Washi : A great piece of paper work
It is one of Japan's most fundamental and often overlooked, artistic products. Washi is the traditional handmade Japanese paper. It has formed the backbone of many other Japanese artforms During 1,300 years of production. In fact, in Japanese culture, washi paper is so ingrained, there are towns build around washi papermaking. Washi paper simply means traditional Japanese paper, wa (和) meaning Japanese and shi (紙) meaning paper, In the most basic of terms. Through its many uses, from its eclectic history to the key travel destinations in Japan, there are many fascinating things to learn and a lot to be said about this richly historic and still relevant art. Washi has an understated translucency and subtly irregular texture, which is pleasant to the touch, also it is strong, absorbent, and long-lasting, making it suitable for applications going well beyond writing and drawing.
As do lanterns, such as those at yatai food stalls, many home lighting fixtures, folding fans, and traditional umbrellas, Classic shōji sliding doors make use of washi. The availability of sturdy, handmade paper enabled ukiyo-e woodblock prints to develop into a defining aspect of popular culture, During the Edo period (1603–1868). Beyond Japan's borders, Washi has for centuries also garnered attention. The tactile qualities of washi make it wonderful for invitations and books. It is warmer to the touch than Western papers made of wood pulp, washi feels soft and creates a feeling of warmth in the viewer. Washi has a deceptive strength since the fibers are left long and pounded and stretched rather than chopped. In earlier times, Pure-fibred washi can even be sewn and was used for armor and kimono-lining.
The fiber's length and the nature of the raw materials ensure that washi is highly workable when wet. Hence, it is excellent for papier maché and etching in which the paper must be soaked. A luxurious deckle edge, the rough edge is produced by these long fibers which mark a handmade paper. From the fibers of the paper mulberry plant, which are soaked in clear river water, thickened, and then filtered through a bamboo screen the paper is made. Not only for letter writing and books but also in home interiors to make paper screens, room dividers, and sliding doors washi paper is used. Ranging from the cultivation of mulberry, training in the techniques, and the creation of new products to promote Washi domestically and abroad, most of the inhabitants of the three communities play roles in keeping this craftsmanship viable.
On three levels, Washi papermaking is transmitted: among families of Washi craftspeople, through preservation associations and by local municipalities. Who have inherited the techniques from their parents, Families, and their employee's work and learn under Washi masters. As the symbol of their cultural identity all the people living in the communities take pride in their tradition of Washi-making and regard it.