Artist Feature: Sal Taylor Kidd on Mohachi Paper

Salted paper printing on Mohachi

ORIGINS – Sal Taylor Kidd

On view until May 14th

Gallery 169

169 W Channel Rd, Santa Monica, CA 90402

Originally from the UK, photographer and artist Sal Taylor Kydd has lived all over the world, before settling in Los Angeles. Formerly an editor, Sal has been developing her photography for the last six years, both as an editorial and a fine art photographer. Sal will be showing her work from her series “Just When I Thought I Had You” at Gallery 169 in Santa Monica. Check out her amazing prints done on our Mohachi paper.

“Origins” artist statement:                                                                 

Growing up in a small town in England, I had a childhood that was in many ways typical of its time. In the 1970s children led relatively unfettered lives and were free to explore the world with a large degree of independence. In my work photographing my children and family, I find myself revisiting my childhood through their experience, playing by rivers and ponds in the summer, idling the days away, discovering a real connection with nature. Every year we spend our summers on a small island off the coast of Maine. It has become a touchstone for us as a family, a place for us to connect with nature and with each other. For my children these are times of growth and exploration that are strongly tied to a sense of place, of roots and authenticity.

This series is entitled “Origins” because through these images I am attempting to understand what defines that sense of connection and understanding of where we come from, what ties us to a place and tethers us to what has come before?                                                                       

The processes I have used in this series is Salted Paper printing, in which I use a combination of antiquarian and contemporary technologies. I use a digital camera to capture my images, but then I create a physical negative from the digital file, which is then printed in a contact frame, using the same techniques pioneered by British photographer Henry Fox Talbot in the 1800s.                                                                      12806115_10153955822389948_2613101145682938713_n

With these processes, the element of time is not inconsequential, it takes time to make a print, a process that gives opportunity for discovery and serendipity. You coat your paper, you expose it to the sun, you wait. It is a contemplative and mindful undertaking. In each of the steps, from sizing the paper, to exposing the negative and developing the print, there is a tangible connection with nature and the natural elements brought into the print, which again mirrors the content of my work. The artistry of “making” a photograph becomes itself an act of becoming and invention.


From Japan: Keiji Oki of Mohachi Paper in Fukui

(Translated by Yuki Katayama)

Keiji Oki_1

Keiji Oki is the third generation Mohachi papermaker. Mohachi is an extra heavy weight yet soft paper. It is sized internally, making the papers suitable for printmaking, painting and ink-jet printing.

Can you tell us a little about the history of Mohachi paper?

From the Edo period, the Oki mill originally made only Hosho papers. It was only from early Showa period that first generation Mohachi Oki became interested in making a Japanese watercolor paper for western painting.  The beginning of WWII prompted the development of a thick Japanese paper, since the supply at the time was all western papers that could not be imported during the war. This type of paper was invented with guidance from Mr. Hakutei Ishii (painter and print artist, one of the fathers of the sosaku hanga (creative print) movement) It was named “MO” paper, from the first two letters of Mr. Mohachi Oki.

Post-war, once the production of MO Mohachi paper normalized, the production of larger sized papers and printmaking papers began. These papers were not for mokuhanga, but for methods such as lithography, etching and silkscreen.

Keiji Oki_papermaking13

 Any new papers that you’d like to try making?

I’d like to try making papers using the same materials as the Mohachi paper, but cater to new needs of artists or printmakers. That is how the largest size 31″ x 47″ Mohachi paper was developed, because there was a higher demand for larger paper for artists to use. 

What is your view on the future of washi? 

I’d like to focus on promoting the large variety of papers that Echizen has and showing the world what Echizen Washi has to offer. Also, I am still in the process of thinking of ways to keep Mohachi papers relevant and increase demand. 

Any hobbies outside of papermaking?

I like to climb mountains and run marathons in my free time. My current goal is to climb as many mountains as I can in the “100 Famous Japanese Mountains” list.

See artist feature to read about how artist Sal Taylor Kidd uses the Mohachi in her printing.

Artist Spotlight: Lisa Jennings

During the CBAA conference held in Nashville, I had the pleasure of visiting Lisa Jennings at her studio and ask her a few questions regarding her work:

Can you briefly explain your art concept and media? 

I refer to myself an artist, painter and sculptor. My art concept has evolved over 18 years as a professional artist and long before that I used papers, found objects, watercolors, acrylics and acrylic mediums. I have known since I was a child that I am artist.  My work technique as it is right now evolved from working with watercolors, acrylics on and with pre-pigmented hand made papers that I created paintings with on canvas when I first started as professional artist.  


How did you start working with washi and how does it compare to other paper? As I evolved further into my career I wanted more control of my surface texture, color palettes with my my painting, that is when I started purchasing Washi/Mulberry Papers from Hiromi about 8 years ago. I started with using mulberry thin and thick papers and pigmented them with liquid acrylics and acrylic dyes. This evolution set my standard and quality of work way above how I was using the other papers before in my paintings. I also use the pigmented mulberry papers on the wood sculptures that I create. The paper used on my sculptures really connects my paintings and sculpture as definable as a Lisa Jennings trademark and people identify my work because of my unique technique process in both my painting and sculpting processes. I get totally lost and am so passionate with the all the experimentation that I have done using Hiromi quality papers. I started ordering this past year some of the thicker Nepal Lhakpa Thick and thin Natural, Khadi and also DHM Triple Thick Paper. I love to work with these papers with the the liquid acrylic and acrylic dyes plus sewing and batik resist.


What are some characteristics that you like about the washi that you use? I love the  versatility of the thick and thin mulberry papers. I love the strength of the thick/thin mulberry papers and how it holds up when I pigment it also using batik resist and sewn areas, then applying it with matte medium to the canvas or wood. The papers don’t easily tare or wear off with brushing on the matte medium. I trust the quality of the papers that I use as a professional artist that I am using something that is archival with my techniques for both my paintings and sculptures! I love the organic look and feel. My work is referenced to as primitive modern so the organic texture that lends itself with the Lhakpa thick and thin papers is so luscious to integrate into my works. I love being able to sew and batik resist on the thick and Lhakpa papers.


Do you have any advice for people starting to work with japanese papers? Firstly, I would suggest that people interested in papers research about papers and what their uses are for, how they are made, how archival and versatile they might be for different outcomes. Research is the key for me in anything that I do to integrate something more into my art practice. I would suggest that people who want to experiment more about using Japanese papers should use smaller sheets at first, perhaps use different types until they find the specific ones that work well with their techniques, mediums or purpose of what their desired outcome is from using the papers. Lastly play! Let your creative inner child come out! There are no mistakes when it comes to creating!  

Deffner & Johann Spotlight

This month we are excited to introduce Deffner & Johann, German distributor of Hiromi Paper’s conservation papers, materials, and more. Deffner & Johann’s dedication to product innovation has made them a great partner in promoting special papers and materials across Europe. 

Photo: taken by Hiromi Katayama at the IADA Berlin congress of Ralph-Uwe Johann & Maren Dummler


In 2015, Deffner & Johann presented a video on “Parchment Restoration” with paper restorer Maren Dümmler, using washi from Hiromi Paper.

View the video on youtube here.

“Deffner & Johann is a leading supplier of materials, tools and equipment for conservation & restoration, care of historical monuments and for those practising traditional craft techniques. We also supply design solutions for fitting out workshops and studios. In over 135 years of its history, the company has made a name for itself far beyond the borders of German speaking countries as a specialist wholesaler of products for use in all aspects of the conservation of cultural goods.

Our customers include well known museums at home and abroad, public and private archives, restoration & conservation studios, trades and crafts workshops and discerning artists as well as universities and research institutions specialising in conservation training.  We refine our range continually in close consultation with our customers. This co-operation drives us forward and forms a substantial part of our company’s philosophy.”

Artist Feature: John Zabrucky

Artist Feature: John Zabrucky

By Oren Giladi

John Zabrucky is an artist and designer living in Los Angeles. He both works in the film industry and creates independent bodies of art using our various handmade papers. The majority of his works are drawings and collages done on our Yucatan and Bhutan papers.   John has been drawing on our papers for years. In his studio we leafed through hundreds of works and picked out a few highlighting multiple techniques.   


John Zabrucky on Bhutan and YucatanRead More »

Echizen Shikibu Color Gampi Makers: Naho Murata & Akemi Hara

Translated by Yuki.

PART 1: Naho Murata

Naho Murata is one of the two women who make our Echizen Color Gampi. We have been carrying this paper for over 14 years since Hiromi introduced it back in 2001. We were able to ask the ladies a few questions and here is part 1 with Naho Murata’s interview.

Naho in her studio back in 2012.
How did you get into papermaking? What brought you to Echizen paper village (from Kyoto)?
I was familiar with papermaking since I was little, but the first time I’d ever used washi was when I was in college, and organized a washi fashion show. The fashion show was a huge success, but there was still a lingering question that I had about washi. I had used Kyoseishi* for the event, and noticed those papers weren’t as strong and durable, compared to synthetic materials usually used for clothing. That is when I started to think, “I wonder if there is other washi that is even stronger?”
After the fashion show set fire to my curiosity, my college professor took me to Echizen to visit some papermakers in the village, and Umeda Washi was one of them. When the time came to job search, I approached my professor and expressed my interest in going into the field of papermaking, and that is when I was formally introduced to Umeda Washi. My initial motive was simple; I wanted to work with what I love most, washi. That was already 18 years ago, and I’ve been making paper ever since. This year I’m working on obtaining my Traditional Craftsman qualification.
How was Umeda Washi when you first started working?
At most, there were about ten papermakers here and a few younger generations including myself. Although the demand for washi has since decreased, because of the younger employees at the mill, there has always been a positive atmosphere for new ideas and innovation, which led to the production of the Echizen Shikibu Color Gampi**.
Any thoughts on gampi?
The appeal of gampi is the never-changing traditions and feel, which has continued for over a thousand years.
Have you ever thought of changing any of the papermaking methods? 

I have attempted to try different things, but I feel that the passed down traditions are the best so far.

Aside from gampi, you also make kozo papers. Are there any differences?
Personally, I feel that I can be a little more ‘rough’ when making kozo papers, as in shaking the papermaking mould more vigorously. On the other hand, gampi paper making is more precise and delicate. The making process of kozo is more fun, but I prefer the finished look of the gampi better.
Any thoughts on how you want your gampi papers to be used?
Right now I feel that it is more important for younger generations to know more about washi and its traditions. Children nowadays automatically assume that paper is white, but they do not know that the papers become white after bleaching, or that washi is originally a natural color. I’d also like to further the knowledge and usage of washi in everyday lives.
In order to do so, I felt that it is important to obtain the Traditional Craftsman qualification. By being certified, I am able to promote Echizen Washi even more and keep the traditions alive for future generations.
Naho Murata with HPI staff Yuki in 2012
*The base kozo handmade paper is coated with starchy mucilage called Konnyaku then crumpled to soften. Konyaku makes paper strong, flexible and water-resistant. Sometimes this paper is used for clothing and is popular for book/box covers.
**Handmade 100% gampi papers made in Echizen of Fukui prefecture. These strong, sheet sheets are dyed in a subtle range of colors (21 colors).
PART 2: Akemi Hara
We had previously interviewed Naho Murata, one of the two women who make our Echizen Color Gampi . Now we present to you Akemi Hara, who assists Naho.
Akemi Hara
Akemi Hara
How did you get into papermaking?
I had tried different fields of work after high school, but it wasn’t until my son started school that I stumbled upon a job listing for Umeda Washi. At first I started in a part-time position, but after seven years here I am now a full time employee, supporting the critical steps in papermaking such as chiritori (picking the fibers) and helping Naho with her paper making .
After trying out many fields of work, is there a reason why you decided to stay so long with Umeda Washi?
I love the people that I work with. I often break out in rashes when I work with cold water (which is what is used for papermaking), but even that doesn’t keep me from coming into work everyday.
What are your duties to support Naho’s papermaking?
I make sure all of the tools and supplies that she needs is prepared and ready when she needs them. In order to do that, I have to pay close attention and be aware of the different stages in papermaking. I think my personality is best suited for the supporting role; I am happy helping out around the mill even though I do not actually make the papers.
Favorite foods?
Niku (meat). And cake. Naho is the opposite, she’s not a fan of sweets.

Artist Feature: Lorraine Bubar

No Turning Back - Papercut - 27" x 47" . Image taken from artist website
No Turning Back – Papercut – 27″ x 47″ . Image taken from artist website

KpJ79noUx_ApVNqjXUlxE8gjSNMmhas2aLDO5oCdaUTDR2616NEOOXHN7ge-vDAwRdDs1wiyN_1f-eiLxSy2_rcXFr_ORMB6LHy6X6D5p-tecI9uhcOV7Op3hmKo0epsbubc=s0-d-e1-ftLorraine is a Los Angeles based artist whose work you can see exhibited at TAG gallery in Bergamot Station. Some of you may be familiar with Lorraine from when she taught a paper-cutting workshop at Hiromi Paper, Inc. This month, we had the opportunity to visit her studio and learn more about her work with paper.

Before pursuing paper cutting, Lorraine graduated from UCLA and studied animation at Yale University. She worked in animation for about 25 years and also worked with watercolors. Her watercolors reflect the fluidity of animation and she often represents the motion of metamorphosis in her narrative paintings. From watercolor painting, Lorraine started paper cutting as a form of connecting folk art with her experiences with traveling. Lorraine is a world traveler and many of her influences are found among various cultures such as Japan, India, and Nepal.

IMG_5009She starts working off as a theme and the range of the subject matter evolves out of the process that comes out of being absorbed into the work. The outline of her paper cut is first drawn with a sharpie and white out on white paper. She works in symmetries, and at times when unfolded can make surprising shapes that add on to the imagery of her piece. After the outline is made and cut out onto her actual border top layer of paper, she then begins the process of adding layers of colors. For Lorraine, this process includes laying out sheets and trying out different colors accordingly to her image. The intricate combination layering of various colored sheets make her papercuts feel like a painting or a woodblock print.

Lorraine uses paper for its fragility and strength. She works on the edge of her x-acto blade and when asked of any advices, she stresses to take risks. If something is nagging her, such as color replacement or changing the composition, she recommends experimenting and to spontaneously play with colors. Make sure to check out her new exhibition (information below)!


Thank you, Lorraine!

Exhibition: NOT HOME
Recent Papercuts by Lorraine Bubar
Date: September 1 – September 26, 2015
Location: TAG Gallery
Bergamot Station Arts Center
2525 Michigan Ave. D3
Santa Monica, CA 90404