Japanese Book Arts Intensive

The Japanese Book Arts Intensive, March 21-24, is designed to give students the unique opportunity to learn four distinct Japanese crafts: Nagashizuki papermaking, paper decoration, binding, and boxmaking. Each day we will build upon skills learned in previous sessions to create a body of work that is considerate of the resources, materials, and aesthetics that define Japanese bookmaking.

japanese books and papermaking tools

The craft of papermaking came to Japan from China by way of present day Korea in approximately 600 AD. However, it was the invention of Nagashizuki style papermaking, which is believed to have developed in Japan or elsewhere in Asia around 800 AD, that most characterizes the qualities we attribute to washi today. This improvement was marked by the addition of a viscous agent called neri, made from the tororo-aoi plant, which allowed fiber to be suspended in water longer, resulting in uniformly thin and durable sheets of high quality paper. The craft has been practiced uninterrupted to present day and can still be seen in a number of locations throughout Japan, most notably Echizen, Mino City, Iyama, Kyoto, and Tokyo.

On the first day of the workshop, we will begin by making our own paper using traditional Nagashizuki methods. Our focus will be on fiber preparation and sheet formation as well as traditional pressing and drying techniques. March 21, Japanese Papermaking

japanese papermaking and sheets drying

On the second day, we will learn several traditional methods for decorating the paper we made including brush and dip dyeing with natural dyes common to Japan such as kakishibu (persimmon tannin), clove, lotus, and indigo. We will also cover shibori, a manual resist dyeing technique for creating patterns in cloth and paper that dates to the 8th century, as well as momigami, a folding and crumpling technique (also known as kneaded paper) that strengthens the paper and gives it the appearance of leather. March 22, Japanese Paper Decoration

samples of japanese paper embossed and indigo decoration

We will also use our handmade decorative papers to create laminated cover papers for our bindings. Students will have the opportunity work from blocks carved with traditional Japanese patterns to emboss their papers for historical effect. On the third day, we will use these materials to bind three traditional Japanese books: the ledger, multi-section, and stab binding. March 23, Japanese Bookbinding

samples of japanese bindingjapanese bindings

On the final day, we will create a two-flap Japanese portfolio to house our books and to tie together the work we produced into an elegant, finished product. March 24, Japanese Boxmaking

japanese portfolio

Each one day class can be taken as a stand alone or as part of the 4-day Japanese Book Arts IntensiveRegistration for the 4-day intensive: $500 plus a $100 materials fee. This includes a discount from the $155 per class fee and an additional discount on materials fees.

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