Make the perfect Origamido® custom handmade papers for your origami fine art.
Schedule a custom papermaking session with us in Haverhill, Massachusetts.
The great master, Akira Yoshizawa, once said about origami, “The folds are the bones; the paper is the flesh.” Imagine being able to make the perfect paper for your origami. Since 1975, at age 16, Michael LaFosse has been folding his original models from his own custom handmade papers. It has become a lifelong pleasure and an essential part of his creative work in origami. Since 1988 Richard Alexander and Michael have collaborated with other artists at their Origamido Studio to do the same. This breadth of experience makes them uniquely qualified to help you formulate and make the best paper for your origami.
Origamido can help you produce a batch of paper of desired strength, texture, thickness, and color. Select high-quality plant fibers including: premium abaca, hemp, kozo, gampi, flax, cotton linters or rag, and others. Learn how to process any of these fibers for your needs, and blend, pigment, and form sheets of paper by hand. Artist-quality colorants (mostly inorganic pigments) produce papers as colorfast as possible. Using two vats to form sheets allows you to choose and blend two colors. Introducing iridescent mica adds “life” to your paper whether your subjects are insects, flowers, aquatic creatures, or birds. Mica additions may be as subtle or as bold as you like – especially effective under bright lights in a gallery or on when on public display.
Up to three artists may share a workshop session, and all the sheets you form that day. On the second day of our three-day process, plan on arriving at 9 a.m. to pull sheets from the vats until about 4 p.m., then help press and move the sheets into the drying box so your paper will be ready the next morning. If you are staying in the area, you may take it with you (or we mail it to you). Our custom papermaking session is still only $500.00US plus expendable materials (budget approximately $50 more).
What is Origamido® paper?
Any custom paper formulated and made at the Origamido Studio carries the exclusive Origamido® registered brand. Co-founders Michael LaFosse & Richard Alexander have been working with origami artists for decades, making custom papers to produce long-lasting, unique, and exceptional examples of exhibition-quality origami art. Origami often requires paper with special characteristics and qualities. At Origamido we develop special recipes and techniques for special works by us and other talented folders. Strong, supple blends of fibers allow the paper to be worked and reworked without typical paper fatigue or failure. Whether thick, or exceptionally thin, it is said that Origamido® papers are as responsive to the touch as is a fine musical instrument.
Origamido® papers may be folded dry, or wet-folded, depending upon the model. We feel the best qualities are realized when it is “back-coated”–pasting two or more sheets together, back to back, with methyl cellulose (MC) to make two-color, or even thicker sheets–and then wet-folded. “Live paste” techniques (folding with freshly applied MC) work well, due to Origamido® paper’s excellent wet strength.
Purchasing our paper
Origamido® paper is primarily custom made for our original origami sculptures. During production we often “bracket” the variables of color and thickness within a batch, producing more paper than we need. This is the paper that we offer for sale, and since each sheet is different, customers need to see and touch the paper before buying. Therefore, we only offer Origamido® paper for sale in person.
Tuition and fees:
Tuition for our Origamido® Papermaking Workshop is still only $500US. There is an additional materials fee of about $50US. (Special fibers and pigments may cost more.) You may invite one or two others to share the fees and papers you make, but we no longer have room for larger groups.
The entire papermaking process takes us three days, but you need only spend one full day here. Bring old clothes and sneakers, and plan on getting wet. The first day of prep we do ourselves: setting up the vats, felts, and beating the first batch of pulp. We will be ready for you to color the beaten pulp and begin forming sheets soon after you arrive.
Most students make two colors of paper, since we can set up two vats of pulp. This allows you to make some “duo” papers. Most enjoy mixing colors to produce a cline of hues, but with less mixing, you can produce interesting and wacky papers. The most popular paper size is 16” by 20”. We can make other sizes, but the larger the sheets, the lower the yield. Your paper needs to dry overnight. If you can’t be present on the third day, we will mail it to you.