Washi - Japanese Paper
In the winter of 1997, we had the honor of meeting and spending a considerable amount of time with Mr. Hiroyuki Fukunishi. Mr. Fukunishi is one of those rare individuals that you only read about. He has demonstrated Yoshino papermaking to sixth graders and to the Emperor of Japan. He is a consultant to NHK on papermaking and has been the advisor in several important movies that showed papermaking. His expertise in the techniques of Yamato-udagami washi has resulted in his being designated a living national treasure by the Japanese government.
I would like to write about our time with Mr. Fukunishi and have started the story with the photos at Hiroyuki Fukunishi - Yoshino Papermaker.
I don't really know how to explain Washi and what it means to my art. I have had fun in exploring and discovering Western papers. Actually that is not saying enough, I have really found a lot of freedom and newness in Western paper and from this a whole new side of my art has come alive. To be able to create with the papers of Virginia Sarsfield and to discover a whole different papermaking paradigm is still breathtaking for me. And this represents the new and the Western part of me.
Which is not to say that Washi is the old and Eastern part of Me! Washi is new. My appreciation for Japanese paper is forever new and my deep respect for the artists who make this paper is also forever new. Only recently did I learn that Alejandro D. Geiler is making paper using Japanese techniques in Argentina. I was so thrilled to learn this that I just had to create this special gallery dedicated to Washi. I also know that Mr. Fukunishi will be thrilled to learn of this.
The Diplomas of Ryoma Elementary School - In the papermaking village of Yoshino, just north of Nara, for every year for the last twenty years Mr. Hiroyuki Fukunishi and Mr. Hirofumi Honsako have taught the graduating class of Ryoma Elementary School to make their own graduation diplomas from the raising of the Kozo to harvesting to making and dying the pulp. While this work is still under construction, the photography documents the entire process.
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