Collage with Washi

Washi is an ideal material to use with collage: the variety of textures, surfaces, absorbencies and levels of translucence available provide a wide vocabulary to work with. The broad range of textures, colors and patterns of the paper, and its wet strength, make washi a highly appropriate material for collage. Chiri papers, with their bark fragments and chiyogami are favorites for collage though all washi is suitable. In recent years, artists often paint watercolor over richly collaged "canvases."

Tips and Things to Consider

· washi absorbs media well: customize your own paper colours by staining with watercolour, inks, fluid acrylics

· most hand and machine made papers alike take well to being pasted with a variety of adhesives

· best adhesive to use for simple pasting is either rice paste or wheat starch paste (jin shofu) especially on thinner papers

· try using acrylic medium as an adhesive when painting over your collage with more acrylic paints

· use prints or drawings on washi that didn't work out to tear & cut up & use in your collage

· white lacey watermark tissues stain well and can add subtle layers of texture

· plain papers thick or thin are malleable and so can be wrinkled or crumpled to add physical texture

· tear washi when wet to get long-fibred "deckle" effect

· obscure or veil elements of the work by pasting a layer of thin washi over top: use this technique to cover "mistakes" or to tone down bold marks

Paper Suggestions

A heavier base layer minimizes warp: use
Etchu card

If a heavier base is desired, a western watercolor paper of 200 lb or more

White Watermark Tissues come in a variety of lacy patterns wonderful for layering and they take color very well (click here for information on this paper)

Ginwashi Tissue has inclusions of crisp manila hemp fibre which absorb colour in different degrees for a lovely mottled effect (click here for information on this paper)

Chiri papers with their bark inclusions are marvelous for landscape-based work: try
Kinari Chiri  ·  thin tissue  (click here for information on this paper)
Mutsu  ·  opaque  (click here for information on this paper)

Unryu tissues in a variety of weights are perennial favourites for their 'feathery' fibres

Artists Using Washi in Collage

Gerald Brommer

Jill Segal


Image courtesty of The Japanese Paper Place  ·  Artist Sebastian Canovas  ·  Title Back to the Great Temple   ·  Acrylic + collage with various washi


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