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Washi in My Everyday Life November 30 2018

washi ningyo, printmaking, kakishibu, unryushi Streaming sunshine illuminates this handmade print on kakishibu dyed unryu paper - illustrating the warmth and translucency of washi. Washi ningyo (paper doll) kimono on right.
Part 2 – Wonderful Washi
Richard Flavin, Ryoko Haraguchi, Sind, Tokyo, kakishibu stitched kaikshibu washi shoulder bag by Richard Flavin and Ryoko Haraguchi.
While washi (Japanese paper) is a long-lasting Japanese traditional craft, how it became an important part of Japanese culture is almost forgotten even by most Japanese. In thinking about washi's role in etiquette, social rituals, and some possibly overlooked utilitarian uses, in this post, I want to show you some of my personal selection of everyday paper items , as well as paper objects I see everyday outside.
knitted paper, paper yarn, shifu, paper thread, paper shawl Knitted paper shawl used as a curtain, allows filtering of light and provides a subtle screen of privacy.
Of course, there are endless applications for paper in the Western world; like its use in thinks book or art conservation, book arts, calligraphy, printmaking, painting, collage and so on. However, there are also those strictly Japanese paper arts, which are fairly well-known to the average modern day Japanese. For example, shōdo (Japanese style calligraphy),
money envelopes with noshi
chigiri-e, landscape, paper painting, paper collage Chigiri-e landscape.
chigiri-e (paper-tearing collage),and washi ningyo (paper dolls). Shōji and fusuma (sliding doors in Japanese style rooms) are quite common home interior components used everyday. Ritualistic uses of paper seen every day in daily life in Japan. Omikuji or horoscope papers tied to a branch or wooden stand.
omikuji, horoscope, superstition, Japanese life Omikuji or paper horoscope tied to a wooden stand on temple grounds. Photo take Sept, 2018
gohei, kamisama, shintoukyou, tohoku gohei (zig zag shaped papers) representing god, with rope (shimenawa) around old, red cypress tree. Photo taken Sept. 2018
Gohei hung from a shimenawa (rope) in this case around an ancient and sacred red cypress tree. Reminiscent of Miyazaki's Tonari no Totoro background scenes, yes? Washi , as you can tell, is one of my first loves in the realm of paper. My relationship with washi grew more intimate after moving to Japan in the 1980's, attempting to immerse myself in the Japanese culture and language. I came to learn that washi's inherent beauty exudes special powers of joy to those who use it. More than 50 years of collecting ephemera, close to 30 years of selling washi ; (now via Paper Connection), and working with the endearing papermakers in Japan, has lead me to this state of chronic washi-on-the-brain. Washi is part of my daily life both physically and emotionally and I really don't mind at all!

Chigiri-e vs. Pulp Painting October 06 2010

Chigiri-e literally means torn paper collage. Chigiri (pronounced with a hard "g") and e (pronounced like "ay" as in "hay". Chigiri is the noun form of the verb "to tear" and e is any kind of art picture: collage, painting, drawing, etc. When you see one of these detailed collages in person, it's hard to believe the image is nothing but paper. Of course, not just any paper, the process will work best with washi- Japanese paper. Check out this Chipmunk Chigiri-e by Etsy artist: Michiko Yoshida. Traditionally scissors are not used (but are not prohibited!). Washi torn by hand produces a soft edge, ideal for blending colors and creating a 3-D effect. Pulp Painting is the bigger category and chigiri-e fits into this English term. There are many techniques of "painting" with pulp. Two highly-respected paper artists,(not just by me, but all over the world), whom I know from my days in Boston are, Joe Zina, famous for his stunning floral paper "paintings" (click to his name to see one image) and for co-founding Rugg Road Paper Company, back in the '80s, and Michelle Samour, who teaches, writes and takes pulp painting in yet a completely different direction; a completely new latitude.