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!!!
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.