Itajime Paper

The Sunday Paper #252
March 24, 2019

Paper of the Week: Itajime

These colorful itajime papers caught my eye recently. They are created at Awagami Factory in Japan… ooh la la!

Itajime shibori is a shaped-resist technique. Traditionally done with fabric, but also in paper, the cloth (or paper) is sandwiched between two pieces of wood, which are held in place with string. More modern textile artists can be found using shapes cut from acrylic or plexiglass and holding the shapes with c-clamps. The shapes prevent the dye from penetrating the fabric they cover, producing an effect similar to tie dying.


In the Studio:
I’ve been a visiting artist at Baylor University in Texas this week. Three classes (graphic design, fibers, and drawing) spent two days exploring 2D and 3D papermaking techniques. And they’re on their way to having a full-blown papermaking studio.


Papery Tidbits:


Julie McLaughlin creates large works with her big ass handmade paper. “I am drawn to the simplicity of the kimono silhouette and to the complexity of the traditions surrounding it,” she says. “I often create background stories relating to a piece as I am working, but I expect viewers to create their own stories as they connect with or interpret my work.” Her work is currently on view at Central College in Pella, Iowa.

Van Gogh lived in London for a bit, and these paper fragments were found under the floorboards of his bedroom. Historians are now piecing together history through paper.

Fragments of paper with watercolor flowers were found under the floorboards in Van Gogh’s bedroom. Photo: Martin Bailey

More than 30 contemporary artists are showing work in Mediums of Exchange, a two-part exhibition with the Borough of Manhattan Community College in NYC. All of the works pertain to our relationship with money. For example, Jennifer Dalton graduated from art school with debt and collected a suitcase worth of credit card offers from different companies to make a statement about how easy it is to fall into more debt.

Erika Harrsch’s ‘Currency Kites’ flies high inside of Lehman College Art Gallery as part of its ‘Mediums of Exchange’ exhibition exploring economic, sociological and psychological viewpoints toward money. Courtesy of Erika Harrsch Studio

Although this isn’t paper, the practical applications utilizing origami techniques is pretty amazing! This origami robot looks delicate but is strong enough to lift a bottle of wine.

MIT’s “origami” robot in action. Jason Dorfman/MIT CSAIL

Here’s the story behind cootie catchers (or folded paper fortune tellers). Did you make these as a kid?


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I’m Helen Hiebert!

THE SUNDAY PAPER brings you stories and examples of people doing exciting, innovative, and beautiful things with paper, as well as link to interesting paperfacts from around the globe. Read all about it here!

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