"There’s nothing like Washi," that’s what we always say. We took the opportunity to attend a workshop at a paper-making studio in Tokyo!
First, we watched a short movie explaining the long process of Washi papermaking. We learned that tree bark of mulberry, the main material of Washi, was steamed, peeled, boiled, rinsed, and then beaten until it turned into mere chunk of soft material. Attendees were then invited to the studio to be introduced to the raw material. The moist substance was composed of myriad of fine, soft and shiny fibers when looked closely.
With a bamboo stick, our instructor stirred the slurry paper solution containing the bark fiber and starch in brisk motion. In order to create the Washi paper, the wooden screen crate is sunk into the water to scoop the solution out. Then the wooden screen crate is shaken rhythmically and evenly in all directions so the fibers interlock. This process is repeated several times until the fiber interlocks enough. Once the excess water was drained off, what was left in the screen bore a resemblance to the finished product, only damp and filled with moisture.
The sheet was carefully peeled off the screen and laid on a plank to dehydrate. We removed all excess liquid using a special vacuum. Then we placed the damp paper on a heated metal panel to let it fully dry.
At long last, our paper was done. We admired and wondered how we should use this beautiful, elegant, pearl-white sheet of Washi. Then, we thought that putting Chigiri-e on it would be a perfect idea.
To learn more about Washi and Chigiri-e, visit our Chigiri-e page here.