushes, not rollers.  The latter may give you some of idea of how mokuhanga differs from the western woodcut print.  The paper (usually washi) is moistened, laid on block and a baren is used to rub back side of paper.

This multiple-colored block print form became popular during the Edo period (1603-1867).  Many of the old techniques are still followed. What has mostly changed is the growing awareness and broad spectrum of artists who are adopting their individual styles and at the same time, spreading the word about the unique process of mokuhanga.

baren, mokuhanga, printmaking

Barens and Brushes

Special veneer woodblocks

Special veneer woodblocks

 At the beginning  of my career involving Japanese arts and crafts, I was privileged to curate a collection of “ukiyo-e” prints.  The term ukiyo-e translates as Images of the Floating World.  The masters of ukiyo-e laid down the base and framework for contemporary woodblock prints.

Here HOKUSAI’s  The Great Wave off Kanagawa (from a Series of Thirty–Six Views of Mount Fuji) is shown printed on various washi with sizing and without;  a research chart presented by Awagami Factory at Tokyo University for the Arts using Japanese paper from different parts of Japan and different sizing recipes.  I thought this was a brilliant depiction of how different papers  yield different results for the same print.

Hokusai, wave, ukiyo-e,taganoura

Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa

KUNIYOSHI’s prints of anthropomorphized animals, show just how colorful and how may colors applied in these mokuhanga from 150 or years ago.
Kuniyoshi, animals

Kuniyoshi’s One Hundred Horrible Stories

I learned a few important facts about mokuhanga, even in just preparing for our booth for the 2nd International Mokuhanga Conference,  (now the 2nd one), hosted by Tokyo University for the Arts, September 10-14, 2014.
Paper Connection, mokuhanga, washi, printmaking

Our booth

I learned what type of paper is in demand in the West, where mokuhanga seems to be more popular than it is in Japan and that the papers used primarily by artists in the West are much thicker than what the ukiyo-e artists used.  Paper Connection created this special swatch portfolio just for the conference.  We included 11 different papers, with a few surprise papers made from alternative fibers, and with unusual sizing.

mokuhanga papers, sized kouzo, kozo,

Paper Connection’s Mokuhanga Swatch Portfolio

What a joy it was to meet so many talented printmakers from all over the globe and learn from them directly; discussing their criteria for papers for their artwork.  Saw some old friends like Larry Pinto, Marjorie Tomchuk, Michael Durgin and met some lovely new friends like Mia O, Carla Salem, and Claire Cuccio.

 

As within any discipline of art, the desired paper and its use, is as unique as the individual using it.  From the paper seller’s view,  Paper Connection welcomes any and all queries, as this only helps us become better at what we do.

In addition to the IMC ‘s mission; to reinstate the integrity of mokuhanga; in effect, bring it back to the limelight, MI-LAB Art Residency Program forged by Ms. Keiko Kadota has provided a place for artists from all parts of the world to collaborate and learn about mokuhanga in depth.

I had the pleasure of meeting and also hearing a talk by Elspeth Lamb,  author of Papermaking for Printmakers,  and who is on the Board of Glasgow Print Studio.

The Pool, by Elspeth Lamb

The Pool, by Elspeth Lamb

I strive to incorporate informative material before starting a new creative project, even before buying new papers for Paper Connection.  For example, I learned about Mr. Akira Kurosaki use of hanji: Korean mulberry paper for his prints, thanks to mokuhanga expert April Vollmer’s interesting article on the process in Art In Print:
http://artinprint.org/index.php/articles/article/mokuhanga_international

April Vollmer, mokuhanga, print, woodblock print

April Vollmer’s Guardian Spider

April is currently working on her soon-to-be published book, called the Japanese Woodblock Workshop.

Please peruse through a few of the prints I saw during the conference.  Printmaker, Ms. Yoonmi Nam, who teaches at the University of Kansas, wrote an excellent summary of the conference and posted it in Printeresting.  Click links to read and see her super photos of the art and the artists at the conference.

mokuhanga, shoji miyamoto

mokuhanga

 

mokuhanga, woodblock print, woodcut

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

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!

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!

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.

Recently, upon attending (somewhat participating in) Jules’ talk and demo at the Providence Public Library, I knew right away I found my kind of teacher.  Jules is a self-taught and confident artist.  She’s someone who lays out the A’s, B’s, and C’s of printmaking with no pretenses; encouraging students to throw caution to the wind,- not to be afraid of the outcome.

To think her studio was around the corner from Paper Connection for years and we finally connected in 2012!  It seems like I’ve known her for years.  So much to catch up on; so much to learn from her.  I knew it was a great match the first time Jules visited Paper Connection.  Her eyes flashed with delight as she relished each sheet of paper she touched.

I was compelled to check out her studio asap, so I invited myself over to Heron Pond Studio.  Photos below.

Jules relishing some beautiful paper.

An innovative printmaker who teaches in the Providence and surrounding area, Jules delves in printmaking methods on all sorts of materials.  We love how resourceful Jules is, and champions recycling, upcycling, and of course, supporting local providers, (like us!), strengthening the artistic ties in Providence.

One of our paperwomen, Ouiji, who is a talented mosaic artist, tried her hand at carving and printing on donated leather scraps in a woodblock course by Jules of Heron Pond Studio.  Great job, Ouiji, and Jules!

Ouiji’s print on a leather scrap.

Enjoy the slideshow of a visit to one of Jules’ lecture/demo at the Providence Public Library- Rochambeau branch.

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Today, I was so very lucky to be invited to the RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) Library Special Collections archive in the Dale Reading Room.  Professor Jan Baker, who has been teaching Book Arts in the Graphics Department for more than 30 years, pre-pulled some incredible “gems”(artists’ books) especially for me and a young man from Japan studying at RISD on a one-year fellowship.  Those that stood out for me most were: Karen Kunc’s “Trace”, Antonio Frasconi‘s “A Sunday in Monterey” and another book  of his woodcut prints, Karli Frigge‘s “Alchemy & Marbling”, Donna and Peter Thomas‘ “Paper from Plants “- a collection of US papermakers’ sheets made from homegrown fibers, “Heisei no Shifu”- 3-volume boxed set of all washi; all of Japan’s handmade papers- and I could go on and on… Needless to say, these special books are not to be circulated, and I can’t show you…because no photographs allowed…(however, I will post photographs of “Heisei no Shifu” in another blog..since I own my own copy!)

The encore or rather the 2nd and main reason for going to the RISD Library was to view the 30-year retrospective of Jan Baker’s students’ artists’ books.  Close to 1400 creative pieces in book form, all handmade, simply astounding.  Something for everyone…I have to say being from Rhode Island, I related most to Suzzi Cozzens’ (made when she was a student..she’s now faculty) very large book about Rhode Island; made me LOL….(Don’t worry….I did it quietly; this was  a library…).

Here’s another blog written from a RISD insider.

The Potato Book