Tangled Up In Blue

A progress report on Decorating Paper, the next title in Barbara & Claudia's ongoing exploration of paper, color and decoration:

"Always looking for a way to justify an indigo workday, the paper decorators embarked on a shibori (tie-dye) project, using a variety of Japanese papers, including Usu Kuchi, Kiraku kozo, Gampi, Mingeishi Awagami Kozo and Sekishu. The papers were first coated on both sides with konnyaku, a starch made from the root of the arum, devil’s tongue. Konnyaku toughens paper and is essential in the making of traditional Japanese crinkled papers.

"When the konnyaku had dried, the paper was dampened, then gathered into puckers and tied. The tied parcels were dyed in indigo, left in the air and sunlight to oxydize (a necessary step in turning from indigo “green” to blue), then rinsed and redyed when necessary to deepen the blue. They were then untied, re-rinsed and dried and flattened. The konnyaku stiffened paper resisted pressing under weight and needed to be ironed flat.

 "The resulting shibori sheets are flexible and strong with an attractive texture."

Decorating Paper will be a publication that exceeds even Cutting Paper in scope, format and content. Work on assembling the vintage, and making the original papers that will be collected in the two-volume set has been going on for the past year, along with researching and writing the text. We're now getting ready to start printing (i.e. some time this fall), making final revisions to the content and design. First through the press will be a prospectus, to be issued by mid-fall.