Washi (Paper) Testing

I think one of the hardest things for a mokuhanga artist is finding the right paper.  Especially Japanese paper.  There are so many different weights, sizes, paper makers.  And we all like different characteristics in a paper.  I personally don't like a white white paper and prefer more natural color.  I also like a thicker paper.

The opportunity to test different papers while at MI-Lab was something we all wanted to do.  We didn't realize how difficult it would be to get at Kawaguchi-ko.  If there were suppliers there, or even any art suppliers there, we never found them.  Everything came from either Tokyo or somewhere else.  And that all takes time.  Given that knowledge before hand I know we would have purchased paper in Tokyo to take with us to Kawaguchi-ko.

As someone used to the western "fast-food-get-it-now" culture it was hard to wait. Frustrating!  But we finally got paper from different sources and were able to test them.

Below are 4 prints all on different papers - 3 handmade Japanese and one machine made Korean.
  You can see how they each reacted differently to the same process.  The bottom right is "my" usual paper, Kihada.  It took the brown very deeply but not the blue or red.  The one above it is a Korean machine made paper that is absolutely dead.  There is no texture and the colors all are very flat.  The other two are from Kochi. The top one is a natural, almost brown paper and the bottom one is white.  Quite a difference!

These were just 4 of the papers.  We tested many more and most of us brought several of our favorites home to play with some more. 

Artist in Residence - Mt. Fuji

Earlier this summer I found out I had been chosen to be one of 6 international artists in residence at
Mokuhanga Innovation Laboratory at Mt. Fuji, Japan for 5 weeks - October 7 - November 10, 2012.  The others were Tomasz Kawalczyk, Poland; Eva Pietzcker, Germany; Mara Cozzolino, Italy; Paul Furneaux, Scotland and Yoonmi Nam, Korea/USA.

We stayed in Tokyo for 5 days and had an exhibition in Tokyo at CfSHE Gallery for 10 days. 
This is the poster of the exhibition.

Setting up the exhibition under the watchful eye of Program Director, Keiko Kadota.

Photo: 私たち夫婦の友人の木版画家のリンダさんが、「木版画制作プログラム 河口湖アーティスト・イン・レジデンス」に参加するため、来日したので、交流会、展覧会が行われた東京へ会いに行きました。

I was fortunate to have friends in Japan that were able to attend the opening reception.  Pictured with me and my prints are Ann Larabee from Lansing, MI, who is teaching in Tokyo; Tomoko Hirao and Takayuki Fukuyama from Shiga; and not pictured, the photographer of this picture, Phil Ono.

After being in Tokyo for 5 days we moved to the residence location at Fujikawaguchi-ko.  More about this in the next post.