paper & tokyo – chiaki morita’s studio
Chiaki at work and the view from outside her studio.
Beautiful and delicate pieces now ready for drying.
A collection of spools carry Chiaki’s handmade paper.
A paper feature wall inside the studio.
Yep, even the curtains are made of paper!
Matt and Chiaki unraveling one of her larger pieces.
Two of Chiaki’s handmade pieces now available in the shop.
It has been a while between posts. Sorry. just. so. flat. out. right. now! I have been wanting to show you this beautiful space I visited on my last trip to Japan, for ages now! It is the creative space of Chiaki Morita; my absolute favourite papermaking artist from Japan, who creates the most intricate and amazing pieces from handmade washi.
Chiaki Morita was originally trained in metalworking and after finishing her studies she went on to making metal-based accessories and objects. Her love affair with paper came afterwards when she started experimenting with washi and realised that it could be made with simple, natural and readily available materials from home. In the yard out the back of her studio is a thriving kozo bush which is the main ingredient for making washi. Add water and a plant derived binding liquid called Neri and one has all one needs to start making washi from home.
Chiaki makes her own washi that she uses to create intricate works of paper art. Her studio is filled with beautiful finished pieces and intriguing works in progress. Handmade washi appears everywhere. It was there in the form of curtains, room dividers, window shades, sliding doors, hanging lights, art and decorative pieces. This space truly was a wonderful world of washi.
As I looked around and soaked in my surroundings, I realised that this was very much a simple and self-sustaining set-up. I then pictured my own space back home with all its technological interferences and somewhat complicated and bustling city living vibes and promised myself to simplify things once I returned home.
Chiaki talked about the warmth of washi and I understood her completely. I have always felt a strong connection with paper as a material that I understand and know and feel comforted by. Perhaps that’s why this space felt so right. No entangled wires, computer screens, printers, phones, noisy neighbours, cars… etc. Just paper, tools, books and drawing materials, kozo, country air, quietness and a very cute cat.
Not only did I get to visit the beautiful studio space that day, I was also given beautiful works of art to take home. They are paper tapestries that Chiaki makes and they are the prettiest pieces ever. I was also able to organise some of Chiaki’s works to be available in the shop – YAY! Also if you want to see more of Chiaki’s work and studio, it features heavily throughout this book about artisans and handicrafts.
**images © upon a fold **