Washi Exhibition at CHIC
at Community House & Information Center in 2018
Isao Nakamura was born in Kaminaka-cho, Haigyu in Tokushima prefecture on the island of Shikoku, one of Japan’s four main islands. This area of Tokushima has a long-standing tradition of washi (Japanese paper) making. His father and other craftsmen in Haigyu taught Nakamura the traditional techniques of washithroughout his youth. As the number of craftsmen able to create Haigyu washi began to dwindle, Nakamura chose to dedicate his life to the paper making techniques from his hometown. He employs traditional methods and materials and does not use industrial chemicals like bleach to produce the textures and colours in his paper.
He harnesses natural resources from Haigyu in the process of production. Mountain water from a nearby stream is used for washing the paper, and the winter sun and snow gives the washi it’s pure white colour. To create coloured paper Nakamura uses methods dating back hundreds of years to achieve a few unique colours: indigo, cherry blossom pink, and to create brown he uses the juice of unripe persimmons known as kaki-shibu.
Nakamura has been involved in a national effort to preserve the Washi legacy. Isao Nakamura holds regular yearly exhibitions of his work in various cities in Japan. Television program have also been produced on his life and work.
In his free time, Nakamura creates pieces of furniture and wood objects. It seems that the unique feeling of wood, with its warm aroma and its smoothness gives Nakamura an additional inspiration for paper making, in which he thrives. Nakamura, a man of nature, works with the products of what he likes best : the forest surrounding his village.