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. The term “rice paper” is really a misnomer, the paper has nothing to do with rice.
The range of Japanese papers that The Japanese Paper Place ships around the world is vast. With so many Japanese papers to choose from, how do you to decide what’s best for encaustic monotype printmaking?
What to look for when selecting Washi for Encaustic Monotype printmaking
What you will look for in a Japanese paper depends on the end result you are wanting to achieve.
When printing on paper with encaustic the paper you choose plays an important role in the overall effect of the print. You’ll rarely want to completely cover washi with wax, in order to create a dialogue with the paper, letting its beauty, subtle texture, or colour play a role.
If you want the wax to be well absorbed into the paper to give rich colour but still with clearly defined outlines, choose a semi-absorbent smooth paper.
- Ogawa kozo mix,
- kitakata classic,
- sekishu tsuru (kozo)
- kozuke – a machine-made sized paper in white or ivory, in 2 weights
Coloured or Textured Papers
To emphasize mood (e.g. sunny) or theme (e.g. nature) or tone (e.g. warm), you can choose from a wide variety of coloured and lightly textured papers.
- tatami (in natural, light yellow, blue, green),
- Moriki kozo,
- kawairi chiri (chiri refers to papers with bits of dark bark floating in them),
- gampi smooth (very light chiri fleks and warm tone)
Thin Translucent Papers
For a lovely feeling of lightness in the print, select very thin translucent kozo papers, especially handmade ones less than 25g which will have the greatest strength and a subtle beautiful surface. They will also absorb the colour more intensely.
Handmade Washi Suggestions:
- Tosa usushi,
- Oguni snowbleached 18g,
- Yame kozo hadaura,
- Fukunishi kozo 25g
Budget paper choices
- usu kuchi light or heavy,
- Gettoh text,
- papers for sumi-e and shodo brush painting,
- kozuke white or ivory in 2 weights
Two sides to Japanese Paper
It bears noting that there are two sides to Japanese paper – one a little rough as the side that is brushed onto the dryer, and a smoother side which has been dried on a flat surface. Most artists would choose the smooth side for a clearer result in printing but the choice is up to the individual.
Working on both sides of a Print
Additional surface embellishment and spot printing may be added working on both sides of the paper.
Buying Japanese Paper
You’ll want to experiment with a variety of papers to find your favourites for encaustic monoprinting.
At The Japanese Paper Place we partner with resellers across the globe to make fine Japanese papers available locally throughout the world. We encourage you to contact a local reseller for your Japanese paper needs. Resellers are listed on our website https://www.japanesepaperplace.com/.
In the US you can order any quantity of our papers online through washiarts.com
5 thoughts on “Selecting Japanese paper for Encaustic Monoprinting”
Thank you! This really does clarify things for me and I am out to try a few pieces of paper in my encaustic painting. I have searched through your links and gained so much knowledge.
Is it possible to find KOZO Chiri “rice” or similar paper in a 45″ (or close) width in a roll? We need two pieces 45″ x 60″.
Jonas, the widest Japanese paper we carry at The Japanese Paper Place is 39″, and we have many variations with this width and a length of 6 feet to 200 feet. https://www.japanesepaperplace.com/ (online catalogue)
Thank you for simplifying this information & making recommendations for paper types to use with encaustic!
Thanks Brenda! It is all about respecting the Japanese paper when you choose it and not burying the surface. In many cases it has been made by skilled craftspeople in a culture where everything matters.