Kauai Gallery of Wood, Fiber, &Photographic Art

Aloha! The paper-making technique Washi (wa=hand, shi=paper) was taught to Nancy by master paper-maker Susan Olsen on Kauai. Susan studied in a small country hamlet in Japan called Obara. Several hundred years ago, during the Edo period, there were many artists working there. Now just a handful are carrying on this almost-lost art.

Nancy gathers plants such as Banana, Paper Mulberry, and Bird-of-Paradise from the gardens, fields, and forests of Kauai. She pounds and cooks the material to eliminate the cellulose. What's left are the fibers, which she bleaches, chops, and dyes in a pallet of colours. Then the magic really begins!

The variously-dyed fibers are suspended in water and muscilage. Nancy picks up some of the solution with a turkey baster and floods it onto a screen. The liquid drains through, and the screen catches the fiber. With repeated applications, using different colours, and manipulating the wet pulp with bamboo knives or even toothpicks, she "paints" a picture which becomes the paper!


email: waynan@kauai-woodandfiber.com