Minobu, Minamikoma District, Yamanashi Prefecture , Japan
This article introduce Japanese handmade crafts, called Washi (Nishijima Washi)
Washi is a type of paper made only in Japan that uses The Inawara fibers (rice straw stalks). , Manila hemp , Bamboo and etc.
Nishijima Washi is made by dissolving those fibers in water, pouring them onto a screen called Suketa, shaking the screen to strain the water through it and then flattening the fibers on the screen into an even thickness.
This technique is called “Tesuki”. Because it is all made by hand using naturally produced bark fibers, each sheet has a different look and texture.
This brilliant crafting techniques have been polished for 500 years.
Nishijima is not so far from Tokyo in Japan, so I recommend you should make a visit and check it out for real Japanese handmade paper.
1 they boil various materials, such as The Inawara fibers (rice straw stalks). , Manila hemp , Bamboo and etc.
2 They mixed the materials in the water.
How much water they use and how fast they mix is depend on the humidity or temperature.
It’s need a subtle sensation. High skill is needed。
3 Scooping out the pulp from the pulp slurry into a mesh tray and drain off the excess water.
The remaining mixture on the filter is Nisijima Washi.
It looks easy, but to get the same thickness of the paper is difficult.
It needs 3 years at least to get this skill.
4 The finished paper join on the top of each other carefully.
When It’s about 10cm high. Take it to the press and compresses it to remove the moisture.
To dry completely. Hung it out under the sun about 1 month.
The thickness of each layer will become half of what it was before.
5 The sun dried paper put into water to soak again.
These processes change depend on the season and temperature, which means that only a skilled craftsman can determine the best timing!
6 They remove one piece of wet thin paper to the special hot iron board to dry.
It looks easy but Wet paper is very easy to tear.
This process also requires many years of experience to master.
7 A few minuets later. They peeling out the dried paper carefully and laying them out neatly,
This traditional techniques continues to maintain in Yamanashi Prefecture.