Hello, I’m Tomoko, an intern of JCE.
I would like to report of the Washi Workshop last week. Most of participants were Dutch and also, there was a person who came from Turkey!
Today’s instructor is Annelinde de Jong.
She is a native Dutch who went to Ayabe city in Kyoto to study method of Kuronani Washi using an opportunity of artists in residence. Kurotani Washi is one of the intangible cultural heritages in Kyoto.
In this workshop, first, an explanation about Washi, touched materials, and started to make practically.
Annelinde gave them a detailed explanation of it. For example, about its history, materials and also the meaning of “Washi”. When they touched these materials, she showed differenses of some kinds of materials on each cooked process. Though I had experienced to make Washi before, it was first time to see each state so it’s very interesting for me, too.
Processes of making Washi are actually,
Raw materials → Cleaning → Cooking → Cleaning and rinsing → Beating → Scooping → Pressing → Drying
and in this workshop, they started from the process of putting Neri and materials, mixing them and scooping.
Dutch participants were very interested in Washi and if they had some question, asked to Annelinde right away. In this workshop, there were lots of questions and answers like “Why they beat the material?” and so on about Washi.
Each process has each meaning. Beating is to separate fibers and give them damages to make them easy to connect each other. Putting “Neri” is to make fibers dispers in the water by covered with Neri. Pressing is to drain water to dry easily, and make them stronger each connection of fibers.
Features of Washi, “Thin and Strong” is born in this way.
After understanding, everyone came to be very concentrated on their working and kept doing enthusiastically.
Incidentally, Washi which Annelinde makes are something colorful, something made with plants from Netherland. It’s very fascinating to change traditional one into her original. Her personality is also very fascinating!
Since I made my graduation certification by scooping paper when I was an elementary school student, and visited a Washi workman a few years ago, I thought I already know most thing of Washi but I had never seen the process of materials. Most of participants of this workshop knew something about Washi in advance, and wanted to experience these process.
I would like everyone to experience this workshop whether you already experienced or having knowledges, because there are still many discoveries by making again!
Finally, I want to tell a scene what I had in my mind during this workshop. It was the back of a Washi workman scooping a paper in Yame city in Fukuoka prefecture. At one time, all residents in the outskirts of his house were Washi workmans, but now, he is the only workman to keep scooping. There are people who spread these techniques over the see, on the other hand, a number of workmans are decreasing in Japan. Though I don’t know my goal yet, I want to keep this scene and feelings in my mind.