Paperwood in Stock!


We just received our paperwood shipment today, so that means Cherry & Walnut 8.5″x 11″ sheets are back in stock! These two have been quick to sell out lately, and we noticed the paperwood were quite popular at the conferences we have brought them to.

The paperwood that we get is unfinished natural wood .017″ thick and good for folding, ink jet printing, and rubber stamping. A while back, Frank and Sachi tried printing on a sheet of cherry using our black-ink only epson printer and quite liked the ominous results:

paperwood3We expect the backordered paperwood sample books to come in shortly as well!

Dynic SK Series

At HPI, the Dynic/Buckram SK bookcloth series was discontinued for regular stock and on a special order basis only. We recently tried to contact the SK bookcloth makers in Japan for some special orders, but did not receive any response despite the different attempts. So, at this time we will have to hold off any SK orders until further notice.

Is “Rice Paper” Most Searched?

While logging into our storefront, I noticed the ever popular search term of the day “rice paper” and it lead me to look through our search engine history. Totaling the search terms on our store from all time, the winner for most popular searched phrase is….


In second place is Kozo, which had around half of the searches, though perhaps more if you combine it with the term “mulberry”.

Yet, “Rice Paper” was still up there, especially if you add the different ways people put rice paper into their search like “biodegradable rice paper” or “handmade rice paper”. This in turn lead me to wonder whether we should publish more articles about washi names and why asking us for “rice paper” isn’t so specific. For now, wiki’s article will have to do the job!

Southern Graphics Council 2009

Every year as vendor, Hiromi Paper staff members attend the annual Southern Graphics Council conference. The Southern Graphics Council is a nonprofit organization for the advancement of artists who make original prints, drawings, books, and hand-made paper. This year, SGC took place in Chicago from March 25-29 and included exhibitions, demonstrations, lectures, panel discussions, private collection viewings, and special events at over 40 locations around Chicago. Representing HPI, Hiromi and Felicia set off from sunny LA to the windy city early morning on Wednesday, the 26th. I have made sure to get details from Hiromi as soon as they returned!

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Hiromi herself has not attended SGC for several years. So, she was shocked to see how huge it had gotten, with the big increase in attendees and vendors. Even the setup felt different, this time being in the Hilton Hotel ballroom. This year, we focused on our inkjet coated paper and Gampi collection, and introduced samples of our upcoming soft white Masa-type paper. Our specially coated inkjet paper line has grown quite a bit to include 11 different types to choose from for the different printing needs. As opposed to the typical printing paper, we wanted to introduce to printmakers, thinner paper with more textures, which is the character of Japanese paper. The Masa paper is a long time used inexpensive muti-media art paper that is usually fluorescent white in color. Hiromi has heard time and time again comments on the sometimes off-putting shade of white. So, when the opportunity came to collaborate with Japanese papermakers on new paper, she had created for us a soft white paper that we could sell at a reasonable price to match the Masa. For more information and feedback on this paper, please contact us!

At our booth, Hiromi remarked on the number of new, younger customers that they were able to chat with and introduce to them the wide range of paper for printmaking and fine art that is available. She was able to meet with familiar customers and friends and even venture out into the cold for dinner with good acquaintances.  In the end, despite the freezing temperatures, snowfall, and airplane delays they faced, Hiromi was glad to have been able to attend herself and hopes to attend again, as HPI does annually! Next year, SGC will take place in Philadelphia; with such a big country, we are amazed at how we are continually at new and different destinations!

We’re Back!

Pollock Not only are we back from the weekend, but Hiromi and Felicia also returned from SGC in Chicago March 26-28! Pollock is also happy to be back to his routine here. And now for some HPI updates:

The spring issue of World of Washi is now up on our homepage here. We are starting to receive some responses regarding updating us with your email addresses, so thank you for working with us on the future of the newsletter!

Now In Stock
We just received shipment of Hanji from Korea so our stock is now updated for JJ-001, JJ-006, and JJ-007!

Regarding JJ-006 Korean Kozo Amber, we were sent samples to show the color change that occurs when exposed to the sun, basically the overall color will darken to a yellow-brown as shown here with the two different shades:


Save Bergamot Station!
As some of you have been emailed, we at HPI were recently notified of the possibility of Bergamot Station being converted into a maintenance facility for the planned Exposition Rail Line. While we are in support of the light rail that will come to Santa Monica from Culver City, we are certainly in opposition of razing Bergamot Station for the maintenance facility. Bergamot Station is home to the Santa Monica Musuem of Art and 35+ galleries and businesses including Hiromi Paper, Inc. To help us prevent this, please sign the petition below:

Art Kite Workshop 2009

With Artist Christine Yuengling and Ali Fujino

Art Kite Workshop Signup 2009

A collaboration of art and aerodynamics brings Christine and Ali to HPI. In this 3 hour session, you will be introduced to the beauty of handmade papers, bamboo and three processes of art:  mono printing, stenciling and stamp/block printing! Roll up your sleeves and join Christine as she introduces new approaches to the kite sail.  Ali will direct you to flying perfection, showing you the beauty, strength and practicality of bamboo in flight.

◊ Christine Yuengling is a professional commercial production artist for TBWA\CHIAT\DAY Los Angeles as well as an accomplished studio artist in bookmaking, construction and illustration.

◊ Ali Fujino is the director of tethered flight, Drachen Foundation, Seattle, Washington

Dream about things in flight and bring your Ideas and images!

Date:      Sunday, May 3rd
Time:     1-4 pm
Place:     Hiromi Paper store at Bergamot Station
Class size:    12 maximum
Price:     $60.00

Reserve: email us at washi @ hiromipaper . com, sign up at the store, fax 310-998-0028, or phone 310-998-0098

  • payment required to reserve a spot, full refund available up to one month before the workshop date.

Lasting Beauty and Uniqueness of Hanji

by Bohyung Kim

Hanji refers to Korean traditional handmade paper. ‘Han’ means Korea and ‘Ji’, paper. This term was coined in the early 20th century after Yang(western) Ji(paper) was introduced in Korea to distinguish traditional handmade papers from machine made western papers. In the course of 1,300 years of papermaking history, Korean papermakers refined Hanji with an original vision and handmade paper was an indispensable material of daily life, until lifestyle became widely westernized in Korea. Hanji was used not only for calligraphy, painting, and books, but also for doors, walls, windows, furniture, umbrellas, lanterns, boxes, baskets, fans, shoes, and clothes. Koreans used paper even in flooring, as part of Ondol, heated floor.

Hanji is beautiful to look at and touch, but its true value lies in what is not readily recognizable on the surface. Main material for Hanji is simple: Dak (paper mulberry), Hwang Chok Kyu (natural formation aid), and clean water. There are no fillers or additives. Compared to paper mulberry found in warmer regions of Asia, Korean Dak is known for its long, flexible, and strong fiber. Hanji is naturally PH neutral and has incomparable longevity. Excellent example of Hanji’s longevity is Mugujeonggwang Daedaranigyeong (Pure Light Dharani Sutra, circa 751 C.E., National Treasure 126), which was discovered inside a pagoda of Bulguksa Temple in Gyeongju, Korea in 1966. Believed to be the oldest woodblock print in the world, this scroll, printed on Dak, was intact except for small areas of moth damage on the backside at the time of discovery.

Korea’s paper formation technique is distinct. Often referred to as Webal, this unique technique allows the fibers to accumulate in crisscross formation without a dominant grain direction. Each Yin Yang Ji is composed of two sub-layers, yin and yang, dried as one, which attributes to its name. Yin Yang Ji is strong, dimensionally stable and does not tear easily in either direction. It maintains even expansion and contraction rates in both directions and does not change final dimensions after drying, which could be particularly useful for certain conservation treatments and printmaking. Even the lightest Yin Yang Ji is much stronger than other papers with same thickness. Another characteristic that distinguishes Yin Yang Ji is the chain lines. Chain lines in Korean Bal (screen) do not run the entire length of the screen, but end in the middle and shift alignment for the other half. This prevents chain lines from overlapping and weakening that area of the paper. Fiber formation in multiple direction, yin and yang layers in one sheet, and alternating chain lines are all special attributes of Yin Yang Ji.

Webal formation

Webal formation

Some Hanji are treated with an extra finishing process called Dochim, during which the sheets are pounded repeatedly to make a compact and smooth surface. Dochim results in added strength and subtle sheen. It is an extra step for the highest quality Hanji which requires an amazing amount of care, physical effort, and most importantly, intuition.

Before (top) and after (bottom) Dochim process
Before (top) and after (bottom) Dochim process

Hanji Paper available at HPI

***Hiromi Paper was established over 20 years ago to keep the traditional Japanese handmade paper technique alive and accessible around the world. In continuing to do so, we have decided to also introduce traditional Korean handmade paper, so look for more Hanji additions in the future!

Spring’s Washi

by Satoshi Hasegawa
Hasegawa Washi Kobo

Ume no Hana
Ume no Hana

As March draws closer in Mino, the sunlight and warmth can be felt. Even as we are drying paper, a lighter feeling to the body of the paper is felt.  In the garden, lovely plum flowers (Ume no Hana) come in to bloom and there is the sense that spring is coming in the order of the course of one’s work.  However, there are some troubles that come with this time.  It is the time that the East Asian yellow dust from China and the Japanese cedar pollen comes.  To start with the yellow dust season, the dust from the distant Chinese continent gets taken on an air current and the small Gobi Desert sand flies in. It is like a dim haze as far as the eye can see, giving a feeling of smothering. Just when it appears the yellow dust has paused, the pollen from Japanese cedar comes next.  With mountains and forests surrounding the work area, seeing the dispersal of pollen feels as though you are shivering.

Japanese Cypress
Japanese Cypress Woods

As the springtime wind blows through the Japanese cedar woods, a band of amber is upsurges and it appears as if smoke has come from the whole mountain area. Since coming to Mino, I have been plagued by allergies to pollen, but will have to endure the time from February to May no matter what.

March to May marks the last stage of the season for making washi, but because the weather stabilizes, we can continue working relatively well. Making washi in the workroom mostly goes on uninterrupted, but endless sneezing and runny noses are to be had when drying the paper in the sunlight and sorting through the sun-dried paper. Sun drying paper is limited to outside the workroom, and during that time cedar and cypress pollen are certain to slip in. I often hear from various Japanese consumers who use the paper to repair their homes that they are always sneezing. Perhaps overseas users too have certainly felt this. If you sneeze when handling washi, do remember this article. It is spring’s washi.

Tools for Handmade Washi

by Tsuyoshi Ageta
Kochi Washi Coop

Handmade Japanese paper (washi) consists of the paper materials, tools, and papermaking techniques. This time, I will talk about the tools.  To make washi is a very demanding task, moreover making the tools used for Washi requires extraordinarily delicate skills. The principal tool in making washi is the su and the keta. Primarily made of bamboo, the su is used to thinly spread the pulp material on when making the paper.

Bamboo Splinta

The inner layer of the bamboo is chipped off and then the skin is split to form bamboo splints, which are used to form into sheets. The nodes of the bamboo cannot be used for the bamboo splints, so only the length between the nodes is used. Bamboo splints that differ in thickness cannot be used in the same su, only the splints that are equal thickness are used. The length of a bamboo splint is generally up to 16-18 inches long and they are carefully braided together one at a time. The thickness of the bamboo splints differs depending on the paper being made. Heavier paper requires thicker splints, and lighter paper requires thinner splints. Even when making only one su, 3000 splints are generally needed, so it can take from one week to 10 days to complete.

Su + Keta = Suketa

Next is the keta, which is the wooden frame the su is inserted into. Making the keta requires even greater technique than making the su. The material for the keta comes from Hinoki Cypress that is no less than 400 years old. The keta has to be light because it will be filled with water and the soaked paper materials. It also has to be strong enough to withstand intense swinging actions during the paper making process as well as stay in tact despite all the water that seeps in. For these reasons, the Hinoki Cypress that is used has to be dehydrated for several years. This adds the degree in difficulty for the washi tool making technique and testing the materials is very important.

Braiding the bamboo splints into a Su
Braiding splints into a Su

Other than the su and keta, there are the metal fixtures for the keta, the silk threads for braiding the su, and the brush used to dry the washi. All of these require advanced techniques and careful picking of the ingredients necessary to make them. Right now, there are approximately 30 people in Japan who are occupied with making the tools for washi, with the core of it advancing to 80 years in age. For the future of washi, Kochi prefecture holds an annual “Nationwide Preservation of Handmade Japanese Paper Tool Making Techniques” to train succeeding generations.

Washi Tools Available at HPI

Coming Soon to HPI


by Brian Shure. DVD included.


Magical Secrets

Brian Shure has expanded and revised his popular Chine Collé: a Printer’s Handbook (Crown Point Press, 2000) to create the fourth book in the Magical Secrets series. Magical Secrets about Chine Collé gives step-by-step instructions for printing and pasting to a support sheet, and adapts chine collé techniques for working with collage and mounting paper, fabric, and other materials with or without a press. Additional chapters discuss sizing paper or fabric, gold leafing, and scroll mounting. Illustrated with color step-by-step photographs, and the included DVD demonstrates the processes.

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