Wednesday, September 29, 2010
the french connection
A few days ago I received some mailart from @yun of France, who interacts actively with us on this blog. Enclosed with the card were two blank sheets of 45-gram-weight washi paper that appeared to be the right dimensions for hanshi, which is what we call the thin-ish washi sheets used for calligraphy practice.
Yun asked me to test the paper to see if it was a suitable substitute for the kind of washi cards I have recommended for etegami use. It seems she is able to find sumi ink, gansai paints, and traditional Japanese writing brushes in France, but not washi cards. So she had the idea of gluing washi paper to stiff cards cut out of cereal boxes. I tried out her idea.
I used the traditional Japanese writing and coloring brushes to paint the first two etegami (photo at the top), without first gluing them to a stiff back. I was happy with the way the sumi spread on the paper. The gansai paint also went on adequately, with a good amount of nijimi (bleed), but it tended to seep through the thin paper and wet the surface beneath. If I hadn't been careful, the pool of paint that collected beneath the paper would have stained the uncolored parts of the etegami as well. Fortunately, this didn't happen. After the etegami were dry, I glued them to cards cut from the back of a taco shell box. The washi paper tended to wrinkle as I glued it to the stiffer surface, but I managed to spread it flat enough that the wrinkles aren't too obvious.
Next, I tested it with the bamboo quill pen, but I thought it would work better if I glued the paper to a stiff back first. This worked great! (photo below) I was more careful with the colors this time, so there was no serious seepage. My conclusion is that this method works very well as a substitute for washi postcards. NOTE: Paint on the rough side of the washi sheet, not the smooth side.
Thanks, Yun! Yun also sent me a vibrant octopus etegami she had made, using the same washi paper glued to a stiff backing. I've posted it on the mailart gallery blog, so be sure to take a look.