It would have been the worst birthday ever, if it wasn’t for the Japanese Paper Place.
I was leaving that afternoon for a trip to Germany and was scrambling to get my life organized. En route to meeting Nancy and Sigrid at the Japanese Paper Place, I lost my cell phone on the bus. Thinking that I couldn’t possibly be more flustered, I climbed up the stairs into a loft of calm and incredible paper.
Nancy Jacobi is the owner of the company, and is a tremendous fan of Peggy Baker’s. Thanks to a mutual friend in Brian Kelley, Nancy made a very generous donation of Seichosen Kozo paper to Peggy Baker Dance Projects which enabled me to write the complete scores for Sanctum and Yang on this beautiful paper.
Nancy told me some great stories about the family who produces this particular paper, and insisted that I borrow a photograph of their home on a Japanese mountain to show to Peggy. Nancy’s colleague Sigrid, whose interest lies in “non-representational writing” was very curious to learn more about notation, which is in fact the exact opposite! I was very touched by the passion these two ladies shared for any art that can be created using their products, which are, in fact, art on their own.
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I was also amazed by what care Nancy and Sigrid took in helping me select the Seichosen Kozo paper, bringing out numerous samples of various papers and asking questions about my writing tools, the layout of the score pages, and even the content of the choreographic piece. The result is a semi-transparent, off-white paper that shows the grain of the wood on which the paper is made. Each page is slightly different and has an edge finished
with an uneven tear, as if it is going up into flames.
When I later visited the company’s retail location on Queen Street (The Paper Place) to purchase some suitable book binding paper for the score covers, I found out from one of the sales associates that Seichosen Kozo is “her” paper on which she does all of her artwork. “It’s an expensive love affair!” she laughed, “but I am absolutely loyal.”