I was thrilled to find that some art supply stores in New York City actually has some of the products of Awagami Factory, a washi paper manufacturer, based in Tokushima, Japan. Mohachi Fujimori started making washi as a side business in 1825, and the business later developed and became Awagami Factory. It has been operating on the knowledge and paper-making skills of eight generations of the Fujimori family. This manufacturer is also supportive of artists and holds paper making workshops and hosts an art residency program (the 2017 residency Information will be announced this June, if you’re interested!)
I picked Take-washi 竹和紙, Awagami Bamboo Paper (110g), because it seemed to be the most environmentally friendly option among their available products in NYC (putting aside the worry of ecological footprints of import / transportation...) It is 100% acid free and its fabrication process employs no fluorescent bleaching. It is made of 70% bamboo, which is a renewable material, and 30% recycled paper waste from their own paper mill. They also have Bamboo paper for digital printing.
I am testing this paper to see how well it works for me by making the piece that is depicted in the images that accompany in this article. The paper’s intended use is printmaking, not paper cut. When I cut it, it feels to me that the fibers of this paper is probably quite short and soft, so it’s easy to tear. However, this won’t be an issue if you keep your blade sharp all the time while you work with this paper. I prefer a slightly harder touch when I cut, but this comes down to personal preference, and I love the fact that this paper is made with sustainable materials.
I haven’t seen any Japanese paper manufacturer mentioning their energy source yet, including Awagami, but this is because currently there aren’t real alternative choices available in Japan. I hope this will change in near future.
To read more about Awagami Factory’s paper making process and their history, visit their website at http://www.awagami.com
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