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shifu – woven paper

December 11, 2013

the paper bag shown on my post “paper bags and spindles

has a history

Jean Pierre, who sent this gift, left a comment on the post

the bag was made by 75 year old Kazuko Hirota, the wife of a Buddhist priest in Suzuka-shi, Mie-ken

the shifu was originally used in a Meiji period obi

at least 120 years old

it was used inside the obi and therefore is still in good condition

Hirota-san also made the butterfly pin

gifts 156

after careful examination under the linen count glass, I discovered that the warp threads are also paper

gifts 150

2 1/2 yards of fabric

weaving-finishing 387

the warp is cotton and linen (black)

the white weft is paper

weaving-finishing 396

paper towels woven several years ago for an exhibition

warp is a mix of cotton, linen and hemp

weft is paper

weaving-finishing 096

and a shawl woven for the same exhibition

weaving-finishing 399

the warp is a 2 ply blend of thick and thin ramie and paper produced in the Philippines

the weft is my handspun paper

weaving-finishing 398the flower pin was woven on a Weavette loom with the ramie/paper yarn

weaving-finishing 400and a casual obi woven on a handspun silk/hemp warp

dyed with madder

paper (shifu) weft

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Lazaro K. Estrada permalink
    January 1, 2014 2:36 pm

    Speaking of kozo, the traditionally-made kozo paper is so strong that basketmakers can weave it, weavers can spin it and make shifu thread from it which can then be woven, sewers can stitch it, and jewellers can wet and shape it into small articulated shapes. (It is also regularly used by jewellers who lay their wares on it to entice buyers.) Furniture makers have used it to cover chests and tables, candle-holders and screens. One woodworker we know laminates it between glass for insertion in cupboard doors.


  2. December 12, 2013 1:46 am



  3. December 11, 2013 11:48 pm

    The pin is amazing. Is it wrapped or knotted/tied?


  4. December 11, 2013 7:32 pm

    Such wonderful paper weavings. I think you’ve given me the push to design a project for the paper yarn in my stash.


  5. Renee' permalink
    December 11, 2013 6:36 pm

    I think that shawl was one of the first images that came up when I first started looking up shifu. … which is how i found you.


  6. December 11, 2013 5:59 pm

    jean, these are great, and such a good tale! the lokta i use for shifu is very fine, high quality and is formed on a sugeta in the japanese method NOT the nepalese. it is an entirely different paper than most! it’s very, very hard to source.


    • December 11, 2013 8:41 pm

      Velma – I know the lokta you sent me was very nice the use. I will write down the description and see if I can find any.
      Renee – such small threads that connect us through out the internet. so happy you found me.
      Barb – did you cut and spin your thread? make something special – for yourself.


  7. December 11, 2013 1:42 pm

    Such lovely shift examples…it’s really hard to pick a favorite. I do really love the twill with black and blue, and the one with the madder: Nah, all of them! I need to try shift with higher quality paper. The lokta didn’t really do it for me.


    • December 11, 2013 3:00 pm

      Kristin – the lokta paper Velma was different but the thread was good. I think she hand picks it very carefully – something I’m not able to do here.

      Heather – I was absolutely thrilled with the bag and amazed that J.P. found it and knew how unique it is.


  8. December 11, 2013 1:17 pm

    Oh, my goodness, Jean. These are so exquisite. I will make sure J.-P. sees this post, he will be so impressed.


    • Jean-Pierre Antonio permalink
      December 12, 2013 2:58 am

      I have just seen this post and am very, very impressed. Incredible craftship. I’ll show Mrs. Mandu, the source of the fibre used to make the little kozo bag, She’ll love your work.


      • December 12, 2013 9:15 am

        J.P. – thank you, please tell Mrs. Mandu how pleased I am with the bag,
        Neki – the gift bag really inspired me to get back to shifu
        Deb – mostly wrapped,it’s a lovely technique.


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