Wataru’s hope is that his work will help re-establish Washi as a sought-after material for use in many facets of Japanese living. His skill and unique, contemporary sensibilities have seen his work gain a very high demand, not only as art pieces, but also for adorning the walls and shoji screens of many new establishments.
Whilst constantly pushing the boundaries of the medium, Wataru also utilises his knowledge of tradition to apply established Japanese materials. The addition of konnyaku paste, persimmon tannin and vegetable oil to the surface of his Washi (Japanese paper) to make it more durable, water-resistant, antiseptic and act as an insect-repellent.
Originating from the town of Kurotani in Northern Kyoto prefecture, Kurotani Washi (Japanese Paper) has been designated as prefectural intangible cultural property.
It is said that some 800 years ago, a solider from the defeated Heike clan managed to elude his pursuers and developed the traditional paper making method to sustain while living in seclusion in the mountains. Though primarily used for shoji screens, lanterns and patterns for kyo-yuzen dyeing, it is world renowned as a material for restoring paintings due to its superior durability. Even today, it is produced with natural ingredients using the same handmade techniques.