Takahiko Hayashi Works on Gampi Paper · Froelick Gallery Exhibit

From Froelick Gallery – In Takahiko Hayashi's new show, in a swirl of many, many small circles, he presents minutely detailed vortices of blue ink pen strokes, spinning coronas of stellar forms and cyclonic clouds of fine hatched lines that suggest celestial bodies or stormy oceans. Building mark upon mark, his ink glimmers with saturation. Within these maelstroms are tiny perforations in the paper surface, encircled with drips of white or bright green paint- these tiny eruptions forming slight topographic features on the surface of his fibrous, thin-but-strong gampi paper.

Drawing  Ink on paper    16.5 x 11 in This unique drawing is on Gampi paper. The overall paper measures 21.5 x 15.5 inches.

Drawing Ink on paper  
16.5 x 11 in This unique drawing is on Gampi paper. The overall paper measures 21.5 x 15.5 inches.

About Takahiko Hayashi

Born in Japan, Takahiko Hayashi received his BFA in Oil Painting from Musashino Art University in 1985 and his MFA in Printmaking from Tokyo National University of Arts in 1987, both in Japan. Hayashi's work has been exhibited in over 140 solo shows around the world since 1985, as well as an impressive number of group exhibitions. Hayahshi's work is featured in the collections of: the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Australia, Kurobe City Museum of Art in Japan, Los Angeles Musum of Art in California, the Museum of Modern Art in Japan, and more. (From Froelick Gallery)

Drawing  Ink on paper    16.5 x 11 in This unique drawing is on Gampi paper. The overall paper measures 21.5 x 15.5 inches.

Drawing Ink on paper  
16.5 x 11 in This unique drawing is on Gampi paper. The overall paper measures 21.5 x 15.5 inches.

About Froelick Gallery

Froelick Gallery exhibits and represents contemporary artists with strong and independent voices. Many of their artists live in the Pacific Northwest, others live in the Gulf Coast, Brooklyn, and Tokyo. Their works include many media, encompass many genre, and their careers range from emerging to established.

Drawing  Ink on paper    16.5 x 11 in This unique drawing is on Gampi paper. The overall paper measures 21.5 x 15.5 inches.

Drawing Ink on paper  
16.5 x 11 in This unique drawing is on Gampi paper. The overall paper measures 21.5 x 15.5 inches.


About Gampi Paper

Gampi is made from the inner bark of the gampi bush which must be obtained in the wild. Japanese gampi is very shiny even after being formed into paper. Gampi is favoured by artists who want tone and a luminous surface for all types of printing, calligraphy, collage, and drawing. Gampi papers have natural sizing, restricting the amount of bleed when written or painted on.

Drawing Ink on paper  
16.5 x 11 in This unique drawing is on Gampi paper. The overall paper measures 21.5 x 15.5 inches.

To view a selection of Washi Arts gampi paper to create your own unique works, click here.

What is Washi?

Washi is the Japanese word for the traditional papers made from the long inner fibres of three plants. Wa meaning Japanese and shi meaning paper.

Though paper was originally made in China in the first century, the art was brought to Japan in 610 AD by Buddhist monks who produced it for writing sutras.

By the year 800, Japan's skill in papermaking was unrivalled, and from these ancient beginnings have come papers unbelievable in their range of colour, texture and design.

It was not until the 13th century that knowledge of papermaking reached Europe - 600 years after the Japanese had begun to produce it.

By the late 1800's, there were in Japan more than 100,000 families making paper by hand. Then with the introduction from Europe of mechanized papermaking technology and as things "Western" became sought after including curtains (not shoji) and French printmaking papers (not kozo), production declined until by 1983 only 479 papermaking families were left. Today the few remaining families struggle to compete in the world market with handmade papers from India, Thailand and Nepal, where a lower cost of living makes it possible to produce papers more cheaply.

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Materials

The inner barks of three plants — kozo, mitsumata and gampi — all native to Japan, are used primarily in the making washi.

Kozo (paper mulberry) is said to be the masculine element, the protector, thick and strong. It is the most widely used fibre, and the strongest. It is grown as a farm crop, and regenerates annually, so no forests are depleted in the process.

Mitsumata is the "feminine element": graceful, delicate, soft and modest. Mitsumata takes longer to grow and is thus a more expensive paper. It is indigenous to Japan and is also grown as a crop.

Gampi was the earliest and is considered to be the noblest fibre, noted for its richness, dignity and longevity. It has an exquisite natural sheen, and is often made into very thin tissues used in book conservation and chine-collé printmaking. Gampi has a natural 'sized' finish which does not bleed when written or painted on.

Other fibres such as hemp, abaca, rayon, horsehair, and silver or gold foil are some-times used for paper or mixed in with the other fibres for decorative effect.


Methods of Production

Branches of the (kozo, gampi or mitsumata) bush are trimmed, soaked, the bark removed, and the tough pliant inner bark laboriously separated, cleaned, then pounded and stretched.

The addition of the pounded fibre to a liquid solution, combined with tororo-aoi (fermented hibiscus root) as a mucilage, produces a paste-like substance when it is mixed.

It is this "paste" which is tossed until evenly spread on a bamboo mesh screen (called a su) to form each sheet of paper. The sheets are piled up wet, and later laid out to dry on wood in the sun or indoors on a heated dryer.


Washi

As Japan rushes with the rest of the world into the 21st Century, and more modern technologies take over, machines produce similar-looking papers which have qualities very different from authentic washi. As of the fall of 2008, there remained fewer than 350 families still engaged in the production of paper by hand.