10 August 2012

Chiyogami Paper

A notepad folio from our bindery, covered in Japanese Chiyogami paper
At our bindery, we use some of the finest papers made in the world today.  One of these beautiful materials is known as Chiyogami, a hand silk-screened paper made in Japan. The word Chiyogami is a combination of two words: chiyo, or, thousand generations, and gami, paper.  Amazingly, this paper has been made in Japan for hundreds of years, first appearing in the Edo period, from 1603-1868, when Japan was ruled by the shoguns of the Tokugawa family.  It was an era deeply invested in environmental protection and the creation and popular enjoyment of arts and culture. Today, these papers are still made with the highest regard fro craftsmanship by a collection of small, family-run studios in Japan. They are expensive to use, but when one considers the quality of design and fabrication, and the importance of sustaining this historic, centuries-old tradition, they're worth every penny.
Japanese Waves Chiyogami

The many thousands of beautiful patterns of chiyogami paper were inspired by traditional kimono patterns which incorporate naturalistic and geometric forms representing beauty, long life and good fortune. The fabrication process has evolved through the generations, but is still a laborious process relying on the expertise of highly skilled craftspeople.  Originally printed by woodblock, these papers are now hand silk-screened using a mixture of sulphite and kozo. For each color and pattern layer in the complex chiyogami patterns, a new screen must be hand-registered, printed and dried. 

Blue Mum Chiyogami

Mint Japanese Chiyogami

It is a paper of incredible quality and durability, making it perfect for use in bookbinding and other paper goods. Perhaps with a renewed interest in beautifully made materials and in handmade goods in general, we can resuscitate some of the Edo period principles for our own time. A deep investment in environmental protection and the popular enjoyment of the fine and decorative arts seems more critical than ever.
A Traveller's Picture Frame by Parvum Opus, with Mint Japanese Chiyogami and red Italian book cloth

If you'd like to see more examples of our desk accessories using Chiyogami paper, we invite you to visit:  http://www.parvumopus.com or email us at info@parvumopus.com.

To see a wide selection of Chiyogami paper designs, I cheerfully recommend Paper Mojo, a fantastic online supplier of fine decorative papers: 

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