The Sunday Paper #109, May 29, 2016
Sponsored Paper of the Week: Konnyaku Washi Sampler from Washi Arts
Konnyaku is powdered Devil’s Tongue root, a natural plant starch that, when mixed with water and applied by brush to Japanese kozo washi / paper, gives extra strength, some waterproofing and memory to papers.
Suki Hughes in her book Washi: The World of Japanese Paper says the following: “When a thick, qood quality kozo paper is treated and repeatedly crumpled by the hands it is called momigami or kneaded paper. The application of konnyaku makes kozo washi strong and flexible enough to withstand the rubbing and wrinkling process: both treatments, in turn, render momigami much stronger, softer, and more flexible than untreated paper. Because the mucilage coats the papers pores, the sheet becomes not only wind- and water-resistant, but the papers natural heat-retention qualities are enhanced: and yet the paper still breathes. Sheets of momigami can by dyed or left plain: then they are glued end to end to form a roll or bolt and sewn into clothing, particularly coats. As lining for clothing, momigami often outlasts the textiles that it lines.”
Washi Art’s kyoseishi line of momi paper is already treated with konnyaku and comes in a range of colors which can be further dyed and embellished.
Konnyaku comes as a powder and when mixed with water becomes gelatinous. This thick liquid is painted onto the washi to saturate it. It can be left to dry flat, can be kneaded and crumpled, or manipulated to create crepe like patterns in the sheets. Konnyaku Powder comes in 25g and 100g containers.
Special for Sunday Paper readers: A one recipe size container of konnyaku (makes several cups), a sample of kyoseishi paper treated with konnyaku and twelve assorted sheets of Japanese washi / paper (8.5” x 11”) to test. Instructions + inspiration sheet included. Offer good through June 10th.
In the Studio:
Speaking of konnyaku, I had the pleasure of meeting the proprietress of Washi Arts – Linda Marshall – when she participated in my workshop in Tacoma a couple of weeks ago. I was intrigued by a konnyaku treated paper she had with her, so I purchased some of the powder and treated some papers myself! Here you see them drying… and I’ll share what I make with them soon.
Paul Jackson is probably familiar to many of you as a prolific writer of how-to books geared towards paper engineering as well as for developing and sharing innovative yet practical uses of paper (for graphic and packaging design). He lives in Israel with his wife Miri Golan, where they run the nonprofit Folding Together, which is a place where Israeli and Palestinian kids begin working separately and gradually come together. Now that’s a cool way to make meaningful connections! Works by Jackson and Golan are featured in Above the Fold, an exhibition which has been traveling around the country for the past year and opens today in Los Angeles.
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