Chinese Brushwork

Excellent Chinese painting workshop with Chun Chao Chiu in Northumbria Paper studio, the room wonderfully named as a ‘paper hatchery’.  It led to two contemplative mornings working with the sense of purposeful craft associated with this painting tradition.  In the first workshop I imagined a series of smoke streams that linked to the last drawing workshop in October. The 2nd part of the workshop was centred around the ‘mounting’ of the original Kozo mulberry paper with a second backing layer with a starch glue.  The glue was made from wheat starch, cooked, thickened and manipulated into a paste and then thinned to make a light glue.  I was struck by the organic nature of all the materials, lack of bleaches and chemicals, plastics or additives of any sort.  This included the tools and raw materials.  There is a big contrast with the western production of white paper, chipboard or photo paper. I wondered if this paper could withstand a cyanotype or other wet chemical photographic process.

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