23: Paper, 종이, Papel, Papier, Papīrs, 紙

23: Paper, 종이, Papel, Papier, Papīrs, 紙

When I was writing Playing with Paper last winter, I asked readers and fans to send me swatches of their favorite papers. My goal was to create The Ultimate Paper Swatchbook. And you delivered.

The Ultimate Paper Swatchbook

The largest contribution came from Lori Moritato, VP at Graphic Products, who sent me over 800 paper swatches that are imported from all around the world. By the way, their website is a great resource for information about paper.

Graphic Products paper sample books

I got to thinking about where we get our paper. Many of you know that I make paper, and have always been fascinated with where things come from. My first book, Papermaking with Garden Plants & Common Weeds covers how to make paper, literally from the ground up.
To see hand papermaking in action, watch this lovely 2-minute book trailer which gives you a glimpse into the Eastern style of hand papermaking. Produced by Aimee Lee, this trailer is for her new book, Hanji Unfurled, the first English-language book about Korean paper arts.

Aimee Lee’s new book, Hanji Unfurled

And you can watch a short trailer about Western hand papermaking on my new DVD, The Papermaker’s Studio Guide

The Papermaker’s Studio Guide DVD

But back to where the paper we buy comes from… Graphic Products is a paper distributor, and there are a handful of other distributors in the US. These distributors import and wholesale their papers to retail stores, where we can buy them. When I first got interested in paper 20+ years ago, there were few places to find decorative sheets, even in NYC where I was living. Now you can find them at art supply stores, university book stores, stationery stores, etc. Here’s a short list of some of my favorite paper stores.
New York Central Art Supply in NYC
Hollanders in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Paper Source, a national chain based out of Chicago
Hiromi Paper International, Santa Monica, CA, imported Japanese papers
Paper Connection, Providence, RI, imported papers from the East
And just last year during my travels, I found unique papers at Wet Paint in St. Paul, MN, Guild Art Supply in Northampton, MA, the Museum School Bookstore in Boston, and Cave Paper in Minneapolis.
Of course, there is nothing like handling the real thing to feel and see the paper qualities, and if you can’t get to a store and need to see or touch a sheet prior to purchasing, most stores will send or sell you paper swatches.
Do you have a favorite venue where you buy paper? If so, please share it with me by emailing or leaving me a comment below.


About the 25 Days of Paper: I’m going to be a crazy blogger in December, featuring cool paper products, projects, blogs, books, or papers each day. Join in the fun by reading along! I’ll also post links on my FaceBook page. Enjoy the season!


  1. Linda K. Fendley says:

    Some great resources here…thanks!

    • Linda K. Fendley says:

      It’s December 3rd at 1:30 and yet the post recorded my comment as Dec. 4 at 4:23. That is quite unusual.

  2. Diah Rahma says:

    Hi Helen! I just found your page from Pinterest but turns out that the backlinks that you put on this page are no longer available to access. I would love to see more information about papermaking that you already share here. Where could I access “The Papermaker’s Studio Guide”? Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *