Elinor Cotait: Photographs on Asuka paper

Brazil-based artist Elinor Cotait has been using the Asuka inkjet coated paper for her beautiful imagery. I had the pleasure of meeting her a few months ago when she visited our store, all the way from Brazil. We began to talk about her works on Asuka paper, and I loved how her subtle photographic images looked on the Asuka paper!

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Árvores 2, 2014

A few words from Elinor:
“In 2012, visiting friends in LA, I spent some time at Bergamot Station Art Center and then discovered Hiromi Paper, where I found myself in an entire new word of possibilities. At the time, I was working in a series of photographs characterized by soft forms and pastel colors. My idea was to share through it a very abstract, subtle view of the landscape. However, I tried all kind of papers to print and never achieves what I had in mind.

That is when I found coated washi paper at Hiromi Paper. Not only one kind or size, but several! I brought some options home [to Brazil] and in the very first trial I finally saw something that was real only in my mind becoming real on paper too.

Nowadays, I am a member of Hiromi Paper, and four series of my photos are based on their washi paper. Currently I am working on a photo book that hopefully will be printed on washi paper too.”

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Árvores 1, 2014

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Rembrandt’s Etchings and Echizen Paper

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Sugihara-san and Fukui paper makers attended the opening of the much anticipated exhibition: Rembrandt’s Etchings and Japanese Echizen paper at the Rembrandt House Museum!

The exhibition will be open to the public until September 20th, 2015.

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The Rembrandt House which once was his home is now a historical monument and museum, commemorating Rembrandt’s life and work located in Amsterdam. He lived and worked in this house from 1639 to 1658. Although the interior has been reconstructed since then, the overall architecture remains the same as it was in his time.

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Woodcut-printed lantern workshops in Sleepy Hollow, NY

Bridge Lights Woodcut Workshop led by Jeff White (totemic17)

Dates: Saturdays 6/20, 7/18, 8/1 and 8/22
Time: 1 – 4PM
Location: Warner Library, Sleepy Hollow NY
(121 North Broadway, Tarrytown, NY 10591)

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Create a woodcut to honor a person or heritage you care about that will be made part of a lantern for public display.

Artist Jeff White will provide instructions during the workshops! Paper used for the lanterns is Bhutan paper from Hiromi Paper.

Did we mention that the workshop is F R E E ?Read More »

Artist Feature: John Wigmore

John Wigmore

We had the pleasure of visiting the studio of lighting designer and artist, John Wigmore. He combines the elements of sculpture, painting, and installation with Japanese papers for his lighting installations for both show rooms and personal clients. This time, we were able to ask a couple of questions and learn more about John and his work.

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Q: Can you tell us a little about your artist background and company?
A: I graduated from UCSC with a BA in Art Studio and mainly concentrated on painting and sculpture. I got interested in natural materials and found that I enjoyed working with paper in my sculptures. I was looking at a lot of James Turrell and Robert Irwin at the time in the early 90’s and began making my light sculptures in NYC from Okawara paper combined with a heavyweight watercolor paper.
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Print on Harukaze, kozo layers.

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Rembrandt and Gampi by Bruce Meade

Rembrandt and Gampi  Written By: Bruce Meade rembrandt 1 The news got to Rembrandt quickly. The first trade ships from Japan had just dropped anchor in Amsterdam harbor. And among the exotic treasures in their holds was rumored to be a rare, beautiful paper. Luminescent, incredibly lightweight, yet more than strong enough to hold a printer’s ink. Rembrandt hurried through a maze of alleyways to the shop of the paper merchant. The artist arrived just as the new sheets from Japan were being carefully stacked on wooden shelves. “Gampi”, stated the merchant. “Made from the bark of a shrub that grows only in the wild. Quite expensive.”Read More »

Japanese papermaking as UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage

On November 27th, UNESCO officially registered “Washi: handmade Japanese papermaking and techniques” into the ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’. The specific types of washi that were recognized were: Sekishu Banshi (Shimane prefecture), Hon Mino-shi (Gifu) and Hosokawa-shi (Saitama).

376399_266922766747850_539337155_n(Original Japanese article can be found here)

What is significant about these three types of washi?

1) Made with 100% kozo

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Japanese papers (washi) are primarily made using kozo, gampi or mitsumata fibers. Other materials such as wood pulp and hemp are used, to create different textures of washi. The three papers that were chosen for UNESCO only use kozo, which has longer fibers, which creates a beautiful and strong paper.

2) Using only domestic materials

Nowadays, many papermakers rely on foreign-grown kozo (Philippines, Thailand, China, etc) because of the availability and low cost. Though these foreign-grown kozo fibers are similar to those grown domestically, there are issues of them leaving flecks of oils within the finished paper; lowering the overall quality of the papers.

Sekishu uses kozo grown locally, Hon-Mino-shi uses the highest quality Nasu kozo and Hosokawa-shi uses local or Kochi kozo.

The continuing decrease of kozo farmers is another existing concern. They can be cultivated, but the return of income is so much lower compared to other industries. There have been efforts to cultivate Japanese kozo on foreign land using planting stock, but the quality of course will not be the same.

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3) Whitens over time

Usually, chemical additives are used in papermaking to bleach the fibers to create a whiter paper. However, the three selected regions do not add any chemicals during their process, which makes the paper become whiter and whiter over time.

Papers that have been chlorine bleached are a pure bright white color in the beginning, but after being exposed to sunlight over time, the ultra-violet rays turn the papers yellow.

4) Water

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The quality of water is also an important element in papermaking. The kozo fibers are usually immersed in water to wash away dirt and impurities, or “chiri”. This is why all papermaking regions have close access to natural water.

5) Nagashizuki method

The three selected regions all use the traditional Japanese papermaking method of nagashizuki. Contrary to the tamezuki method where the water is simply drained from the papermaking screen, nagashizuki is done by moving the mold, creating a weave of fibers.

6) Wet strength

It is said that handmade papers are much stronger to water compared to machinemade papers. Papers that have been carefully dried in the sun are especially resistant to falling apart in water.

It is fantastic news that washi and the techniques have been recognized internationally by UNESCO, and would hope that Japanese papermaking and related industries will attract more attention from this.

Hidaka Washi’s Chinzei-san: IIC Hong Kong Memo 2014

香港、香港、香港。

Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

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飲茶とブルース・リー。そして100万ドルの夜景の街。

Dim sum and Bruce Lee. And the town of Million-dollar Night View.

そんな世界有数の観光都市で、2年に一度のIICの学会が行われるという。この貴重な情報元はもちろんヒロミペーパーの寛美さんである。あれは去年の初夏のことだ。「ウチは来年のAICサンフランシスコとIIC香港に出展するから、そのブースの一角でよろしければ御社もメーカーとして参加してはどうでしょう?」と、初対面の対話もそこそこに大変有難いオファーを頂いたのが、つい先日のようだ。二つ返事で「是非お願いします。」と即答し、大変貴重なAICサンフランシスコでの体験を活かし、より良い典具帖紙のプレゼンテーションを行う為、香港に向かった。現地の空港ロビーで寛美さん、越前和紙の五十嵐さんと合流し、いざ出発. エアポート・エクスプレスという空港から香港島を約30分で結ぶ高速鉄道に乗り込み、なんだかんだと喋ってる間に香港駅に到着。ホテルからの迎えのバスに乗り込み、チェックイン。その後ホテルにサンタモニカと日高村から事前に輸送していた資材を受け取り、タクシーにて会場のシティセンターへ。会場の設営時間ギリギリまで3人で汗だくになりながら、設営。その後香港海防博物館にてウエルカムレセプション。様々な国から参加された方々との交流を楽しんだ。

In such a world leading tourist city, it is said that the IIC Congress is held once in two years. Of course, the origin of this information is Ms. Hiromi of Hiromi Paper. That was the early summer of the last year. “Why don’t you join us in our booth at AIC San Francisco and IIC Hong Kong next year.” Although that was the first time for us to have some business conversations, she gave us such a wonderful offer to our company. “YES, please let us join your booth.” I answered immediately. After our first joint presentation success in AIC San Francisco, we headed to Hong Kong in order to do a better presentation. Hiromi, Ms. Igarashi, and I joined together at the Hong Kong International airport, and headed to Hong Kong Island. It took us about half an hour to get to the Hong Kong station by high speed railway called “Airport Express”. We took a hotel shuttle bus to our hotel to check in and pick up our paper materials. As soon as we got the stuff, we jumped back to the Hong Kong City Hall where the congress was held. We built and set our booth until they closed the exhibition room. Then, we moved to the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence to join the welcome reception, and enjoyed conversations with visitors from all over the world.

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 レセプション会場にて本番前のリラックスタイム。Relax time at reception.

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翌朝。事前のブースチェックと最終調整の為、少し早めにホテルを出発。ラフな運転で有名な(?)バスにて会場に到着。

In the next morning, we left our hotel a little early to check our booth. We safely arrived at the city hall by taking the infamous “rough” bus.

準備を終え、会場の他出店業者さんへの挨拶をひと通り済ませる頃に学会は休憩時間に突入。会場に人が雪崩れ込むや否や、ヒロミペーパーのブースは黒山の人だかり。ブースに人が入りきれず、三人はサンプル出しや、対応に大わらわ。

ヒロミペーパーが提案する修復用の和紙とグッズは会場でも別格の注目度!

After we finished setting up and making rounds to the other exhibitors, refreshment time has come. As soon as people rushed into the exhibitor’s room, our booth was filled with so many people that even we could not answer every one of them.

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 寛美さんは日本からこられた懐かしい方々との嬉しい再会も!

Hiromi met some old friends from Japan!

そんな大変忙しい4日間を過ごし、様々な国の方々とのコミュニケーションを楽しみ、和紙に関する貴重なご意見を伺う事ができた。この経験を活かし、今後はより分かりやすく、魅力的な展示を行いたいと思う所存だ。ヒロミペーパーさんには、このような素晴らしく、貴重な経験をさせて頂き、本当に感謝しています。有難うございました。今回吸収したリクエストや、情報を次回の地元ロスアンゼルス大会にて昇華させたいと思ってます。

After a busy 4 days, we enjoyed conversations with many customers from all over the world, and received valuable suggestions about Japanese Paper. Taking advantage of this experience, I intend to give more appealing and clarified presentations at future conferences. Finally, I thank Hiromi Paper for giving me such a wonderful opportunity. I will work harder at the next Los Angels Congress in 2016.

Thank you to Chinzei-san of Hidaka Washi for the IIC 2014 update! It sounded like an amazing conference, we look forward to 2016!