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:









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:

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

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.

We had to go out an learn how to make more!  Silk paper, that is!  In an impromptu lesson by renowned basketry and fiber artist Donna Sakamoto Crispin, who lives in Eugene.

Cloud Series: Earth by Donna Sakamoto Crispin

I knew of Donna’s work from exploring fiber artists in Oregon, and got in touch to talk about maybe using her bamboo paper in my jewelry.  She generously invited me to her house, and when I arrived, even more generously gave me a lesson in making my own silk fiber paper!

I had never even heard of silk paper before, but one look at the glorious colors of the silk fibers and I was instantly hooked.

silk fiber from Woodland Woolworks

Best of all, the fabulous fibers above are actually RECYCLED!  They are leftovers from the silk sari industry!  How cool is that? Find them at Donna’s recommended source right up the street in Salem Oregon:  Woodland Woolworks

Here’s what I made: two pieces of silk paper, one in pink and green, the other in blue and green.

My first silk paper

I can’t wait to do more.

Driving home I kept playing with it, imagining all the cool possibilities for jewelry.  Scrunched up it makes an interesting organic plant-like shape.

Silk paper and sterling silver pendant

How lucky I feel to live in a town filled with such extraordinary artists.  And in a town where artists are so willing to generously share their knowledge.  Thank you Donna!

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!

Re-Use is the New Recycle!  That is the motto of Next Step Recycling, a leader in the reuse movement in Eugene, and the motivation behind their second annual Eugene ReArt Festival , coming up August 6.  The ReArt Festival is an awesome arts and crafts festival devoted entirely to recycled art.  Everything at the festival needs to be at least 75% made of recycled materials.  And by recycled, they mean, actually destined for the trash heap.

Since the Paper Demon is going to have a booth there, she needs to get her act together and start pumping out recycled jewelry!

She had a plan but needed materials.  So, today wonderful partner and I took a trip to MECCA (where else), and I got everything I needed.  I came home and created a beautiful piece of jewelry in almost no time at all.

100% Recycled Paper Art Pendant

I don’t have time to post a tutorial right now, because I also need to create 75 of these for swag bags at a Green Beauty event in San Diego next month.  But I’m going to share my photos of the process in the hopes they inspire someone else to grab something really really old and ugly, cut it apart, repurpose it, and transform it into something beautiful.

A skanky cable bundle and a bread bag full of paper scraps

Noticing the nice soft wire inside the skanky cable bundle

Use a mat knife to cut open and remove the rubber cable cover

unwinding some of the wire

shape and hammer flat a beautiful shape. For me, it's spirals. I burnished for shine.

Attach paper scraps

coat with gel medium. let it dry. Appreciate.

hang on recycled cord. Voila!

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.

The Paper Demon is busy this summer!  Besides opening up at 5th Street Market, we’ll be at all of these upcoming art festivals and markets!  You’ll be able to check out our Stained Glass Washi Jewelry, Origami Jewelry, and DIY Origami Earrings and Origami Ornaments Kits!

If you’re in Oregon, drop by and say hi!

Blackberry Jam, Lowell, OR: 7/23-25
Meet your Maker Indie Craft Show, Eugene, OR: 7/30
Eugene Obon Festival, Eugene, OR: 7/31
ReArt Festival, Eugene, OR: 8/8 (10 AM-6 PM)
Eugene Hiroshima and Nagasaki Commemoration, Eugene, OR: 8/8 (7 PM-9 PM)
Northwest Art and Air Festival, Albany, OR: 8/27-29

A photo of the wonderful Eugene Obon Festival!

Taiko Drumming at the Eugene Obon Festival

And the Northwest Art and Air Festival.

Northwest Art and Air Festival in Albany, OR

I’ve been making jewelry like mad, trying to get ready for the opening of Eugene’s 5th Street Market Artisan’s Market.   It’s supposed to open in July, so they say, and I need inventory!   Bit by bit, it’s making it onto the Paper Demon Etsy store too.

I am still obsessed with washi and wire!  But now I’m exploring solid colors.

Solid blues and whites:

LoveBubbles Robin’s Egg Blue

Gradations of orange:

YuzuCocktail Washi and Copper Choker

Contrasts of deep jewel tones like purple, orange and green.

LuciousFruits Washi and Copper Wire Earrings
LuciousFruits Washi and Copper Wire Earrings

And contrasts of the palest blues and greens:

AfterTheRain Choker

It’s so vivid!  Where else can you find jewely in colors like this?   Sure, you can find swarovski crystals in every color of the rainbow.  But that’s all about the glitz (nothing wrong with the glitz, I’m just sayin’).  My biggest problem–i can’t make them fast enough to try out all the colors I want!

One of the shocks of life as a jewelry-maker was realizing that only about 25% of my time is spent actually making jewelry.  The other 75% is spent promoting, marketing, and selling that jewelry.  Selling at markets is something I know about and love.  But promoting and marketing, and selling online–well, that’s another story.   Who knew I needed to learn to write ad copy?  To do macro photography?  To do graphic design?

My latest new skill is designing banners for my Etsy store and Paper Demon Jewelry blog.  I’ve been through quite a few so far!   I find it’s a lot like cooking eggs.  It’s not hard to make banners.  But it’s immensely hard to make them well.

The main challenge of it is, the banner has to sum up your brand.  And what is the Paper Demon brand?   It’s about paper.  It’s about color.  It’s about modern, and organic.  It’s about Japan, of course, but not in an obvious way–it’s about capturing the ineffable style of the best of Japanese design—design that brings fine traditional craftsmanship into the realm of the ultra-modern, and vice versa.

The banner shall feature washi paper–that much I know.

Here’s the second one I designed (can’t find a copy of #1).  I had to learn Photoshop for this.  It was hard!  I didn’t know how to edit it once it was designed, so I just kept re-creating it over and over and over.  My partner’s mac ended up with 21 copies on the desktop (whoops).  I think it’s quite nice, actually. Gets the organic, and the modern, but a bit sedate.  After all, Paper Demon is about COLOR!

This is the third one. This one gets the color.  But doesn’t have much movement in it.

This is #4.   I like the mod vertical theme.  But the resolution is too low.  And, really, pink and blue? I don’t think so.

Here is #5.  I have to say, I REALLY liked this.  But it was a bit heavy on the pinks and purples.  That didn’t seem quite right with the brand.

So i warmified the tone.


(At least for now. )