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Island, Japan. That is when a seed was planted in my subconscious. A seed for a business in which I could share my love of Japanese paper culture back in the states.”

And that is what Lauren did! She founded Paper Connection International with the commitment of ensuring that the art of traditional papermaking is preserved for future generations. She stocks the largest variety of high quality hand-and machine-made Asian art papers in North America. “We strive to educate the local and international community about papermaking and the possibilities of the material, as well as supporting the contemporary artists who use paper in their practice and at the same time sustaining the livelihoods of the families who still practice this craft.”

Lauren and I both feel it is important to educate the community about the art of papermaking. “Like so many traditional art forms in the modern high-tech world, making paper by hand is no longer widely practiced, or an everyday part in the public conscience,” Lauren says. “Few artisans remain (in the East or West) who still possess the knowledge and skills to produce high-quality handmade paper. Therefore, I think it is very important to make sure this knowledge is transmitted and shared with future generations.”

What exactly does paper making entail? It is a lengthy detailed process that we will only briefly touch upon here. Lauren has a video that shows the process of papermaking, and a washi handbook for sale. She also sells handbound swatchbooks showing paper samples from all over Japan.

“The handmade papermaking process,” Pearlman explains, “involves the steaming, cleaning, cooking, rinsing, and of course, beating the plant fibers to a pulp. Sheet-forming is dipping a large fine screen into liquefied pulp. Then the excess pulp mixture is poured off. The pulp itself is made from plant fibers. The three main paper- making fibers are arekozo, or the Japanese silk mulberry, and two from the daphne family, gampi and mitsumata. What makes Japanese paper so strong and unique is

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that this process is repeated several times. Each dipping causes the plant fibers to intertwine which results in an extremely strong sheet that can be used for many purposes. The wet sheets are then pressed, dried and finally inspected to determine if they are market-ready.”

The paper-making process is amazing and seeing the final product is inspirational! The options are limitless, especially when you use your creativity. I encourage all artists to visit Paper Connection International (, educate yourself about quality paper and get your creative juices flowing. As Lauren says...

“if you can dream it you can make it with paper, especially if it’s a well-made paper.”

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