All in all I made about 150 sheets of paper. Way more than I was expecting and enough to last me while at the same time really allowing me to absorb the process. Making beautiful paper is a skill and while I am definitely still a novice, I have so much more respect for papers than I did before, and I have so many new ideas about how to use paper than I ever would have otherwise.
What an honor to work at the Awagami paper factory for eight days and to learn from the master himself, Mr Fujimori, a true lover of the arts and a true master of handmade and machine made washi papers. He has had artists from all over the world come to his factory to make art and is a world renowned paper master. I hope someday I will get to return as an artist in residence and make unbelievable art and paper in a wide variety of manners.
the stack of paper as it is being made
The last full day we spent learning different dying techniques to use with Japanese Washi. We learned a technique specific to Awagami that's a lot like tie dye, made by folding the paper in various ways then dipping certain areas in dye to create patterns.
We also learned how to dye paper with indigo, a tradition that has been happening for centuries. The color is amazing and its so refreshing to see such a beautiful color coming from a totally natural process. They grow indigo in the area on the fertile silt flats along the river where they can't grow rice because of flooding. Indigo is harvested before flood season, whereas rice is harvested after and so cannot be planted so close to large rivers. I would really love to come back and learn more about indigo, the plant and process-- its such a pungent powerful plant.
my sheet of indigo dyed paper rinsing in the bath
vat of indigo dye
indigo papers drying