Friday, 30 April 2021

Wild about Washi

printing on Awagami Hosho for the first time
© Teresa Newham

It's fair to say that I'm a something of a paper nerd - a hangover from when I worked in magazine production at  the FT. I was once taken to a paper mill so large, the workers used bicycles on the factory floor; and my painting was transformed when I saw a watercolour demo on Arches 640 gsm  - a paper so thick it doesn't need stretching.

the inside wrapper from the sample pack of
Awagami editioning papers

Last summer I bought a sample pack of washi editioning papers made by the Awagami factory in Japan to help me try out Japanese woodblock for the first time.  I enjoyed printing on the different types of washi and loved the way the samples were presented, with lots of information about each type of paper.

the poster for AIMPE 2021
from the Awagami Factory

Recently I discovered that Awagami hold an annual mini print exhibition, open to printmakers across the world. All the work is exhibited, and there are prizes. The first 500 artists to register receive a sample pack containing a variety of fine art and inkjet washi papers. I couldn't resist, and soon received mine . . .

confirmation of my registration
© Teresa Newham

Entries can be on any washi, but it seems polite to use Awagami's, so I'll be making my two linocut entries on their 80 gsm Hosho. It takes the ink really well. I'm also following Awagami on Instagram - it's interesting to see the paper making process and the other types of paper the factory produces, as well as some amazing prints.

the registration confirmation pack included fine art washi papers . . . 
© Teresa Newham

I've learnt so much already about washi and how it's made. The mini-print exhibition  aims to encourage more printmakers to use washi worldwide, to help keep this great papermaking tradition alive. As for me, I just love the idea of having work on show in Japan . . . arigatou-gozaimasu, Awagami !

. . . including Kinwashi - almost too beautiful to use!
© Teresa Newham