My "Blue-and-white flycatcher" washi noren hangs in the beautiful historical center of Mino city. This exhibition is a celebration of the traditional Mino washi papermaking technique being listed as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
In 2013 I went to Mino for an Artist in Residence, where I stayed with a lovely family. In 1997 this Mino Artist in Residence project started, and this year all invited artists have designed a unique washi noren.
Photo's by Takaaki Otsuka
The history of Mino Washi paper goes back 1300 years. It was admired for its beauty, strength and softness. During the Edo period Mino Washi became a luxury and was being used for sliding doors.
In 2014 Unesco placed the traditional craft of hand making paper from Mino, Misumi-cho and Ogawa on the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. In Mino this special paper is called "Hon-minoshi".
The bark used for "Hon-Minoshi" comes from the finest Mullberry tree (Nasu Kozo). During the 5 days paper making workshop we learned about the process of making Mino Washi paper. The main activity was making large-sized papers. Other things we did were washing the bark in the water basin, putting the bark inside the boiling pot of water and soda, and taking out the dark and hard bits left inside the bark. The photos show some of the steps made during the process of making Mino Washi paper. I hope you enjoy the photos! View my previous post to see an article about me in the Chunichi Shimbun.
De geschiedenis van Mino Washi papier begon 1300 jaar geleden. Toen al werd het bewonderd om haar schoonheid, kracht en zachtheid. Tijdens de Edo-periode (1603- 1868) was Mino Washi een luxe product en werd het gebruikt voor schuifdeuren.
In 2014 plaatste Unesco de traditionele ambacht van het met de hand maken van papier uit Mino, Misumi-cho en Ogawa op de lijst van "Immaterieel Cultureel Erfgoed van de mensheid". In Mino wordt dit speciale papier "Hon-minoshi" genoemd.
De vezels van de beste Moerbeiboom 'Nasu Kozo' worden gebruikt voor het maken van "Hon-Minoshi". Tijdens de 5 dagen van de workshop leerden we over het proces van het maken van Mino Washi papier. Maar de meeste tijd besteedden we aan het maken van Mino Washi papier zelf. We gebruikten een grote 'suketa' dat door middel van draden aan bamboestokken hing. Al snel ervaarde ik waarom, omdat de mix van water met papier en aoi tororo erg zwaar was. Daarbij moest je gecontroleerde bewegingen met de 'suketa' maken, zodat het papier mooi en sterk wordt.
Andere dingen die we deden was het wassen van de witte bast in het bassin, de bast in de kokende pot met alkaline doen- en er later weer uithalen, en de donkere en harde stukjes uit de bast halen. De foto's tonen een aantal van de stappen tijdens het proces van het maken van Mino Washi papier.
Een artikel over mijn deelname aan deze workshop is in de Chunichi Shimbun (krant) verschenen.
This year I went to Mino for the second time to follow a 5- days paper making workshop at the Mino Washi Traditional Paper Museum. Our teacher Ichihara Toshiko-sensei, a professional Mino Washi papermaker, taught us the process of making Mino washi. We spent most of the time making large-sized washi. I was interviewed by the"Chunichi Shimbun" about why I follow this workshop and my admiration and use of Mino washi paper. The photo shows me taking out the dark and hard bits (chiritori) from the fibers.
Tomorrow (January 15) starts my solo-exhibition "Scenery in Japan" at Galerie Iroha in Dordrecht.
Besides light objects from Mino paper, you can see the diptych paintings "Japanese Interior" including the latest two "Japanese Interior no. 3" and "Japanese Interior no. 4". I am particularly excited to show you my newest works: linocut- and woodcut prints on Kozo paper I made in the Fall of 2014 at Art Studio Itsukaichi.
Did you know that the traditional craft of Mino paper-making is now (since 2014) on the list of UNESCO? The paper light objects are from handmade Mino paper I made during my stay as Artist in Residence at the Mino Paper Art Village Project. Also the "Japanese Interior" diptychs are painted on handmade Mino paper I made during that time.
The title "Scenery in Japan" refers to the direct surrounding during my stays in Japan. The images for the prints for example, come from outside the Art Studio Itsukaichi. Two of them are views from the windows on the first floor.
Although my main source of inspiration is the urban landscape, for the "Japanese Interior" diptychs I was influenced by the traditional and modern Japanese interiors. The structure of the latticeworks and the openness of the architecture is interesting, something I had not experienced before. Even in modern Japanese architecture specific features can be seen, for example tatami mats and sliding doors.
The opening of the exhibition is on Sunday the 18th of January, where I also will be present.
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