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Paper for Printmaking

The Best Will Take You Far!

One of the most revered and skilled papermakers, Yasuichi Kubota, once replied when I asked him what he thought was the most suitable paper for etching,

Go directly to:

"The best will take you far. If you use a pure-fibred paper, made carefully in the traditional way and properly aged, you can do any medium on it including western calligraphy and all forms of printmaking."

So to encourage papermakers to continue making the best quality papers, to age them sufficiently and to assure a continuous supply to artists who value the excellence of these materials, we continually order and keep healthy stocks of the papers on our Conservation and Printmaking lists. In addition we have bought many special lots of rare papers over the years, often accompanied by interesting tales.. The collection spans our thirty-plus years of travelling to Japan in search of the finest papers.

If you can find your way to Toronto, and you book a time ahead with us, we will give you a tour of these select papers and tell you some stories to boot!

Papers for all techniques

Keeping in mind the advice of Kubotasan that the best will take you far, here is a short list of fine paper, in medium to lightweight, available at The Japanese Paper Place or by mail order (minimum $100.00) which will work well with almost any printmaking technique. These papers are all made from kozo grown in Japan, prepared very carefully, cleaned by picking out all the imperfections rather than by soaking in caustic soda and bleaching, and made by skilled craftsmen.

For information on these and others of our best quality papers, please refer to our Conservation and Fine Printing list.

  • sekishu (100% kozo) Beware: not all sekishu is created equal!
  • Inoue 22g kozo or 38g
  • pure kozo cooked in lime
  • Hosokawa kozo (designated an "Intangible Cultural Property" in Japan)
  • seichosen kozo
  • seikosen mitsumata

Relief Prints (woodblock, lino, stonecut)

Generally Kozo papers are the most absorbent and the strongest for relief prints. If you are using waterbased inks, you will likely want a sized paper. The problem is that most good papermakers do not like to put sizing into or on their pure-fibred papers because the sizing adds acid and changes the longevity . So the list of sized papers is very short. We'll include them in our list here by noting an S beside the name.

We include here both average quality papers, which are machinemade, generally made of woodpulp mixed with Thai kozo and have an even absorbent finish, and above average papers which are handmade or machinemade pure kozo. Fibres from Thailand produce a slightly less absorbent paper cooked in caustic soda which weakens them somewhat, but makes less expensive sheets.  For our excellent quality papers, please see our Conservation Papers page.

A. Average Quality

Name Content Description Sizes
Kozuke (S) 60% kozo fibre White or Ivory 37 x 25"
Kiritsubo 30% kozo Natural in colour 37 x 25"
Kawairi chiri 100% kozo Barky "chiri" bits 37 x 25"
Dai-Inshu chiri 50% kozo Chiri bits on yellow, green, grey, rust 37 x25"

B. Above Average

Name Content Description Sizes
Iwami 90% Thai kozo White, handmade 37 x 25"
Usukuchi 100% Thai kozo Beige in colour
Light or heavy weight
37 x 25"
Kozo kizuki (S) 100% Thai kozo white or natural
bleached white/dyed
37 x 25"

C. Excellent Quality

Please see our Conservation Papers page.