Japanese Papermaking (ARTST-269)

Japanese Paper Making (ARTST-269)

Image courtesy of Rie Hachiyanagi

Offered: Every spring semester

Instructor: Rie Hachiyanagi

In this course, students learn how to relate to nature in a compelling way—through the traditional practice of Japanese hand papermaking and its contemporary applications. While learning how to make thin, translucent, strong paper, they develop respect for natural fiber. This hands-on learning involves how to listen to sounds of water, how to feel water on the fingertips, and how to see the state of fiber in water.

In addition to learning how to form a sheet of such paper, students study Japanese aesthetics through its historical context, films, essays, museum objects from Japan, and the Japanese teahouse on campus. They also collaborate on constructing large-format paper for architectural applications while understanding the importance of paper for Japanese architecture and daily life.

For their art projects, students utilize their own handmade paper for drawing, printmaking, sculptural construction, paper casting, and installation art. The fluidity of this unique paper naturally encourages students to become interdisciplinary in their art making. The apparent fragility, structural strength, and surprising longevity of the material become grounds for philosophical investigations into the nature of creativity.