Before our tour of Japan actually began, a few of us arrived early to discover Tokyo on our own. It was fun, fascinating and foot tiring – we walked 20,000 steps the first day! Thanks to my friend Cindy, we managed to cover a good portion of Tokyo via train/subway. We discovered she is an amazing researcher and she has a “gps brain” (she held our guide’s “fish flag” on one of our day tours and I couldn’t resist inserting this picture here).
We began our adventure with a visit to a government building which had a 43rd floor observation area. It was a beautifully clear day and we were able to see how truly huge Tokyo is – and to get our first glimpse of Mt. Fugi! What an amazing view!
We had many other great stops that day, but the class Cindy arranged for the following day just has to be shared. The company is called Ozu Washi and they’ve been making specialty paper since 1653:
Paper is a fiber made from plants – and I’ve seen it used in art quilts. The idea of making it was very appealing.
Our instructor spoke very little English, but he had a wonderful sense of humor. He began by showing us how the fibers were stripped from the plant and placed in the water, then he showed us how the screens worked.
He then demonstrated the process: dip screen and gently shake back and forth to align the fibers. He made it look so easy… and we all failed in our first attempt.
In the end we all were successful (even if mine had the most “texture”).
From collecting the fibers on the screen (the hardest part).
to sucking out the excess water at the vacuum table,
to drying it on the hot metal plate,
We all “made paper”!
Then we visited the gift shop and spent a bunch of yen. This is a piece of paper – yes paper – I purchased there.
I wonder how I’ll use it in an art quilt???
It was a truly memorable experience and we hadn’t even begun our actual tour! Next week’s topic – Yuzen painting and Shibori Dyeing!
And one more thing…
Lynn emailed me a question on a topic I’m not familiar with. Please reply in “comments” or email me your response if you have one 🙂:
“Do any of your readers with longarm quilting machines use leader grips when loading their quilts? Do they work and are they easy to use?”