I discovered the paper Hosho Select in the Hove art shop well known to us locals as “Lawrences”. They have a display of the Awagami papers there, and you can see the surface quality, transparency and colour of each paper before buying.
For the uninitiated, Awagami Papers are made in Tokushima, Japan and are produced by hand using natural and renewable plant resources. It’s an impressive fact that the Fujimori family who run the Awagami Factory have been making paper for 6 generations. You can read more about them here; https://awagami.com
I was drawn to the particular paper named “Hosho Select” and have been using it ever since. The back of the paper is slightly textured and reveals its fibrous nature, but run your fingertips over the printing surface of the paper you feel the most amazing sensation as if brushing against silk. It is this extreme smoothness that makes it such a good printing paper – not a fraction of its surface is going to miss the plate.
I have experimented with other papers from the Agwami range and I must admit all of them are beautiful in their own unique ways. Hosho Select remains my favourite. It has a particular thickness with makes it just right for printing with a barren as I do. Thicker papers require more elbow-grease than I am capable of to get a good print! The gentle off-white tone is perfect for me too, as the colour palette I create with my inks is very specific and a coloured paper could throw the design completely.
Finally, the fact that each sheet has been made by hand on the other side of the world is an inspiring thought. I feel connected to makers and creators even though far away, and this connection is empowering in itself.