Evolution of a Paper Passion: Japan

katazome, washi, vintage, Japanese paper, Japan

Vintage resist-dyed pattern- katazome paper.

Part I ­­– Inspiration:  My passion for washi (Japanese paper) and washi craft objects was sparked in the late 60’s when my mother returned from visiting Japan with a suitcase full of goodies.  My attraction to anything paper grew strong, as did my intention to visit Japan someday.

Japanese paper,washi, sensu, yoji, gohei, shimenawa, pochibukuro, folding fan, mizuhiki, Japan

Inspiring collections include everyday objects made with washi.

Fast forward to the 1980’s; I moved to Japan, and while living there I experienced how washi was made by hand. Living in Japan for 4 years, I was immersed in the complex, inspiring craft history of Japan.  Back in the USA, I took a job as Art Director and was in charge of a significant collection of Japanese craft, folk art and washi.  

These experiences allowed me to gain great knowledge of Japanese craft decorative techniques, but also set in motion a greater appreciation for the magical creation of a simple, undecorated piece of handmade paper; specifically washi.

I am steadfast in my endeavor to articulate and impart to the next generation,  the intense labor involved in birthing a simple piece of pure, handmade paper.  In addition, to portray Japanese paper’s wonderful and ubiquitous nature in everyday Japanese life.

In 1989, I began selling washi in the United States and continued my research into the history of hand and machine papermaking methods.  In 1992, I shared in this passion when I facilitated a one-week long papermaking and paper craft, multi-workshop event in the Boston area.

washi, nagashizuki, kozo, Peabody Essex, Kochi, Tosa Washi, Japanese paper, Japan, Salem

Leading a demonstration at the 1992 Tosa Washi papermakers forum in Salem, MA.

I co-hosted 20 paper artists from Japan with the Peabody Essex Museum.  This immersive time with Japanese traditional papermakers and artists, was pivotal.  It became crystal clear to me that this passion was about connection and commitment to this rich history and the individuals living it.  From that point on, I dedicated myself to supporting these and other traditional makers and artists in their endeavors and thus bringing their paper world into my world.

I am fortunate to continue this work as the Founder and Director of Paper Connection International, LLC in Providence, Rhode Island.  With residences in both the USA and Japan, I travel back and forth several times a year.  May passion and commitment to this vision continues to grow through Paper Connection; a resource for connecting artisan paper-makers, artists and those who are passionate about preserving and promoting all things paper!

washi, Japanese paper, Japan, Hatano, oiled paper, floor cloth, wallpaper

Handmade, oiled paper by the talented Mr. Wataru Hatano – patterns inspired through the meeting of traditional and contemporary washi techniques.

 

Paper Woman

4 Comments

  1. Alexis Vanasse on December 2, 2018 at 10:36 am

    Hi, I am an Art Student from Concordia University based in Canada and I am looking for residencies wich could feed my passion for papermaking in Japan. there are so many options, and I wonder if you could help me out into making the appropriate choice. Basicly, my intention is to spend 1-2 months this summer during June and July. I hoped you could suggest me good residencies adapted for young Student artists.

    • Paper Woman on December 27, 2018 at 7:03 pm

      Thank you Alexis. Please write to us via email. paperexperts@paperconnection.com and clarify what kind of residency and where.
      Although, residencies is not our expertise we will try our best to reply via email.

  2. Virginia "Gigi" Sarsfield on January 13, 2019 at 10:07 am

    Lauren, Love the letter you sent regarding loss and love and looking forward to 2019 and maybe meeting again!

    • Paper Woman on February 8, 2019 at 1:30 pm

      Awww. thank you, Gigi! It wasn’t easy to write, but I am so glad I did.

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