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Below are some previously showcased works using Japanese paper we are pleased to be able to share with you.

 

Margo Klass

Margo Klass has been buying our beautiful Solid Colour Pure Kozo papers for a number of years to crete these very elegant box environments with them. These pieces were shown at the Alaska House art gallery, Nov. 2-30, 2012

Temple II (closed)
Mixed media box construction
2012
7.5 x 14 x 7.5 in.
Temple II (opening)
Mixed media box construction
2012
7.5 x 14 x 7.5 in.
Tea House North (closed)
Mixed media box construction
2012
11 x 14 x 7 in.
Tea House North (opening)
Mixed media box construction
2012
11 x 14 x 7 in.
Marker II
Mixed media box construction
2011
11 x 8 x 4 in.
McCarthy Morning
Mixed media box construction
2012
7.25 x 9.5 x 3.5 in.

 

Toronto School of Art Exhibition

In June 2010, we partnered with the Toronto School of Art who offered a week-long intensive course on using washi. For each of 5 days, students were introduced to a different medium that could be used effectively with washi - pochoir, acrylic painting, drawing, konnyaku and sumi, collage.

In July, we held an exhibition of some of the pieces that had been done during the week. We were impressed by the quality of these pieces, considering there was really only time to be experimental. The positive spirit with which the week was taught, and the openness of these students to new materials and techniques was obvious. Now we offer a glimpse to our web-viewers to enjoy.

Diane McGrath

Splash by Diane Mcgrath
Land by Diane Mcgrath
Splash 24 x 19" - iwami white, acrylic paint and ink.
This piece had matte medium brushed on so the acrylic would be more controllable, but the paper's translucence retained.
Land 17.5 x 11.25 - gampi silk tissue crumpled, acrylic paint

Blue and pink hair clip by Diane Mcgrath

Nesting by Diane Mcgrath

Blue and pink hair clip 25 x 37" - kozuke ivory, charcoal

Nesting 6 x 6" - obonai feather, konnyaku, graphite, ink, acrylic paint

 

Dana Mallany

Life Drawing Detail 18 x 25" - gampi smooth, ink, graphite

Life drawing detail by Dana Mallany


Deborah Nolan

Trust by Deborah Nolan Trust (in progress) 6 x 8" - shadow box with gampi tissue, konnyaku, ink

 

Book (in progress) 6.5 x 6.5" - iwami white with acrylic paint and matte medium Book by by Deborah Nolan

 

Ingredients by Deborah Nolan Ingredients 3.5 x 3.5" - gampi silk tissue, transfers, ink, pencil crayon, konnyaku

Ingredients by Deborah Nolan

 

Inuit prints from the Cape Dorset Printmaking Co-op, Nunavut, Canada

The first catalogued collection of graphic art was produced in the Cape Dorset print studio in 1959 and the practice of producing an annual collection of prints continues to this day.  In the 60's, any Inuit still lived in camps and would make drawings there in their traditional environment. During the next visit to the trading post, the artists would present their finished work for sale in the hope of having one or more made into limited edition stonecuts, stencils, or engravings.

Today, most artists work in their homes in Cape Dorset and more recent printing techniques also include lithographs, etchings and aquatints. Although many of the early artists are now deceased, a new generation has emerged, also expressing their unique vision in strong compositions and compelling images.

Washi has been used from the very beginning in Cape Dorset for both stencil prints and the stonecuts, often mixing the two techniques in the same print.

Kenoujouak's Golden BirdsIn 2003, The Japanese Paper Place arranged for a family of 3 Japanese papermaking generations to visit Cape Dorset, to introduce them to the printmakers who were using their paper. The highlight was the presentation by the Co-op of one of Kenojouak's "Golden Bird" stonecut to the Osaki family, a magnificent glowing print on fine seichosen kozo.

In addition to being aesthetically appealing, Inuit works on paper offer invaluable documentation and insights into a culture that endured largely untouched until the middle of the 20th century.

If you would like to read more about this fascinating piece of Canadian art history, check out the new book release by Leslie Boyd called Cape Dorset Prints: a Retrospective or to purchase a print visit www.dorsetfinearts.com.


Rebecca Cowan

"As  printmakers, we are drawn increasingly to beautiful paper and so I discovered what Japanese papers would do for my work. Images that looked quite ordinary on ordinary paper seemed to glow on fine thin Japanese paper.

Green-Eyed Dreamer detail: translucence
Detail of Green-Eyed Dreamer translucence - click on image to enlarge

"This series of little etched accordion books, "Small Stories of Big Ideas" was inspired by an etching class which I was teaching in which I used a long skinny plate to demonstrate a number of techniques. The result appeared to fall readily into this book form and I did the first of a series of 5 books as a result. They were so little that I could spring for very good quality paper which absorbs the ink completely.

"It is the combination of the strength and yet the seeming fragility and translucence of the paper that I really like. I like the idea of art which is so small you can take it wherever you go and when you have a bad day, you can open it up and be transported somewhere else. There may be more in the series..."

Kingston, Ontario printmaker Rebecca Cowan can be reached at bjwan@sympatico.ca.

Trust Think Big Green-Eyed Dreamer Shadows
       
       

Brian Kelley

"An artist can start out with an idea that he or she forces on the world or they can let the world slip something in, but what's produced by this interaction is always going to have surprises. It's not like you can get an idea and go "click" it's manifested. You deal with what's involved with working out that idea and you get new things happening, unexpected things hopefully, that play with you, that irritate and even imitate you."

    - Brian Kelley

Having first discovered washi as a substrate for woodblock prints during his studies with Toshi Yoshida in Japan in 1980, he has been endlessly exploring its other possibilities for drawing, pastel, watercolour, etching, chine collé, and pochoir (stencil prints) since then.

Cape Dorset, woodcut
River, woodcut
Brandywind Falls, woodcut
Sky is the limit, woodcut and pochoir
Webster Falls, woodcut and pochoir
Game, woodcut
Forest Floor, pochoir
Woodcut book
Apricots and Rose, pochoir
Peaches as Plums, pochoir

Drawing and Painting

Japanese papers, especially 100% kozo or gampi, can add depth and richness to painting. Using water-based paints, especially gouache, inks and fabric paints, the effects of the special union of paper and paint can be explored. By adding drawing mediums over the paint, a wide variety of effect can be expressed on a single piece of washi. Here are some examples.

Lorraine Pritchard Susan Low-Beer
Paths 1 Paths 2 detail, Tools for Daily Living closeup, Tools for Daily Living
Drawing with graphite, coloured pencil and ink on kozo cards Mixed drawing and painting media on various washi
Susan Wood Mary Jane Varro
Bleeding Tulips Falling Leaves Untitled Untitled
Ink, watercolour, collage on gampi and kozo Fabric paints and wax resist on Kozuke
       

Fine Art

Mary Jane Varro
Technique: Stitching & Dyeing

Susan Low-Beer
Technique: Painting

   
Kenojuak
Technique: Stonecut & Stencil
Leah Taylor
Technique: Collage
Milt Jewell
Technique: Encaustic Monoprint

World Washi Summit

June 2008 saw the World Washi Summit bring lovers of washi together in Toronto, Canada for a week of workshops, seminars, and over 35 gallery exhibitions of works on this remarkable paper.

Tree by Susan Farquar

Tree by Susan Farquar

Multiple silkscreen images and pastel over canvas.

Artist statement:

Washi is key to my image-making process. The natural fibers of this hand-made paper, its strength, range of transparency and colour are as important as the printing of my drawings onto washi. I am presently using three papers: Mura Sized White, Usu Kuchi Light and Uwa Senka Long.

I begin with the canvas painted in a solid colour then commence gluing the printed washi on top layer after layer until I reach a sort of image possibility. I take clues from what has appeared to begin drawing the image. The ability to control the range between opacity and transparency with each paper, to manipulate it when wet, and the variety of inherent surfaceand inner textures make these papers a dynamic designing feature in my work.


Summer garden by Naoko MatsubaraSummer garden by Naoko Matsubara

Woodblock print

Artist Statement:

I started to do woodcut back in 1956 or so when I was a student of Design under Frau Lizzi Ueno, an inspirational Austrian teacher at the Kyoto Academy of Fine Arts. Then after I went to the States as a Graduate student (Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh), I changed my course from Design to Graphic Design, specifically woodcut print making.

I have been using washi from 1956 onward starting with very cheep student grade, but as I grow older, I started to understand the merit of really good hand made washi and have been using the most beautiful good quality paper.

I am fortunate to know many great washi makers in Japan as well as knowing such fabulous shop as Japanese Paper Place in Toronto. Just touching, smelling and looking at those various beautiful washi of all colors and sizes alone is a great inspiration to create.

 


Snow Flower by Terhi Hursti (Finland)

Snow Flower by Terhi Hursti (Finland)

Book - washi, wooden ring, wool

Artist statement:

The strength and sensibility of washi paper reminds me of the beauty of snow.

I wanted to make a work that holds the silence of white.

Like a snow flower.

 


Heron Island by Emma Nishimura

Heron Island by Emma Nishimura

Chine-collé etching

 


Jacket by Mo Ying Chan

Jacket by Mo Ying Chan

Dyed hosokawa lined with silk

Artist statement:

[Washi is] challenging but gratifying - the paper yields beautiful textures.

 


Untitled by Deb OdenUntitled by Deb Oden

Etching drawing, mixed media

Artist statement:

I first printed on Washi when in graduate school, looking for a paper that was strong enough yet supple enough to tolerate my unconventional printing techniques. During the print process, my paper is folded, and generally abused.

I print with very deeply bitten intaglio plates. The amazing texture of hand pulled paper is a wonderful foil for my intaglio lines. The resultant prints are more complex for the contrast of my hard lines and the sublime texture of the paper. The beauty of the paper itself poses a challenge for me as I begin printing.

The beautiful washi papers I print with have a natural, compelling color pallet. The naturals are warm, buttery, blushed with pink undertones or green hues. Washi offers a subtle color base that is an exciting suggestion of color combinations. I am able choose to work against the suggestion or with it. Printing on such rich and subtle color is a quiet thrill for anyone who loves color as I do.

My work with Washi, ink and press, becomes a duet of call and response between control and flow. Washi challenges me to be more attentive to issues of beauty and destruction.

 


Resting Caribou by Natalie Griller


Resting Caribou by Natalie Griller

Sumi ink painting

Artist statement:

Painting on washi is like working with a living thing; it helps bring paintings to life. There is great joy for me in this; washi's dynamic nature is part of the living spirit of art.

 


Ruin Spread by Reg Beatty

Ruin Spread by Reg Beatty

Book with seichosen kozo

Artist statement:

At first, it's artistic eye candy full of brilliant colours and gorgeous textures and patterns, but working with washi is an education in sensitivity training. Gradually, your initial enthusiasms evolve - all the quiet qualities step forward and reveal the heart of the paper; tone and the minute effects of the transmission of light, fragrance (both dry and wet), pliancy felt at the finger tips, even the sound of the paper in motion. In this sense washi is hardly a material - it is already a refined piece of skilled making. And every project becomes a score to play these subtle qualities with the artist's understanding of both their ideas and its possible manifestation.

My work The Ruin is another of my own explorations of washi, but an exploration in an extreme landscape. In a way, it is an exercise in disrespect, in going too far. I worked at the limits of the paper; took its pliancy and made it brittle, shattered the surface, folded, cracked, stained, almost exhausted it. Amazingly it held, and that became the heart of my piece.

 


A Morphology Naturalized by Liz Parkinson

 

A Morphology Naturalized by Liz Parkinson

Woodblock print on Nishinouchi kozo.

Artist statement:

My prints consider the collected languages we use to understand the natural world. Gampi tissue is part of my visual vocabulary because its qualities echo my explorations.

In A Morphology Naturalized (veil), a traditional floral pattern is overtaken by dandelions, enlarged and repeatedly printed on gampi tissue to become a room filling, delicately resilient, clearly delineated yet translucent and quietly whispering, floating vale of nature/culture.

 


There is no beginning by Ólöf Björk BragadóttirThere is no beginning by Ólöf Björk Bragadóttir

Watercolour and ink on kozo washi.

Artist statement:

My project concerns water and its movement.  The ocean and the rivers, water, in all its forms inspires me and has been a central part in much of my work. The material, this time, consists of watercolours, ink and  this irresistible Japanese paper, Washi.  The idea for my drawing is also inspired from the poem, circles, written by Sigurður Ingólfsson. The project consists of working on a form that symbolizes the movement of water, a whirl or a spiral. 

There is no beginning.
There is no end.

There is light,
there are circles.

New worlds
constantly in creation.

And even silence.

There is no beginning.
There is no end.


Fish in Fish Out by Wendy Cain

Fish in Fish Out by Wendy Cain

Silkscreen print on kiraku kozo.

This print was shown during the Summit in a wire lamp frame made by Peter Jones.

Artist Statement:

As a papermaker, I have tried to make paper from both kozo and gampi fibre and I have nothing but awe and appreciation for the papers made by the papermakers of Japan. They make tough and translucent magic from these raw fibres and I am certain that my paper will always be eccentric and irregular in comparison with their amazing product.

 


I think I missed that part by Cybele Young

 

I think I missed that part by Cybele Young

Dyed kozo washi. Actual size is about 4" square, and accurate in every detail.

 


Fold 1 by Lily Yung

 

Fold 1 by Lily Yung

Folded bracelet of Tosa usushi washi.

 


Paper as it is by Wu Wing Yee

Paper as it is by Wu Wing Yee

Burn marks on Gampi washi.

Artist statement:

This paper itself is already a work of art; my idea for this exhibition was to preserve the papermaker's creation, while at the same time unfolding the beautiful natural quality of the Gampi.

I didn't want to impose an Art Work onto the paper. Instead I made a repetition of incense burn marks, which I see as a form of shape writing, describing the smooth buttery grain of the paper.

 


Lilies by Marilyn Lightstone (detail)

 

 

 

Lilies by Marilyn Lightstone (detail)

Epson digital print on torinoko gampi.

 

 


Go Green by Mae Leong

 

 

Go Green by Mae Leong

Ink and acrylic on Kizuki Tosa Kozo on the left side, and vinyl paste and acrylic on the right side.

 


Shepherd's Bookbinding

 

 

Shepherd's Bookbinding

Classic hardcover with Nigerian goatskin with Katazome-shi end sheets and sleeve.

 


Giant Pine by Ed Pien

Giant Pine by Ed Pien

Kozo paper dyed with Sumi ink.

Artist Statement:

The beautiful sheet of Washi paper that I had acquired through the Japanese Paper Place prompted the imagery for this six-foot wide paper cut. The hand made paper's sweeping length was ideal for embracing the image that depicts the entire canopy of an ancient giant pine. Its dense foliage assumes the befitting backdrop where a group of figures enact their ritual.

Cutting away at the image of the pine reminded me of the ways in which such trees in Japanese gardens are carefully trimmed and shaped; with patience and time, beautiful forms come into being. The process for realizing Giant Pine involved two phases. The initial cuttings carefully followed the image that I had prepared. Once the cutting was complete, I spontaneously and intuitively began to "trim" away at the entire piece. It was at this stage that the semi geometric shapes and negative spaces playfully appeared. The presence of these unexpected elements compliments the figures and further reinforces the mysteriousness of the setting and activities taking place.

 


Spirit in Rice Rain by Tomoyo Ihaya

Spirit in Rice Rain by Tomoyo Ihaya, detail

 

Spirit in Rice Rain by Tomoyo Ihaya

Intaglio on gampi, stuffed, starched and stitched.

Full size, left. Detail, right.

 


Back to the Great Temple by Sebastian Canovas

 

 

Back to the Great Temple by Sebastian Canovas

Acrylic and collage with various washi.

 


Domes #1 by Penelope StewartDomes #1 by Penelope Stewart

Sepia ink on mitsumata tissue.

Artist Statement:

Domes...consists of a suite of brush and ink architectural sketches of the domes of glasshouses. Beginning with a photograph of the architecture it is then rendered and translated into line onto a light tissue (mitsumata). The nature of the line, the choice of paper, the ink, and the puckering all work to describe these canopy like structures and the utopian poetry implicit. They suggest imaginary places and spaces floating without ground. They appear like notes or an archive of possibilities.

 


Yesterday's Tulips by Susan WoodYesterday's Tulips by Susan Wood

Both drawings are washi collaged unto a mouldmade 'western' paper with watercolour, and acrylic ink.

Comments:

I started working with washi in 1980 while in graduate school, making small collages, and layering the paper with acrylic gel and using a range of drawing media, although my primary studio practice at the time was painting. Then life shifted and I moved from Calgary to Newfoundland in 1983 and began to spend more time drawing on paper and less time painting on canvas and eventually completely stopped painting.

I had begun a series of large drawings (4'x8'), working with graphite, but had run into difficulties with the first drawing and in total frustration, I collaged a sheet of washi over the body of the drawing thinking it would obliterate what wasn't working but instead I ended up with this wonderful surface where some of the drawing showed through and other parts did completely disappear. I then worked back into the collaged surface.

It was one of those rare bits of serendipity, in covering up a 'mistake' I stumbled upon a way of building a drawing that I use to this day and in the process I fell in love with washi. It can be so many things, opaque to impossibly transparent, small to large, beautiful creamy surfaces to papers full of bits of bark, dyed and printed; so many variations and so many possibilities. It can be challenging and unpredictable to work with but I have come to appreciate those qualities as each new sheet has the potential to take your drawing someplace that you hadn't seen before.

 


Inspired by the Summit: further explorations with washi

In June of last year the World Washi Summit brought together 150 artists, 40 galleries, 3 Japanese papermakers and offerings of workshops, demonstrations, and special events to draw attention to the quality and potential of washi, traditional Japanese paper.

The exhibition featured below included 25 artists who took part in last year's events in some way: by exhibiting work, attending sessions, or visiting multiple galleries, and who were inspired to engage with washi in new ways as a result.

Washi is not for every artist. Made by hand from renewable plant barks  (kozo, gampi and mitsumata) which are painstakingly stripped and cleaned, it isn't paper as we know it. An artist can't easily transfer his or her techniques from western paper to Japanese. But for some, with a particular openness to new materials and a desire to stretch their creative expression, it stirs them to new heights, and encourages them to produce new work that owes its success in large part to the very existence of washi.

Such is the work before you. "Inspired by the Summit" was an expression of our gratitude at The Japanese Paper Place: gratitude for those artists who persevere with a significant material that's not easy to know; gratitude for audiences like you who continue to show curiosity about its potential; and gratitude for the papermakers in Japan who continue to make this magnificent sustainable resource.


Waiting by Heather Sauer

Heather Sauer
Waiting (2009)

shifu, knitted
matsuo kozo

Artist Statement:

I have always been inspired by the endless possibilities of Washi. After watching the artistry of Hiroko Karuno at the Washi Summit, that realm of possibility expanded and I was able to combine three of my loves, paper, fibre arts and all things small.

 


Waterscape by Ron BoltRon Bolt
Waterscape

watercolour
Kurotani kozo

 


Salt Trap by Doug Guildford

Doug Guildford
Salt Trap

silkscreen
various kozo papers

Artist Statement:

The Washi Summit reinforced my already strong desire and commitment to continue to work with the very best of handmade Japanese papers. I feel a poignancy and an urgency to work with the finest of washi, while the few remaining traditional paper makers continue to dedicate their efforts to producing this valuable crop.

 


I'm sure it will fit by Cybele YoungCybèle Young
I'm sure it will fit

sculpture
various dyed kozo and gampi

Artist Statement:

Having worked almost exclusively with washi for the past 14 years, I almost came to take its many virtues for granted. At the summit I heard to many sing its praises and demonstrate what it had helped them achieve over the years, that it helped me to rekindle my relationship with washi.

Washi has formed the connective root system of a species of artists with a shared sensibility but very unique individual expressions, inspiring one another to reach for the sky.

 


Jeannie Thib from "The Construct Works"

Jeannie Thib
from "The Construct Works"

papercut and collage
chiri kozo; somegami kozo

Artist Statement:

Last year's Washi Summit took me back to my roots in hand printing linocuts on large sheets of washi and the rich variety of papers and artworks has inspired me to experiment with using washi again in various ways.

 


Vapour by Dominique Prevost

Dominique Prevost
Vapour (2009)

watercolour
3 washi variations

Artist Statement:

The exquisite textures of these hand made papers and the way they hold the pigment fascinate me! The support becomes the medium. This sensual material remembers the many touches of its handlers. For a seemingly delicate material, it can withstand a tremendous amount of layering. By using more than one kind of washi in each painting, I can juxtapose chaos and harmony.

 


Tout passe by Will RueterWill Rueter
Tout passe

letterpress, bookbinding
mura itaboshi udaban, kurotani chiri, yasu,
yamaguchi chiri

 


Maple Quilt Sampler by Tammy Ratcliff

Tammy Ratcliff
Maple Quilt Sampler

mixed media
various washi

 


Papillions by Susan FothergillSusan Fothergill
Papillons

silkscreen
kirigami blue (pawlonia) and various kozo

Artist Statement:

Washi is an integral part of the work I do. I consider it a marriage, a steady commitment made to these fine, endangered papers.

After being introduced to the wonder and magic...I have worked to understand everything I can, from fabriclike qualities to the amazing strength while appearing fragile and delicate. When I choose new papers, I feel as though in a sanctuary, and it is one of my favourite ways to spend a couple of hours.

Over many years I have noted the varied, subtle textures, sheens, sounds and colours, and have found an affinity in relation to the images I use. The papers are the perfect partners and I am never disappointed.

The Washi summit only deepened my desire to continue to use the papers that have given me a path to my own heart.

 


Untitled by Mary Jane VarroMary Jane Varro
Untitled 1,2,3

mixed media
various washi

Artist Statement:

My conversation with washi continues to evolve.

Now I do more listening.

Less talking.

 


Iodize by Lynne Munro

Lynne Munro
Iodize

iodine
oguni kozo

 

 


Present moment: present mind - 'sitting' by Lynne Munro

Lynne Munro
Present moment: present mind - 'sitting'
sumi ink, stainless steel and silk thread
nishinouchi natural

Artist Statement:

Listening and talking with the Japanese paper makers during the Washi Summit in 2008 changed the way I understand Japanese handmade paper. I have acquired a more sensitive communication with the paper and I find each sheet, even if its made at the same time, has its own innate qualities. I also learned there are infinite possibilities for exploring Japanese paper.

 


City Living by Candida Girling

Candida Girling
City Living

intaglio
gampi etching

Artist Statement:

I have found gampi to be an engaging medium for drawing and etching. I am attracted to the luminous surface of the gampi etching paper as it contrasts with the incised line of the intaglio.

 


In Betweey by Kelly Cade

Kelly Cade
In Between

water-based pigment including fabric dye
yamagampi

Artist Statement:

This paper has such a unique life of its own. When working with it, I feel I am engaged in a dialogue; a spirited give and take of possibilities wherein the paper reveals as much about itself as I do.

 


She Felled Some Chairs by Norah DeaconNorah Deacon
She Felled Some Chairs

Sculpture
yame kozo hadaura

 


Field Shadows by Sally AyreSally Ayre
Field Shadows

silkscreen, stitching
hosokawa kozo, tengu-jo tissue hm

  Artist Statement:

Finally I found a paper with texture, translucency and malleability that would complement my imagery. I have discovered that there are so many ways of working with Washi to explore that it has created a whole new excitement for me in making my art.

 


Floating by Kai ChanKai Chan
Floating (Image #1)

Silkscreen
gampi tissue hm, (no longer being made)

 


Reflections by Sheila Jonah

Sheila Jonah
Reflections

giclee print, Hasselblad X-Pan II camera
gampi torinoko

 


Gates of Obidos by John DrajewiczJohn Drajewicz
Gates of Obidos

giclee print, Hasselblad X-Pan II camera
gampi torinoko

Artist Statement:

What began with cotton rag papers has branched forward into the world of washi. Suddenly the photo artist is immersed into a wide world of subtle paper surfaces and colours. The texture of washi surfaces such as gampi torinoko can impart a subtle texture to a sympathetic image that comes alive when bathed in direct light. Tough yet thin, by times almost transparent, the paper provides a receptive surface for pigmented inks that transcend a mere supportive role and exerts a collaborative influence between the elements of the image and the many facets that washi has evolved over centuries of fine art evolution.

 


Morphogenesis by Tania LoveTania Love
Morphogenesis

milk paint, cutting
haini kozo 37g and conservation gampi

Artist Statement:

I have always loved paper and was excited to circulate through numerous galleries last summer during the washi summit. I was particularly taken by work that used the material quality of the paper rather than work that used it as a ground for an image. Barbara Klunder's pieces at David Kaye's gallery inspired me to consider the possibilities of cut paper and layering. A few weeks later, I found myself at the Japanese Paper Place, overwhelmed and delighted by the variety of paper available. Conversation with Nancy Jacobi lent rich insights into the thread of life the paper carried, from its source and its makers to what it could become.