Trip to Kozo Arts

Kozo Arts - exterior

Another stop on my bookbinding-focused trip to San Francisco was Kozo Arts. I have been aware of Kozo Arts for a while now, but never thought I’d actually get to visit their shop.

While creating my vacation itinerary, I planned to make a rather serious paper purchase while at the store. Ah, the best laid plans…I get in the store and while my initial gaze is drawn to the beautiful Chiyogami papers (especially a rocking monkey print), I immediately lose my breath upon seeing the most gorgeous bookcloths I have ever seen. Ever. EVER. I wanted to open up the bolts on the floor and roll around on them.

Notara, the manager of Kozo Arts, gave me the scoop on the bookcloth. She explained that the 100% silk bookcloths had been an acquisition of the previous store owner. He had taken regular buying trips to Japan to find new items for the store and found these beautiful bookcloths in some guy’s basement.

His basement. How does that happen?

She added that Japanese bookcloth as we know it was not traditionally used for bookbinding – it was used for mounting paper scrolls. I wonder who that first person was who used the stuff for bookbinding? Thank you.

Notara has been working at Kozo Arts for 10 years. How she tolerated my total spazziness in the store is beyond me.

Notara working at Kozo Arts

Notara, you’re a saint!

So even though the bookcloth was pricey ($38 per yard, less a 10% discount if you’re a bookbinder), I had to get some – they just don’t have these beauties anywhere else. I bought 4 yards of the delicious stuff. I apologize for not being a better photographer – these photos do not do the bookcloths justice.

Japanese bookcloth

Japanese bookcloth

Every day since I returned from my trip, I’ve gone into my studio and gazed longingly at my new friends. These are going to be hard to cut up. Boy, when I run out – that’s also going to suck. Time to plan another trip to San Francisco.

Sheets of Japanese Chiyogami paper hanging on racks

Sorry paper, maybe next time.

3 Responses to “Trip to Kozo Arts”

By Shannon - 18 June 2009 Reply

Ooh, they have the monkey paper back in stock! And they are selling paper through their web site now. Awesome. (I know, how terrible is it that I live in the same city as the store and I want to buy paper through their web site?)

Speaking of Japanese paper in the Bay area (for your next trip!), there’s a store called Miki’s Paper in Berkeley in their 4th Street shopping area that is supposed to have a good selection.

Also, did you know that The Paper Place in Toronto (formerly The Japanese Paper Place) now has an online store? Check out (and I believe the prices are in Canadian dollars). I’ve been really happy with their service and they have the best selection of Chiyogami I’ve seen online anywhere.

By elissa - 22 June 2009 Reply

Shannon –

I do know about The Paper Place. I became re-aware of them when they had that rocking paper giveaway. I sooo wanted that pile of paper.

Luckily, I’m not too far away from Toronto – is an 8 hour drive too far? Maybe I’ll get there someday. [starts dreaming]


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