My kanji stamps finally arrived from Japan, so I can start personalizing my tiny Note to Self Journals.  Personalized jewelry makes such a great holiday gift.  I am happy to have found a way to make personalized, customized origami jewelry with a Paper Demon touch. Right now I have stamps for:

eternity

believe

light

gratitude

demon

life

beauty

pretty

ki (energy)

Also tiny birds, butterflies, and Japanese and English alphabets.

Ki, Eternity, Inspire

I love these little journals.  They’re folded from a single 6″ sheet of Japanese washi paper.

They aren’t the most sophisticated tiny bound book in the world,  but they have a sweet simplicity that speaks volumes.

1 1/4" high

Find them at Paper Demon Jewelry:  http://paperdemonjewelry.etsy.com.

Fall, now THAT is a season of inspiration.

It’s my birthday season, for one thing.   I share a birthday with Joan Jett (yay!) and Andrea Boccelli (yikes!)  and Thomas Felton (cool! [he's the diabolical Draco Malfoy on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone!])

Being a Virgo on the cusp of Libra makes for a slightly schizoid combination of the fiery and the anal–pretty useful for a jewelry-maker!  I wonder how that works out for Joan Jett?   I’m not seeing a lot of Virgo there…

But I love Fall for a whole bunch of other reasons too.  Sure, Spring has its adorable pink blossoms, and Summer has its gardens in wild profusion…. (and Winter has its icy glitter…. or, in Oregon, its sodden gloom, which I suppose is inspiring in its way [we shall soon find out...])….

But Fall—well, look at the obvious reasons—the breathtaking colors of changing leaves, the crisp mornings, the excitement of new beginnings….

Of course Halloween is the best holiday.  That requires no explanation.

And turtleneck sweaters.  I know Stacy and Clinton said not to wear them.   But what can I do?   Who doesn’t love pulling on that first turtleneck of the season?

But above all, I love the colors.  I love the  the cranberries, the clarets, and the rusts, the firy oranges, the maroons and the fuschias and the olive greens, the saffrons, and the champagnes.  Set off with pops of robins egg blue and turquoise too.

And it so happens that I have in my collection several sheets of rare handmade washi in the deepest, firiest colors…So, my Fall jewelry bursts out in a mad rush of inspiration—in honor of Libra, in the colors of fire.  In honor of Virgo–exceedingly well made :-)

Blackbird Singing Pendant in Autumn Colors

Spooky Washi and Antiqued Silver Spiderweb

It’s been crazy at Paper Demon Jewelry this past month!   Gift bags, giveaways, promotions, 4 local markets, teaching my first series of Japanese Papercrafting classes at the splendid EMU  Craft Center, and a steady stream of orders on Etsy.  Amidst all that, trying to find time to create and perfect new jewelry designs, and switch our entire operations over to all-green mediums, sealers and finishes.  (I’m excited to post on this cool all-natural specialty fiber hardening product I’ve discovered–Paverpol–that comes from the Netherlands!)

But for tonight, let’s keep it short.  I want to introduce my latest items on Etsy.  I’ve been doing a lot with chiyogami/yuzen paper lately.  Actually, ever since my post on the Japanese Paper Place.  For awhile there I was completely entranced with my stained glass, sculptural, and shoji jewelry, all of which played on the color, translucence, and fiber texture of pure plain washi.

But as I explored the hundreds and hundreds of brilliantly colored patterns of chiyogami/yuzen washi at the Japanese Paper Place, I started to feel that maybe I’d abandoned it prematurely!

Chiyogami/yuzen, by the way, is the colorful patterned Japanese paper that so many Japanese crafts are made from.  Here’s how The Japanese Paper Place defines the term:

These wonderfully decorative patterns on paper, known as Chiyogami, are silkscreened onto machine made sheets of mixed kozo and sulphite.  They are more popularly known as Yuzen in the United States.

Originally, Chiyogami designs were developed in the Edo period as woodblock prints by papermakers during the farming season for use as accessories in the house to enliven the interiors. They were based on the bright kimono textiles which the papermakers from the countryside saw on the fashionable wealthier ladies in the larger cities, especially in Kyoto, where the area known as Yuzen had become famous for its sophisticated techniques for dyeing cloth.

Chiyogami was meant to be cut into pieces and made into paper dolls or pasted on tea tins or small paper boxes; still today the scale of the patterns is reminiscent of these early uses.  And still many of the symbols depicted hearken back to auspicious occasions when fancy kimonos would be worn: cranes for long life; bamboo for flexibility; plum blossoms and pine boughs for beauty and longevity.

The striking pigment colours, careful registration of screens and wide range of designs make these papers ideal for picture mats, books and box making.

The range of Chiyogami patterns is endless, and Japanese designers today are tireless in their development of new fascinating patterns.  These patterns are constantly stocked at The Japanese Paper Place.”

Yuzen patterns are the ones that look most like kimono fabric patterns and contain a lot of gold.  Chiyogami are traditionally more repetitive, with smaller scale repeating patterns that are excellent for utilitarian crafts (ie, wrapping tea canisters).

Here are some chiyogami images, taken from The Japanese Paper Place’s website.  The first block are quite modern patterns; the second block are more traditional (don’t stress about the ‘discontinued’ note–the JPP stocks over 1000 patterns and is constantly cycling in new ones and phasing out old ones, and can order anything a person needs, as I found out this past week!  Thanks Nancy!)

Some modern chiyogami

Some more-traditional chiyogami patterns

How can you not yearn to create with these papers?

I mean, the austere simplicity of kozo washi is a fine thing….  But look at these colors! 

So, to make a very long story (with nice pictures) short….  I am working on chiyogami jewelry this past couple of weeks.  And here it is.  Even Chiyogami Gem Pencils for Back to School!  They’re selling like hotcakes–especially the Chiyogami Gem Bracelet.

The Geometric Possibilities of Chiyogami

"All Our Efforts Must Tend Toward Light" inscribed on back

Chiyogami Gem Pencils

Sleek Modern Sterling silver dangle earrings

On a chunky Susan Kazmer Bezel

Chiyogami Gem Bracelet

Do you love paper art jewelry, washi paper beads, and origami jewelry, but hesitate to buy them because you’re afraid they won’t last?   No need to worry, if you buy from Paper Demon Jewelry.   At PDJ our biggest goal, aside from creating *beautiful* jewelry, is to create *lasting* jewelry.

I am hard on my jewelry.  I sleep in it, drop it into the bottom of my purse, squish it into suitcases…  so, I am determined to create and sell only jewelry that stands up to the abuse it would get at my own hands.

Shoji Chokers, New This Week at PDJ on Etsy.

Take the Shoji Chokers, new this week at our Etsy shop.  These are the product of years of experimentation (following on years of jewelry making and washi craft experience) to be as durable as any piece of jewelry you can buy.

The key is the polymer sealer.  It’s waterproof, so it protects the jewelry against the skin on one side, and against the elements on the other.

But since the polymer sealer can’t be applied directly to washi,  there are even more layers of other sealers underneath. It’s taken years to learn which sealers work, and in what order!    And before the sealers can be applied, the metal has to be prepped, and the washi adhered to it.   Our glue comes specially from Germany, and our sealers come from the Netherlands!  The whole process is a closely guarded PDJ trade secret!!

Right now we’re in the process of switching over to all-green sealers.  We’ll let you know how that turns out soon.

The great thing about all these layers is that each one deepens the colors of the washi and draws out its organic, fibery texture in different ways.  They also interact with the metal in interesting ways, sometimes oxidizing it, sometimes lightening it…  all part of the artistic process!

The end result, a lush, saturated, glossy jewel, glowing with color, feather light, and ready for any weather or wear.

Check them out at PDJ.

(I recommend that Paper Demon Jewelry paper art jewelry not be worn in the shower or swimming.  Chlorine, salt water, and things like that are not the friends of any fine jewelry.)

As I remarked earlier, who knew that the best place to buy Japanese paper in the northern hemisphere, outside of Japan, was the city of Toronto? And yet Toronto boasts not one, but two superb resources devoted to Japanese paper: The Japanese Paper Place, discussed in a previous post, and The Paper Place.

Today I want to talk about The Paper Place.  First off, check out this screen shot of it’s gorgeous website!!!

Screenshot, Website of The Paper Place

These people clearly love paper.  They get paper.  They get that for paper lovers it’s about the colors, and the textures and the patterns and the prints.  I love how their header has a kind of Hokusai wave of rainbow washi with its fibers all hanging out.

The Paper Place has been located at the same address for 20 years (887 Queen St. West, across from Trinity Bellwoods Park), but it used to be The Japanese Paper Place, ie, the wholesaler we introduced in our last post.  Apparently, and I’m not totally clear on the details (and folks from both places, you are welcome to comment with some history!) The Japanese Paper Place under founder Nancy Jacobi some years ago decided to devote itself to wholesaling Japanese paper and maintaining a warehouse resource center for conservators and artists, and handed over the retail side of things, along with the storefront, to The Paper Place.

From their mega-colorful washi-centric website, to their blog, to their workshops, to their inspiration page, to their online store, The Paper Place, as far as I can see, is just bubbling over with the sheer joy of Japanese paper.

Screenshot of The Paper Place Online Store

And lest you think it’s all about serious artwork (not that you would—does it look like it’s all about serious artwork?), they even carry those adorable Japanese paper animal balloons (I always buy a jellyfish when I’m in Japan).

Japanese Paper Animal Balloons

I am most taken with three things about The Paper Place.  The first thing is the sheer volume of Japanese papers, and the care with which they are clearly selected.  Take katazome-shi, for example.  Katazome-shi are traditional stenciled patterns of washi made using old kimono dying techniques, and are usually in very broad and bold color schemes and patterns that are very distinct and different from the layers of tiny pink plum blossoms, etc. that one normally sees in Japanese chiyogami.    They can be very hard to find outside of Japan.

Katazome-shi page

The Paper Place has no fewer than 12 pages of katazome-shi patterns, and even a cool page that explains how katazome shi are made (you should check it out).

Second, their blog features all kinds of cool washi-related art like the video of papercutting genius by Maurice Gee that I introduced last time, or for example, these cool washi paper dresses.

dresses made from washi!

And third, hello,  the graphic design?  Genius, sheer genius.  Who does it?  Can I get them to work for me?

There is only one downside to The Paper Place.  I don’t have such a good excuse for “needing” to go to Japan to buy paper anymore.

The Paper Demon is taking a brief break from her blog to finish the 125 necklaces that have to be shipped off  in the next week.    She’ll be back in a day or so with Part Two of her Japanese Paper, In Toronto? series on The Paper Place.

But meanwhile, she just discovered this wonderful origami artist, Lotus Tree Crafts, and wants to share!  Lotus Tree Crafts does beautiful things with origami, making amazing glass ornaments with tiny cranes inside.

Lotus Tree Crafts' Origami Crane Ornament

How cool!  What a perfect Christmas item!   Be sure and visit her store on Etsy and her blog.

Who knew that the best city to explore handmade Japanese washi paper, outside of Japan, was Toronto?   Turns out, Toronto is home to two amazing places dedicated entirely to Japanese washi paper: The Japanese Paper Place and The Paper Place.    In the next two blog posts I will introduce these two amazing resources.

Today:  Part One, The Japanese Paper Place.

The Japanese Paper Place  imports and distributes Japanese paper to retailers throughout North America.  But it’s much more than that.  The Japanese Paper Place is on a mission—to promote the use of washi paper in the arts and to disseminate knowledge and information about washi paper to artists, craftspeople, and designers around the world.

Bryan Kelley "the River" woodblock print on washi

Here’s what they have to say:

“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.”

"Snow Flower" Terhi Hursti

The people at The Japanese Paper Place love their artists!  In their gallery of washi art they write that the gallery is an expression of “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.”

detail, "Lilies" by Marilyn Lightstone, digital print on torinoko gampi

The Japanese Paper Place hosts amazing talks by washi paper artists, and sponsors exhibits, and even, I think, leads study tours to Japan to paper-making villages.  It also maintains an artist resource center of paper that is basically unobtainable outside of Japan for artists and designers to come and examine in person for their work.   Recently they published photos of golden washi “so rare and expensive that most people never get to see them”

Fused metallics Fusuma paper

As a person who has loved and worked in washi for 25 years now, I was thrilled to discover them.  I haven’t had a chance to visit them in Toronto yet but it’s great to know that I don’t have to go all the way to Japan for some of the best washi and washi information available (and it’s in English–that’s icing on the cake!).  What a resource!

The Paper Demon’s wonderful partner took the day off of work, so we spent the day at the river.

The Willamette River

‘The river’ is the Willamette River, which runs right through Eugene.  We took a walk through the Whilamut Natural Area (named for a Kalapuya word meaning “where the water ripples and runs fast.” )   And so it does.

With the temps in the 90s, I couldn’t keep my feet out of the cold crisp water!

Feet in the Willamette River

I love Eugene.


It’s all about the colors.   At Paper Demon Jewelry, we HAVE THE ABILITY!  The ability, that is, to make jewelry in the most eye-popping, mind-blowing colors on the planet.  Sure there are beads out there, and crystals, and felt, and resin, and many fine and colorful products.  But really, in the end, there is nothing that makes jewelry as SATURATED with color as paper.

And the funny thing is, it doesn’t have to be special handmade Japanese washi paper to do that.  Good old American crepe paper produces some of the richest, most saturated color tones possible, as long as it is treated right.  The trick with crepe paper is treating it right. It is a tempermental little beastie.

The Paper Demon scored a box of recycled crepe paper at MECCA awhile back, and I’ve been experimenting with it.  Here is my favorite item to date, just listed today in the Etsy store:  REDCOSMOS Spinning Sphere REcycled Paper Sculpture and Pearl Choker.

I love this piece.  I love the way the red is a fiery red. I love the organic shape of the spiral.  I love the freshwater pearls and how their lopsidedness mirrors the bead, and vice versa.  I love that it looks super cool on.

And I love the inspiration of this piece:  The Team Challenge of the Crafting in Color Team on Etsy, of which Paper Demon Jewelry is now a proud member!  This is, you know, kind of a big thing.    You see, jewelry makers can’t get onto the Crafting in Color Team, unless they request “special consideration” and prove to be, in the eyes of the administrators, “truly extraordinary.”  Well, who’s truly extraordinary now?  Hmm?  Oh yeah.  That’s right.

Crafting in Color is all about finding the most colorful, most color-forward, color-innovative, color-inspired artists on Etsy.   I like the sound of that.  Because at Paper Demon Jewelry, it’s all about the color.

Every jewelry-designer’s dream: to be the featured designer in the spectacular international jewelry blog, The Beading Gem’s Journal!

And lo, it has become reality for The Paper Demon!

The Paper Demon "On the Newsstands"!

How thrilling!

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