Enjoying the elaborate beauty of Japanese Washi paper
A paper is one of the most useful tools ever invented. Many of us use manufactured papers such as copy paper, books and magazines, but there are also beautiful hand-made papers like French Mable papers or Japanese Washi papers almost too pretty to use; particularly the hand-made creations by Japanese Washi artist Chiaki Morita.
After attending Washi School in her hometown of Ogawa city in Saitama prefecture, the birthplace of hand-made Washi, Chiaki Morita switched her job from accessory designer to Washi artist. She was attracted to the process of making Washi, “It was completely hand-made.” she said. To make Washi, Morita begins with growing Kozo trees, to produce the main material of Washi. After a year she prunes the leaves and places them to be dried. As a next step, she boils them in a huge pot to extract fibers. Then she orders a dyeing artist to make some of fibers dye into blue or brown using natural dye ingredients such as indigo plants and laurer trees. Finally she puts fibers and Neri, glueing materials derived from plants, into cold water, then shakes original wooden pattern in the water to gather fibers. Through a long process, paper comes out.
All of the ingredients are natural and the entire process is done by hand, making it self-sustaining and ecological.
“But I don’t want to appeal the ecology” Morita says. “I would rather like people to know that Washi reminds us we are living with nature and we are part of nature.”
The stunning aspect of her creations is that the paper looks cut out yet she doesn’t use a knife. Her original, handicrafted pattern makes for the elaborate and subtle silhouettes. The contemporary design, inspired from plants and antique lace, adds elegance.
She also creates postcards and small ornaments. You can order them from Morita online, from Keibunsha Ichijyojiten who ship only in Japan or UponAFold who ship from Australia.
Chiaki Morita’s upcoming Japanese exhibition:
Chiaki Morita(Washi) & Sachiko Takeuchi(Photographs) 20th April to 27th April at hitofushi (Osaka, Japan)