The artist, Barbara Harmer, lived in Japan for 7 years. During that time, she studied the art form called "Chigirie" (Chee-gee-ree-ay) This art form consists of tearing and cutting handmade Japanese paper into pieces to form a picture onto artist’s canvas.
Her paper is handmade and imported from Japan, and comes in many different weights, colors, and textures. Some paper has visible fibers that run throughout it, and some have holes forced through it during the pulp making process. This gives the appearance of lace, and is called "raindrop paper". Some of the paper is extremely soft and feels like fabric. In fact, it is so flexible that clothing has been made from it.
The only medium used is handmade paper, although some sea shells, coral fans or nets may be included, but they are always applied to handmade Japanese paper. At times, and before creating her picture, she dyes her paper with fabric or vegetable dye to create different effects, and in the past has used Sumi or gold ink, Although it has the look of watercolor, acrylic, or oil paint, no paint is used in creating the picture, thereby calling it "Painting With Paper". Although she has been concentrating on scenes from nature, recently,she has delved into abstract art, as she feels art should be appreciated in all it’s many forms.
Barbara has exhibited in numerous galleries in the Houston, Woodlands, Old Town Spring, Galveston, and Clear Lake, areas Her art is displayed and enjoyed in Texas, Florida, Connecticut, California, Puerto Rico, The Caribbean, and Japan.
I never realized that when I went to Japan for one year to teach English as a second language, that it would wind up being 7 years, and I would return home with a new passion of painting with paper What's that? It involves taking handmade Japanese paper and tearing and cutting it to create art, and is called "Chigirie" in Japanese. I use artist wrapped canvas, and the paper takes on the look of acrylic, oil, or watercolor paintings. I learned the Japanese technique, but because I changed it up a bit to reflect my own American taste, I continue to be self taught in this art form. I am truly "addicted" to beautiful handmade paper, and my studio reflects that with baskets filled with various and gorgeous colors, fibers, textures, and different weights of handmade papers. Everyday, I eagerly go into my studio with my artist's palette arranged in baskets before me, and get lost in the rainbow of colors, ready to fantasize my next creation.