Archives for posts with tag: Japanese papers

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:  Chuck has recently established an online journal:  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!


Chigiri-e literally means torn paper collage.  Chigiri (pronounced with a hard “g”)  and e (pronounced like “ay” as in “hay”.  Chigiri is the noun form of the verb “to tear” and e is any kind of art picture: collage, painting, drawing, etc.

When you see one of these detailed collages in person, it’s hard to believe the image is nothing but paper.  Of course, not just any paper, the process will work best with washi– Japanese paper.  Check out this Chipmunk Chigiri-e by Etsy artist: Michiko Yoshida.

Traditionally scissors are not used (but are not prohibited!).  Washi torn by hand produces a soft edge, ideal for blending colors and creating a 3-D effect.

Pulp Painting is the bigger category and chigiri-e fits into this English term.   There are many techniques of “painting” with pulp.

Two highly-respected paper artists,(not just by me, but all over the world), whom I know  from my days in Boston  are, Joe Zina, famous for his stunning floral paper “paintings” (click to his name to see one image) and for co-founding Rugg Road Paper Company, back in the ’80s, and Michelle Samour, who teaches, writes and takes  pulp painting in yet a completely different direction; a completely new latitude.

Asstd Itajime, vegatable-dyed & pigmented.

No, this is not my latest take on being an ex-pat in Japan, nor any modern insight in culture clash trends for 2011.  Rather, as I looked with fresh eyes at Itajime paper, I could not help but notice similarities to Rorshach tests.   Is it just me?  Or is it a self-fulfilling diagnosis?  What do you see?

The paper of the month, perhaps?

Itajime-shi; Folded & Dyed Paper

Itajime-shi; Folded & Dyed Paper

To see more Itajime “Tests”, click here.

If you feel inspired, and you would like to try making your own Rorshach-like Itajime designs, contact Paper Connection; the perfect plain white paper for this project is in stock now.

NYC was wonderful in so many ways.  At the National Stationery Show, I reconnected with some favorite customers and it was great to see familiar faces.  Oblation recently requested these kites, which, in the frenzy of selling paper in sheets, I sometimes forget about….

These ARE really special; they feel like a new arrival.  Or maybe I’m just seeing them with new eyes? I thought: time to RE-show more of those types of  unique products here at Paper Connection.

What do you think?

Kabuki Kite

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May is a great time to head to the city.  The weather was perfect last week- dry, sunny.     Here’s the May sky at Lexington around 30th Street.

Was in NYC for a networking event called “Rock the World”  sponsored by the on-line, woman’s entrepreneur group called Savor the Success, with my RI associate, Joan M. from Cicione Studios.

May 5th: Lisa Price, Poppy King and Taryn Rose; the experienced business women who spoke in the morning, were a great inspiration; each one with a “in the beginning”  or ” in my garage”  story to relay.

Lisa Price from Carol's Daughter

Poppy King-small blond on right

The real-life interactions between on-line  networkers was no less than fascinating.  Things got REAL exciting, in the afternoon,  when Michael Gerber, author of the E-Myth, generously spoke about his long life experiences, slowly yanking off the audience’s business-blinders; blinders which we “wear” tightly wrapped around our cluttered, little  heads, in order to bring us back to the here and now of REALity…  Mr. Gerber is  a very present, grounded individual indeed.


Back to NYC for the Stationery Show at the Jacob Javits Center-will take photos if they allow it!

DONT FORGET TO SAVE THE DATE for our Paper & Fabric trunk show at 133 W. 25th Street (btw 6&7th above the Quilt Shop).   Luscious paper goods plus a yummy salad of fabrics and cute tees for sale from 10:30am -5pm, Thursday May 20th- wow! that’s already next week!

Just back from Philly after attending the annual Southern Graphics Conference 2010. What a great show,  full of great people,  and innovative ideas for printmaking.  Check out the fun here.

Backed Gampi, of course, was a hit, as well as our exclusive Laurelai and An-Jing papers…we loved hearing the feedback from those who bought our papers at last year’s show. Any more comments we would love to hear!

Thanks everyone at SGC for creating another memorable event.