As my end of year Japan trip gets closer, I am getting very excited about visiting the amazing washi shops which are scattered throughout the towns and cities of Japan.
What is washi? Washi is a type of paper that was first produced in Japan. Washi is tougher than regular paper, as it is made from the fibres of particular types of trees, rather than wood pulp.
Washi used to be used to make household items like clothes, toys, decorations and objects to be presented at shrines for the Shinto faith.
Washi is different to regular paper, as less chemicals are used to produce it. Cold weather is preferred when the long and complex process is started to produce washi. Pure, cold running water is required to produce washi. The cold water stops bacteria growing in the fibres, and also makes the fibres contract - which gives washi the crisp feeling that you may have felt before. In the past, it was an alternative income for farmers in the winter months when crops or livestock couldn't survive the harsh winters.
In Japan, we were making from 600AD, so the creation of washi is over 1,400 years old now! The Kozo tree (or paper mulberry) is the most commonly used tree used in the production of washi. The inner bark of the Kozo tree is pounded and mixed with water to produce a paste, which is then shaken and dried into sheets in an even manner.
The washi can then have beautiful prints placed on it. The absorbency, strength and unique texture of washi leads to unique images and a sense of depth in the image than we can normally find.
These reasons are why I choose washi to make my pieces of origami jewellery. The toughness and beauty of the paper makes it perfect - and it is a very Japanese paper. Perfect to make paper cranes from.
I'll show you some of the amazing washi I find on my travels in Japan.
See you at the BrisStlye Bazaar on Saturday 12th December from 9am!