Japanese traditional paper “washi” (wa meaning Japanese and shi paper) is appreciated by artists and individuals worldwide. WASAKU artist Hatano Wataru came to Kurotani (Japan’s heart of washi production) back in 1996 and started his training to become a washi manufacturer.
Today, he is a recognised washi craftsman and runs his own washi production company with an innovative and future oriented approach. Hatano aims to take the great quality of the washi paper to new grounds adding innovation to the traditional techniques : “The tradition has been passed down thus far, and it is our responsibility to bring it to the next level. I used to think that tradition preservation just need hard work, but after having been engaged in this business for 10 years, I realize that there is more to it. We have to be passionate about what washi is, and how we can bring innovations to it, and that is what I am doing now.”
Using the beauty of washi, Hatano and his team experiment blending washi material with furniture (e.g. tabletops), wallpaper, flooring etc. and has held exhibitions in Japan and overseas.
Making washi is a process with many steps as you can see in Hatano’s image below. Kozo (Mulberry) is used in most of the washi made today. The kozo stalks are cut and bundled. Next they are steamed in wooden barrels to be able to remove the dark bark. The white, inner fibers are washed to take away any impurities, left to dry and thereafter they are boiled. Now comes the important phase of beating the kozo fibers turning them in to paper pulp.
Next, “neri” (glutinous vegetable material) and water are added and using a bamboo screen and wooden frame, the mixture is moved back and fort across the mold to form the desired sheet. The sheets are then dried, pressed and finally bundled up ready to use.
Hatano Wataru’s washi is made in the traditional size (490 mm x 390 mm), but he is also experimenting with big sizes and with mixing small amounts of soil into the washi, changing its colour and making it more resistant. And, in this way also making washi a desirable construction material. Wasaku is looking forward to seeing and promoting innovative collaborations by washi craftsmen like Hatano with interior designers, carpenters, stage designers, etc. Please, find samples of Hatano’s products in here on Wasaku and don’t hesitate to contact us for more information about Hatano’s work.
SUMMA Art Fair is an international contemporary art fair focused on new media, technology and photography. The fair was, just like Apertura, held September 19-22 and had different programs: The “General Program” dedicated to established artists from international galleries, “Up” – devoted to young emerging art galleries with pioneer contemporary artists, “MadridFoto – a photo section, “Uneasy Pleasure” with video creations, and “Transversal” and “Emerging Transversal”.
During the fair, various activities were held such as workshops, presentations, performances, children’s workshops and cooking sessions conducted by renowned Spanish chefs.
Among the artists who we found very interesting were Chilean artist Francisca Valdivieso (http://www.franciscavaldivieso.com) represented by the Gallery Cecilia Brunson, whose porcelain work of extraordinary quality and with great themes stood out and also the Portuguese artist Catarina Saravia (http://catarinasaraiva.com) with textile works from her project “reflection (im) possíves”.
Next to SUMMA in the space called Abierto x obras en Matadero (Matadero is the venue for SUMMA) we enjoyed the installation called “Cenotes” by the artists Magdalena Atria creating fascinating artwork using play dough.
WASAKU visited SUMMA in our quest for artistic discoveries and promotion of our artists.
The event DecorAccion 2013 was held in the Barrio de las Letras in Madrid from 19 to September 23 and WASAKU visited to talk about our project and meet artisans, interior designers and landscape artists.
The event consisted of various activities such as; antique market, Pop up Deco, design canton, streets and storefront installations and the creation of the seven micro restaurants in the space DECOMER, decorated by renowned interior designers.
We enjoyed the Deco Pop up with companies like L’atelier mosaicist offering beautiful hydraulic floor tiles with designs from the past, so fashionable today. We also enjoyed Decologie with Manuel Calderón, who explained his work on paper with his “Lolita is Dead”, a reinvented Lolita icon with heart shaped glasses (that looked like the protagonist in the film by Stanley Kubrick) and with a very much alive skeleton hiding under the kimono.
Our most appreciated discovery was Paco Orti – architect, ceramist, and photographer, whose pieces caught our particular attention both for his use of materials, combination of colours, shapes and textures as well as the presentation. We were reminded of the sea, the beach, shells. We are very happy to have met Orti with whom, with his sense of aesthetics and Japanese feeling, we hope to be able to collaborate.
WASAKU understands art as a global concept in which the works of our artists move in different territories, adapting in line with the concepts of utility, everyday beauty and creative expression. Here lies our great appreciation for Japanese art and our wish to blend within the territories of art, design, interior design, landscape design and gastronomy.
WASAKU will be visiting DecorAccion 2013 this weekend. WASAKU DESIGN as designer brand will connect with Product Design Madrid.
We look for designers who wish to collaborate with our artists and be promoted in Japan. We want to share and create stories and will tell you our experiences.