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.
- Grab a spot in my Red Cliff Paper Retreat (September 9-11) before early bird pricing expires June 1st.
- Have you seen my educational and art videos? You can download all three for $12.99 through VHX.tv. They are also available individually for less, or you can just watch the trailers – that’s free!
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.
I crossed paths with Jean Kropper who runs Paper & Pixel many years through hand papermaking (she is the author of a how-to book about papermaking). Her new design company, based in Australia, is quite clever. Check out this promotional video.
I’ve written about The Bookbinder before, but it deserves another mention because it is making a American debut at Yale in June (video and ticket details at the link). From award-winning New Zealand company Trick of the Light Theatre comes a story of mystery, magic, and mayhem. Inspired by the works of Chris Van Allsburg and Neil Gaiman, The Bookbinder weaves shadowplay, paper art, puppetry, and music into an inventive performance for curious children and adventurous adults.
I chuckled when I read the following copy: the world’s only contemporary book art exhibition is set to open at Central Library on June 4 in Liverpool. Well, I disagree and am happy to report that there are several contemporary book art exhibitions going on as I type. But this one is probably the only one with six huge Shakespeare figures on show, handcrafted from paper by students at Birmingham City University.
Here’s a roundup of 10 Geeky Pop-Up Books, featuring videos of most of them: Star Wars, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead… and more!
About our Sponsor: Washi Arts sells a broad range of Japanese handmade and machine made papers, tools and supplies for artists, bookbinders, conservators, printmakers, architects and designers, calligraphers and printers. Follow Washi Arts on Instagram.
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