Gampi Paper

Featured Decorative Paper

Traditional Handmade Gampi Papers

While Gampi is one of the 3 traditional plant sources used to make Japanese washi paper, the plant itself is not localized to Japan alone. In fact, the Philippines rivals Japan in its harvesting and production of Gampi fibers. It is notoriously difficult to cultivate; consequently, Japanese paper-makers must rely on the terrain’s scarce and natural production of Gampi, often traveling deep into mountainside forests to gather the rare fibers. Gampi in the Philippines, however, grows more abundantly and is less difficult to obtain. For this reason, many Japanese washi papers actually use Gampi fibers imported from the Philippines. 

Several other factors make Gampi paper unique in its production and quality. The naturally-growing crop must be harvested in the early months of Spring, when the plant is full of sap and water. Once harvested, the fine fibers must undergo an intensive and time-consuming refining process called chiritori. During this process, artisan papermakers pick through the pulp by hand to remove chiri (dust and dirt) and other impurities from the high-quality Gampi fibers, resulting in a nearly flawless finished product.

Due to the plant’s long and supple inner fibers, Gampi is often used to make ultra-thin and tissue-weight paper, noted for its surprising durability. However, Gampi is also a fantastic fiber source in making thicker and heavyweight varieties of Washi paper. The abundant fiber threads not only add exceptional strength and flexibility to the paper, but also provide a beautiful and natural appearance. Regardless of the paper’s thickness or style, all Gampi paper is distinguished by its natural sheen and luster. When made into paper, one of its most impressive characteristics is its resiliency to water. Because of this, some consider Gampi paper to be “naturally-sized,” due to its low moisture absorption rate. Gampi paper is used in several applications such as chine colle, book preservation and restoration, printing and ink drawing.