Grethe Wittrock: Heart Blood, 2003. Walhanging, dyed paper-yarn in 6 red colours/some lacquered, knotted on steelplate, 140 x 120 cm.
A very inspiring textile artist who has been working with paper yarns among other materials for years is Grethe Wittrock. I think her work shows the strength of the material especially in her wallhangings where single pieces of yarn that are fragile by themselves are combined to form bold statements.
Grethe Wittrock: Amulett I, 2007. Walhanging.
After an initial training as a weaver Grethe Wittrock travelled to Japan where she became fascinated by the Japanese paper tradition. She not only learned Japanese printing and paper making techniques but she also met a paper yarn spinner in Kyoto and took back a whole load of paper yarns to Denmark – I think this could be called fate.
Grete Wittrock and Ann Schmidt-Christensen: Kimono, 1993, Collection 1. The First Collection by Project Papermoon. Japanese paper-yarn handwoven in pique technique and point stitched. Kimono is a unique masterpiece from The Project Papermoon
Grete Wittrock and Ann Schmidt-Christensen: Jeune Couture Collection 1999. The Horse, 1999. Jeune Couture Collection by Project Papermoon. Japanese glass-paper-yarn handwoven in form and geometrically cut. Silkscreen printed.
1993 Grethe Wittwock and fashion designer Ann Schmidt-Christensen started The Project Papermoon resulting in fascinating pieces of clothing that shift between functional and purely aestectic objects. The pleating and folding of these garments bring to mind the creations of the Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake whom Grethe Wittrock also names as an artist who has influenced her work.
Grethe Wittrock: Lime Grass and Nordic Wind, 2007. Walhanging.
To learn about more about Grethe Wittrock I recommend to not only visit her website but to also read the interview with her that for some reason is called “Embroidery Article“.
Leaving through one of the great catalogues published by the Holland Paper Biennale I once again had to think about the work of Ivano Vitali at the Holland Paper Biennale 2008 where he also performed Live Paper Musiv in the CODA Museum in Apeldoorn. During the performance Vitali actually creates a kind of vest after tearing up newspaper, transforming it into thread and subsequenstly showing how he sews, knits and crochets with it.
A turning point in Vitalis artistic career was in 2002, when he decided to wear clothes made out of newspaper for his performances. Learning the necessary textile techniques from his mother, he started to transform pages into threads of every size. Headlines of newspapers stay visible thanks to his glue-less technique and therefore the pieces also document a moment in history.
Huge “string-balls” made out of different newspapers vary in colour and are ready to be knit with – the needles having the appropriate size, of course.
Boa (2005), made of yellow pages (“Pagine Gialle”)
Dress made out of the newspaper “La Gazzetta dllo Sport” (jacket: Rosasport (2004), Miniskirt (2004) and “bomb-on” (2006)
A lot of Vitalis work is also centered around the creation of elegant garments out of very fine paper yarn made of different, mainly Italian newspapers, unprinted newspaper paper or the yellow pages.
And there is more abstract work as well as performance videos on Ivano Vitali’s homepage – definitely a must-see for paper (yarn) lovers!
Jewelry (2009). Spun and woven hanji, persimmon, indigo, and clove dyes.
Out of inattention I called Korean handmade paper “Washi” in one of my posts… but luckily an expert did pay attention and pointed me not only to the right term (Hanji) but also to her great website with unique research on Korean paper making and paper weaving. After getting her MFA in Interdisciplinary Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College, Aimee Lee went to Korea for an extensive, one-year research of Hanji’s history, practice and further techniques it’s still in use for today.
I had seen videos of Japanese papermaking before but Aimee’s videos on Korean papermaking as well as her own attempts are documenting a slightly different process – and even differences between the methods employed by different masters.
As you can imagine I especially enjoy the information and documentation of making and weaving paper yarn in Korea. The picture above (a still out of one of the videos shows how master weaver Na Seo Hwan is about to make a chamber pot (yes, indeed)…
Round (2008). Handmade abaca paper, spun and knit.
But Aimee’s website is not only about traditional techniques and applications of Hanji but also about her own work incorporating her wide range of knowledge on paper and possibilities with paper.
Currency flight (2008). Price tags, thread, spun handmade paper, variable installation length
A lot to see and learn – thanks for sharing your knowledge, wonderful pictures and videos as well as your own work with everybody!
My stay in Italy was prolonged because I underestimated the cold weather and instead of travelling back to Vienna I had to stay in bed. At least I had time to think about what I want (besides good weather) and especially what I want for PaperPhine.
Lately I have been asked a couple of times if I also had handmade paper yarn made of newspaper – well, of course I do. I have been making and experimenting with handmade paper yarns out of Japanese and Korean Washi, Nepalese Lokta paper as well as Western industrial papers for years though I have never offered the yarn itself for sale. To make paper yarn by hand is a laborous process starting with choosing the right paper to work with (perfect sheets as equal as possible), cutting it concertina-like by hand, dampening it (but not too much!), finally the work at the spinning wheel, etc…
Handspun paper yarn out of “Eastern” handmade papers is quite tear-resistant due to the long mulberry and lokta fibres used. It has a wonderful textile feel to it, soft and warm. In regular intervals there are little thicker “nods” due to the cutting process – in a traditional woven “shifu”-garment made of paper yarn these nods are a sign for quality and are incorporated into the design.
Paper Yarn made of “Western” papers (e.g. newspaper) is more irregular and not as soft to the touch. But it has a very decorative effect to it and using a newspaper that is printed on a special day of the year (e.g. your birthday!) for one of your projects is an interesting and perhaps tought-provoking idea depending on what is made out of it.
My little shop on etsy and probably dawanda as well will be updated with corners (well, categories) dedicated to handspun paper yarns as soon as I’m back in Austria and back to fast internet connections…