On February 8 2019 I attended the opening of the exhibition 'Washi no fushigi. The mystery of paper' in Kraków. I wanted to be present, because the three Krakówian artists - Ewa Rosiek-Buszko, Marta Bożyk and Małgorzata Malwina Niespodziewana - had all participated in the Mino Washi Artist in Residence. Most of you already know that I was so fortunate to having been a participant of the same program in 2013 (Mino AiR Blog).
On top of that, my friends from Mino AiR would come to Kraków to hold the opening speech. A trip to Poland to meet my Japanese friends, and meeting the three Krakówian artists for the first time was an easy choice to be made. The artworks surpassed my expectations. Ewa Rosiek-Buszko, Marta Bożyk and Małgorzata Malwina Niespodziewana have used the Mino washi paper all in a very unique and intrinsic way. Their love for Mino washi paper is apparent in how they use the amazing qualities of the paper which is clearly part of their works.
The opening was well-visited, it was really overwhelming! Later that evening visitors could make their own Mino washi paper lantern during a workshop. Niespodziewana's work really appealed to me, because she also uses pigments on paper and I find the playfulness in her work very endearing. I had the chance to talk with her and she introduced me to Ewa Rosiek-Buszko. My new friend Estera Mrówka who studies at the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts, introduced me to Marta Boży. It was such a pleasure to meet with all three artists.
But this wasn't the end of the story: I saw a young man who seemed familiar but knew for sure that we had never spoken before. After half an hour I remembered and hesitatingly asked him if he perhaps had send me an e-mail in 2018 to ask information about this artist in residence. He was quick to remember and told me it was in fact about the Itsukaichi Artist in Residence in Japan that he had asked information about. His name is Adam Soroczyński. And, he told me had been selected for that residency and went there the Autumn of 2018. What a wonderful story!
More information about the exhibition:
Period: Until March 31 2019
Where: Manggha Museum, ul. M. Konopnickiej 26, 30-302 Kraków
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.