‘Washi’ is the general term for handmade paper made with Japanese techniques, literally meaning ‘Wa’, Japanese and ‘Shi’, paper. Whereas paper making in Japan started during the Nara period (710 to 794 B.C.), the craft only started to flourish during the Edo period (1603 and 1868).
IEDA Paper Craft was established 1889 in Mino city, which is located in the center of Japan close to Nagoya. They have been producing fine handmade Washi paper for over 128 years and are now run by the 4th generation; Manabu Ieda. Originally specialized in processing their paper for Japanese paper lanterns, Mr. Ieda realized that with the decrease in traditional crafts, and the Japanese market as a whole, they would have to innovate in order to keep their business and craft alive.
Their motto now is: "No matter how beautiful a piece of paper is, it has no value unless it can find a meaning and purpose in people’s daily life". With this, they did not only decide to create products for a modern audience, but also to introduce their beloved traditional craft o the rest of the world!
A piece of natural Washi paper is 100% natural organic and handcrafted. It is sustainable, waste-free and eco-friendly as it does not use any chemicals.
Watch this video to learn how to learn how to apply IEDA's window decoration
Teaming up with Vera Ilyushechikina, a Russian designer, they created a wide range of Washi snows flake window decoration, that were re-usable, unique and still made with the traditional Japanese methods. Ilyushechikina got her inspiration for the designs from her memories of kindergarten in Russia, where she would craft snowflakes with her classmate and compete who would make the best pattern. Combining her designs with the delicate, strong and white Washi papers, the snowflakes turned out to look very realistic, especially due to their translucent features, manipulating the light, and their blurry borders, which are adjusted each individually, by hand. The unique snowflakes are now Ieda’s bestselling product and selling in 15 different countries as well as appearing regularly on trade shows in Frankfurt and Paris. They once even received an order for 840,000 snowflakes, from Switzerland!
IEDA Paper Craft has managed to revive their family business along with the traditional paper craft industry through their contemporary designs. In recent years the company also expanded to washi printing, through stenciling, silkscreen and inkjet printing, and keeps finding new ways to convince modern customers of the traditional beauty of their product. As craftsman Hoki explains: Only a connoisseur will appreciate the high-quality Washi paper by itself. The only way to successfully revive the Washi industry is by creating products that are part of people’s daily life and introduce modern forms accessible to everyone.
Their aim is to provide ‘the sustainable and authentic “beauty of utility” in modern life’.
Washi Reusable Window Decorations
These beautifully designed snowflakes are a collaboration with Russian artist Vera Ilyushechikina, who got inspired by her childhood in Russia.
Washi Handmade Paper
The earrings make for a great, Japanese gift, and will spark conversation wherever you wear them.
Washi Paper Handmade
These traditional Japanese paper hand fans are hand crafted and designed with beautiful patterns.