inspiration and tips

Warmth and Inspiration from Paper-Ya

Working at Paper-Ya means being surrounded by endless inspiration. Every time we receive new items, fresh ideas are kindled. My coworkers and customers are an endless source of creativity - each person coming in with a unique background and viewpoint.

There is a strong feeling of warmth and brightness that emanates from every corner of the store, and it's something that I've found myself incorporating into my own decor at home.

In this blog post, I wanted to share how I incorporated paper, pens, decor, and ideas from Paper-Ya into my wedding.


I used some of our thick, shimmering ribbon to tie around mason jars for some simple DIY decor. I placed white rocks and a small tea light inside for a warm, ambient glow as the sun set for the evening.

Reception table

Setting up the reception table!

Setting up the reception table!

I used Japanese tissue as the foundation of colour and style for my decor. I chose gold and silver, since they were easy to match, and also decorative statements of their own. The fibrous paper stood out against the white tablecloth, and framed my guestbook perfectly.

The string lights were a soft, romantic touch. Since they used batteries, I didn’t need to worry about plugging them in or having unsightly cords to tuck away. The warm glow lit up the reception table perfectly.

Guest Book

I chose a Japanese-made guestbook with a cover made of Chiyogami. The pages inside are thick enough to handle felt markers, and the first page has a gorgeous wood-pattern design.

I matched the cover of my guestbook to the Japanese tissue, though most of the time the guestbook lay open, so the cover is less important during the wedding and more important afterwards when it goes on my bookshelf.

If we’d had them in stock at the time, our Rag & Bone guest books would have been a strong contender. The raw silk and gorgeous bindings would have been pretty hard to resist.


Simple white and blue Caran D’Ache pens offset the strong gold and silver tones of the Japanese paper and guestbook. I chose them for their smooth flow of ink and understated design. I did not want them to overwhelm the rest of the table.

Our elegant standing pens would have been another excellent option.

I also had a couple of gel pens and markers for added colour, in case anyone wanted to have a bit of fun or decorate their page. It definitely made for some creative designs!


Washi tape was my best friend for all of my cards and place cards. I decided to do everything by hand since I was having a smaller wedding and did not need to make them by the hundreds. I used blues and golds for the most part, and used thinner black tape to give a nice contrast in colour and size. My designs were quite random and I had a lot of fun taping everything. I taped the cards before I cut them to get the perfect cut at the edges of the paper.

I used slightly iridescent champagne-coloured paper for the actual invitation, and a white card stock for the place cards. 

I also used white iridescent pocket envelopes for the invitations, though proper envelopes would have worked just as well.

Thank you cards

140lb paper, and random watercolour splattering for an effortless, colourful look.

140lb paper, and random watercolour splattering for an effortless, colourful look.

I kept my thank-you cards simple, to avoid too much stress on my part. The wedding is over - it’s time to relax! So I decided to make colourful fronts, and include a simple note on the back. I also cut out seed paper that the recipients can plant, as a kind of wedding favour.

All of my decor contained a certain warmth and beauty that was influenced by Paper-Ya. It is something you can take away with you every time you visit the store.

Blog written by Christine Wiebe

Saskia Jetten discovers the joys of printmaking in three dimensions with Tengujo tissue.

Saskia Jetten first discovered Tengujo paper in Montreal while she was an artist in residence at Atelier/Galerie Alain Pirior, August 2012. Using this very inexpensive and lightweight machine made version of this amazing Japanese paper she has created collagraphs, dry points with chine colle and became inspired to return to paper to work in three dimensions.

"I was so fascinated by this delicate, yet strong paper that resembled thin fabrics like the silks and cottons on which i had been printing on previously. It made the transition clear to me to go back to paper as my printing surface but use it as if it was fabric. I started to experiment, to sew the Tengujo paper. I love the fact that it is transparent but not translucent. It prints great with stone lithograph, linocut, woodblock, dry point and collagraph. It is also great as a base for chine colle. As it is priced very attractively, I felt free to experiment and did not have to worry much about mistakes and spoiling paper".

"In this work, the Tengujo washi tissue makes up the clothing of these figures. The images resemble their true being; there is no body in the clothing. The imagery printed on the clothing refers to the figures facing their fears, their hide and seek, their anxieties".

A note about Tengujo: these papers come in both handmade and machine made sheets. The handmade Tengujo is 100% kozo and is only 10g all sheets are dyed with synthetic dyes. There is no white sheet. All sheets are approximately 21 x 31 inches. There is an inexpensive and popular machine made version. It is 12 g, 25 x 37 inches and comes only in white. It is made of 60% kozo and 40% abaca. It is almost impossible to tell the difference even with both sheets in your hand! Both are beautiful.

Sending a card in times of sorrow.

Grief and loss are part of life and we all know this. But sometimes we are uncertain as to how to react and how to give to those that are suffering with a loss. It is often simply the acknowledgement that a loss has occurred that can help a friend begin to get through a distressful time. It is estimated that half of the stress during grieving can be decreased by talking and sharing with people who don't judge or advise.

When a loved one, a friend or an acquaintance is suffering with intense sorrow or some emotional pain we want to hold out our hand and offer our love and support. There are some excellent websites to give us some guidance in helping someone with grieving. Sometimes this helping hand can start with simply a card that acknowledges what has happened. Finding the right card can be a challenge so we try to have a variety of sympathy and  "thinking of you" cards for you to choose from. 

The talented Mr. Joseph Wu

In the western world we might think of origami as a small square piece of paper that one can turn into a crane. We might think of a children's folding game. As parents we might think origami would be good to help children follow instructions while keeping them occupied. We do not tend to think of inspired design, mathematics, architecture or therapeutic applications and certainly not vodka advertisements! Now we are thinking Joseph Wu!

But Joseph Wu knows all this and much more about origami's amazing applications and potential. He has been commissioned by advertising agencies throughout the world and his works have been thus published in magazines from Rolling Stone to Gourmet. 

Wu's latest inspiration is the kirigami technique which is paper cutting and he told us he is having lots of fun with it. In fact, it seems Wu has a lot of fun no matter what he is making. He started doing origami when he was 3 and made his first original design at 11, its no surprise it was an X-wing fighter from Star Wars. If you want to meet Joseph and other like minded creators you can head over to a group called PALM that meet monthly. Besides the immense talent and originality of Wu's original origami works his sense of community and sheer enjoyment of sharing the pleasures of origami is heart warming. Find him on Instagram and Facebook too.

Frame up our Amazing papers for your walls.

Could it be time to refresh your walls? No one wants the same old stuff in the same old place all the time! As the seasons change we get inspired to mix it up.

It couldn't be simpler with our amazing papers. Get yourself some one size fits all frames, Ikea is a good source, and pop these babies in them. Here, we are showing a few of our Chiyogami papers from Japan. These papers are traditional patterns but have a very contemporary feel to them. They look amazing with a wide mat and simple frame.

For the kitchen, the entrance or office, the kids room, and don't forget the bathroom! The average price of these papers is under 7.00 ! So, as the seasons change, and you want a different look, simply use the paper to wrap up some gifts and pop some new ones in! We are always bringing in new papers from all over the world. Have some fun as your own Interior Designer!

Collage in Printmaking : fun, simple and very effective!

Add color and texture easily with layering a variety of our decorative and handmade papers to your art. We continue with our series exploring artists working with paper or paper as art. Denise Carson WIlde's inventive and bold etchings from a series made in 1997 entitled "Marshes Library" uses various Nepalese and Thai papers to provide dimension of form and diversity to only one image. Each print stands out yet each print has a slightly different feel.

Denise Carson Wilde has used an archival PVA glue sold at Paper-Ya, that is often used for bookmaking. This type of glue provides flexibility and strength. The glue has shown itself to have absolutely no issues. But as in most artwork it is direct sun light and humidity that will alter your work. So be careful with displaying  and storing your art!

Collage or varied editions can be a free wheeling way to make images. Tearing the papers, letting the deckle edges show and layering a wide variety of papers can easily give your work a tactility and lively feel. The possibilities are endless. Enjoy yourself!

The Light Creations of Cameron Mathieson

are extraordinary in both their simplicity of materials and purity of feeling.

We met this remarkable artist in Paper-Ya, buying paper, of course. Even though we do not sell his lights we wanted to share his artistic endeavors with you. We know you will be impressed and inspired, as we are.

Cameron Mathieson works from the shores of remote Duncan Lake in the Kootenays, in nature and solitude. His collection of what he refers to as a "boneyard of weathered wood" is stunning and an art instillation in itself!

The artist transforms worn and naturally discarded branches and roots into new life. Like skeletons and spines, they become armatures of which paper is elegantly shaped and twisted around and light is introduced. His creations are indeed functional while instilled with a spiritual feeling and deep respect toward nature and her natural gifts. Wood, paper and lightness. To learn more about this artist and his amazing work go to