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Thursday, May 31 • 2:00pm - 2:30pm
(Book and Paper) Washi: Understanding Japanese paper as a material of culture and conservation

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Washi, or Japanese paper, is both a material of cultural heritage and a material used ubiquitously in conservation. Long before it became an amazing conservation material, washi had specific purposes tied to Japanese culture. Japanese papermaking is a historical craft that has experienced significant changes in the past few decades. Sadly, not all changes are for the better—the number of papermakers is dwindling and certain types of washi have become extinct due to closure of papermaking mills responding to various pressures. The accelerated changes in the world of washi compounded by potential language barriers for conservators who are not fluent in Japanese make it difficult for conservators to be certain of how these changes might be affecting washi used for treatment.  Seminal research has been conducted in the past about Japanese papermaking materials and techniques as well as technical analysis of handmade and machine made washi to determine its most appropriate use in conservation. However, these references may not be current enough for conservators to assess papers made in modern times.
By maintaining a current understanding of the history and process of Japanese papers we are respecting washi as both an object of cultural importance and as a conservation material that we use so commonly. This presentation seeks to review the history and technical process of Japanese papermaking. It will look at the methods and techniques of the papermakers represented by Hiromi Paper Inc., as well as some of the toolmakers, and raw materials involved in the papermaking process. Related conservation research published to date will be covered, and methods of extracting information through visual examination of washi for practical applications in conservation will be discussed.

avatar for Brook Prestowitz

Brook Prestowitz

Conservator, Williamstown Art Conservation Center
In her role as National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, Brook Prestowitz prepares condition reports, treatment estimates, and proposals, and she carries out conservation treatment for works of art on paper and archival materials.Brook received her BA from the University of Delware... Read More →


Yuki Katayama

Director, Hiromi Paper Inc.
Yuki works for the California based Hiromi Paper Inc., the primary US importer of fine art Japanese papers for art and conservation. Their papers are used by notable artists, craftsmen, and conservators throughout the US. She helps to supply quality papers and other related materials... Read More →

Thursday May 31, 2018 2:00pm - 2:30pm MDT
Texas Ballroom D Marriott Marquis Houston
  6. Specialty Session, Book and Paper