Indo-Islamic Style Papermaking

Indo-Islamic Style Papermaking

The Sunday Paper #339

November 22, 2020

Papermaker of the Week: Radha Pandey

A display of Radha Pandey’s various papers made in the Indo-Islamic style, along with tools used in the tradition.

Radha Pandey is a papermaker and letterpress printer. She earned her MFA in Book Arts from the University of Iowa Center for the Book, where she was a recipient of the Iowa Arts Fellowship. She has learned European, Eastern and Indo-Islamic Papermaking techniques with Timothy Barrett and teaches book arts classes in India, Europe and the United States. Her artists books are held in over 40 public and private collections internationally, including the Library of Congress and Yale University. Currently, Radha is working on an artist book inspired by Mughal floral portraiture from the 16th century, and how it was impacted by colonialization of plants. All the paper for the edition will be hand made in the traditional Indo-Islamic style. Radha teaches many of these techniques online. Click through to find out about upcoming workshops.

In the Studio: 

I’m loving this watermark design based on Tangram puzzles. Did you play with Tangrams as a kid? They are an age-old set of shapes that you can put together in various ways. This sheet of paper features 24 Tangram sets that I arranged on the computer and then cut to create this watermark. Here you see a double-couched sheet with a dark purple sheet underneath, some plain sheets made with bamboo fiber, and a few other designs. You can see how these sheets dried on my Instagram.


Papery Tidbits:

Arnold Grummer’s ® is having their annual press sale. Are you stuck at home? Invest in a press for your book and paper art! Presses ship anywhere in the lower 48 for just $9.95 ~ don’t miss out! I own one of these Book & Paper Presses. It’s a great teaching tool for off-site workshops, and comes in handy for pressing small sheets in my studio. And while you’re there, check out Arnold Grummer’s Fall Card Contest and win fun paper prizes!
This is a fantastic video about Ruth Asawa that commemorates and celebrate the release of a set of stamps featuring her amazing work (Her work is not paper, but the stamps are). The USPS created the video which features her son and others talking about her work.
Here’s a new twist on plantable paper. Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, is often celebrated with crackers, those small fireworks. Divyanshu Asopa, founder of 21 Fools, has been selling plantable crackers this year – they are made with handmade paper, don’t explode, and you can plant them and they will grow. How cool is that?

From The Entertainment Times

One of my art heroes, Isamu Noguchi, does it again! He designed his Akari lights 70 years ago, helping a Japanese town revitalize their craft. And now, during Covid-19, sales of these lights have soared at the Noguchi Museum – located in his old studio space, a must-see for paper lovers when visiting NYC – and are keeping the museum in business.

Isamu Noguchi with Akari lights sculptures, 1968. Source: The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, NY/Artists Rights Society (ARS)

Did you catch the Veteran’s Day Google Doodle? Made by Air Force veteran Jenn Hassin, the Doodle consists of hundreds of hand-rolled pieces of paper made from uniforms donated from every branch of the American military.


Featured this week in my Studio shop:

All About The Paper Year 2021, The Papermaker’s Studio Guide DVD, Woven Paper Lantern Workshop, & The Papermaker’s Companion.


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  1. Elizabeth C. Teviotdale says:

    An image in Sunday Paper #339 shows a sheet of Radha’s paper described as “double-couched.” Can you explain the process (if it is one) of double couching?

    • Helen Hiebert says:

      Hi Liz, double couching is when you laminate two sheets together. So, one sheet is couched, and then a second one is couched on top of the first one. You could embed something in between or create two-sided sheets. Since there is no official papermaking dictionary, these phrases evolve… Thanks for asking!