Paper-Ya on Granville Island

always fresh always fun always new

Paper-Ya offers the creative individual a unique and inspired collection of decorative and unusual papers from around the world. We specialize in all areas of contemporary personal and office stationery including photo albums and wedding invitational papers.

Another snapshot interview with a favorite local artist, Kaori from Sleepless Kao!

Kaori, where did the name Sleepless Kao come from?

It's because I don't sleep much and I really like to make art late at night when most people have gone to bed; and my nickname is Kao. Don't worry though, I catch up on my sleep in the mornings!

What gives you inspiration for your drawings?

Usually, there will be a sudden warm feeling that begins in my body, near my heart. Things will pop up, and if I have pens and paper close by, I will start to doodle. Often I will see a beautiful pattern and color composition in nature, and that will be the inspiration. Old songs from my past with nice associations can also be inspiration, like Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over," because that is from my generation.

When did you start creating artwork, and how has it evolved over time?

I started drawing at 3 years old - pen and paper first. Jumping ahead to arts school, I moved toward the computer and drawing things realistically in the various foundation classes. After graduating however, I took what I learned from the life drawing and theory classes, and brought that back into a traditional kawaii Japanese style which I love.

How do you make the prints, like the ones we sell at Paper-Ya?

I make my prints two different ways - one is silkscreen, and the other is digitally by using design programs like Illustrator and Photoshop on my Mac computer.

What's one piece of advice for those wanting to start creating and selling their own artwork?

I think it is good to be aware of whom you are creating for. It is quite rare to meet someone who is doing exactly what they want and making a living with their art. Usually, there are external demands from a client or influences from the general public at large. For example, when I am asked to create some promotional material, like a poster or a logo, I think of myself as a designer for hire and will happily receive artistic direction. If the client does not like a drawing, it does not affect my ego, and there is no conflict. However, when I am preparing for a solo or group show, I present artwork that is solely from my point of view. I think the sooner an artist can come to terms with how much they are willing to please people, the better. Making sure that I make time for my own personal projects really replenishes the well, so when I am required to manifest someone else's vision, I have the capacity to let go of my artistic preferences. 

Thanks so much to Kaori for these wonderful answers. Paper-Ya loves carrying the Sleepless Kao prints in our store! 


Our new handmade Indian papers await you!

These new and very cool Indian handmade papers hang on the racks at the store waiting for your ideas. Gorgeous metallics in bronzes and golds printed on thick natural fibers. Click thru the slide show and enjoy the colors and the quirky and sophisticated designs.

Think of using as wall paper for a zap of style on one wall in an entrance or hall way! Get bold and have some fun.

Paper-Ya loves local handmade items. This is our snapshot interview with one of our very own, Emi at Noei Designs!

Emi, where did your brand name, Noei, come from, and what does it mean?
Noei comes from using a letter from each of my family's given name. I can't see them often because they live in Japan, but my heart stays with them.
How long have you been creating these pouches/pocket mirrors/wristlets etc.?
5 years.

Where did the idea come from?
I learned to use a sewing machine as a part of my school curriculum in Japan. My first project, a drawstring pouch wasn't successful, but it made me want to try harder. Since then, I have explored sewing on my own. I have never received any professional training. 
How do you choose your fabrics and designs?
All my items are designed by me. I usually start sketching, then try the pattern many times until I am completely satisfied. I visit lots of fabric stores to see new designs, colors and textures.

Do you have any advice for someone wanting to start their own line of handmade items?
I am still new with what I am doing and am learning every day. I can't give you much advice yet, but all I can say is that if you have something you're passionate about, start planning now. Life is shorter than you think. Just enjoy what you like.

Emi has been a Paper-Ya team member for nearly 6 years, and we're lucky to offer most of her wonderful products!