Chiyogami paper from Japan: Tools of my Trade

Chiyogami is the Japanese name of the lustrous paper you see in the photos here.  Here it is written in Japanese – 千代紙 . The character at the end  紙 means paper and pronounced ‘kami’ in Japanese.

The Japanese paper more familiar to us is of course origami – 折り紙 . That tends to be a lot cheaper, but it was the pricier, gold-embellished variety that I took to. I first discovered it while living in Japan for 18 months and it features in much of my recent work.

CHIYOGAMI: A BRIEF INTRODUCTION

Chiyogami paper, also known as yuzen, was developed in the Edo period in Japan by skilled craftsmen. The vibrant patterns are silk-screened and if they remind you of kimono fabric that’s because that was the inspiration for the colourful surface designs. That’s why in traditional designs you’ll spot typically Japanese themes: cherry blossom and autumn leaves, for instance. The picture you see above was a pricier piece, but there are now cheaper alternatives.

chiyogami paper stationery store kokura japan

CAN I BUY IT IN JAPAN?

chiyogami pink red sakura gold stunning

HOW I USE CHIYOGAMI

I posted a bit about my work here the other day. I add random strips of chiyogami torn from larger sheets or cut out rings and circles to collage onto my brightly-coloured abstracts. It seems a bit of a sacrilege to rip this precious paper up and only buy it for this reason. Additionally, I cut out frames with my metal ruler and cutting board to edge cards and larger artworks.

Chiyogami paper from Japan: Inspiration for my work by Glasgow artist Emerald Dunne.

 

Do you know any other places to buy Japanese paper? Drop me a line in the comments below.

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