My Inspiration for Starting Washi Arts

I started Washi Arts after being inspired by Nanci Jacobi of The Japanese Paper Place in Toronto, Canada.

My mother was an artist who loved Japanese design and craftsmanship, and traveled to Japan on a couple of occasions. She instilled in me early, a love for detail, packaging, presentation and the subtle beauty of well made materials.

I grew up near Toronto, and when in college my Mother and I would often visit a Japanese paper store together — the one founded by Nancy Jacobi in 1982. It was small but well stocked with papers and artisan goods I’d never imagined before. They were memorable visits.

Many, many years passed, and I moved to the United States and had a career involved in design and marketing, and eventually the book arts. During a visit to Strasbourg France, I visited a stationery store and saw the display window was filled with packages of Japanese paper from the Japanese Paper Place! When I next visited Toronto I contacted Nancy Jacobi to remember myself to her, and compliment her on the apparent expansion of her small Toronto based store to a company with global reach.

I was very inspired by her story, the growth of the Japanese Paper Place retail store to a global wholesale distributor of washi, and her passion for the artistic uses of heritage washi. I was at a transition point in my life and career — was open to her suggestion that I get involved with marketing and selling washi on the west coast of the United States.

Nancy Jacobi has become my Japanese paper mentor and has set me on an exciting path to share the unique qualities of Japanese papers, tools and supplies with artists, conservators, printers, designers and artisans. I am proud to represent the papermakers of Japan in the United States and beyond. I have benefited greatly from her forty years of experience as a merchant of decorative Japanese papers and heritage washi.

I now have a growing business focused on Japanese papers, and sell online, at trade shows and conferences. I teach and make presentations at Universities and for professional associations, and offer special trunk shows and events for artists to discover the unique qualities of washi.