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    Tomi-san's Hand Made Washi
    A Family Recipe for Hand Made Japanese Paper

    Washi - Hand-Made Paper Made of Natural Materials in Japan

    Washi is the term used to describe hand-made paper usually made from the bark fibers of one of three main types of shrubs: kouzo (paper mulberry), gampi, or mitsumata. Wood pulp is also sometimes employed. Except for gampi, which is used only in its wild form, all of the plants used are cultivated in Japan. Knowledge of making washi is traditionally said to have arrived from Korea in 610, with the Korean monk Donchou.

    Ms. Tomi has been making washi all her life. She learned the craft from her father who began the family business about 70 years ago. Working with her son, Ms. Tomi still uses the same methods that her father used in the early 1930s. Much of her paper is made from the bark of local cedar trees, but the post card-sized pieces are made from local gampi and inset with seasonal wildflowers, which grow in the mountains around her home. In the fall, she produces large sheets of cedar paper inset with warmly colored autumn maple leaves. She works hard at her craft and sells her paper to some of the finest retailers in cities like Kyoto and Osaka. In spite of much more demand than she and her son can handle alone, she resists growth, preferring to live her simple life. When we first met her, she had never heard of the Internet!

    Click here to begin browsing Tomi-san's hand-made washi paper.

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