Monday, June 3, 2013

A Commitment to Washi

I was asked if I would like to participate in a group show at the Japanese Paper Place to start in Toronto the beginning of June which would travel to Japan later in the Summer. The show is to highlight some of the artists that have used Washi in their work for some time and show a commitment to the use of the papers.  The following photos might appeal only to people who are a bit geeky about their Japanese papers. I took a photo of all the squares of new papers as well as ones I already use, from the Tosa paper house so that I could remember what all their names are. I think they look so lovely just like this... hopefully my work will do the paper justice. Have a couple more days to finish everything up before it has to travel into the big city. My fingers have been crossed alot lately as some of the different properties of the new papers have created a bit of problem solving and some struggle but looks like something good might come out of this- other than my new knowledge of new papers.

This is a snap shot of the finished works for the show, titled 'Winter vine, woven (left) & (right)'. I wish that I had a better photo of these before they went off to show... 

This piece (above) is one in a series of four works that I made with the Tosa papers. Unfortunately, I still have a few things to work out with this process and the different papers, the works are still drying, hopefully flattening and did not make it to the show in Toronto. I am still working on this... but will have to get some more paper as I used all the lovely papers 'experimenting' and left nothing for the end result. A little presumptuous maybe? I found that a lighter support paper makes the world of difference when pasting so many different papers to the surface. Though this shouldn't come as a huge surprise to me when I have been working with this process for over 10 years, I have always used a heavier cotton
rag paper for support. A heavy support paper definitely allows some room for the variety papers and wide range shrinkage in the washi used. 

If you are in Toronto on the 6th of June you can see them in person at the Japanese Paper Place on Brock Ave. from 6-8pm. 

This is the paragraph that I wrote about the work and my experience with washi papers for the show.

Through my work with washi, I find a means to explore my continued fascination with the natural world—its strength and beauty—while drawing attention to the imperfections and impermanence of all living things. The 'perfect' asymmetry in nature, the odd shaped spaces between branches or the awkward curl of one petal on a flower is where my curiosity takes root. The process and materials are as important to my work as the subject matter, and it is my great love of working with fine washi that informs how I work. The weaving and stitching of etched strips of delicate paper is slow work that forces me to be more mindful of the materials I am working with and the world around me. It is my hope that I am able to create pieces that convey a sense of calm and nostalgia while paying homage to the beauty in nature and things thoughtfully handmade. 

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