kyoko ibe
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kyoko ibe


Kyoko Ibe started her artistic creation using handmade paper at a time when the material was used exclusively for traditional Japanese arts and crafts. After completing a Masters degree at the Kyoto Institute of Technology in 1967, Ibe continued working with paper and has been invited to more than twenty countries for exhibitions, workshops, lectures, teaching, and as a jury member. Her work pushes the limits of paper, transforming a craft into an art form. She also creates large scale installations, a wide range of interior products, stage sets, and costumes. Ibe's radically new approach to paper combines a respect for tradition with technological experimentation. She has collaborated with many foreign theater groups, and received an Isadora Duncun Visual Design Award for the stage set of Tandy Beal Company in 1987. She recently had a solo exhibition at the Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, where she was an adjunct professor. She has received many awards, nationally and internationally; and was selected to be a Cultural Ambassador in 2009 by the Agency of Cultural Affairs of Japan. She is a professor at the Kyoto Institute of Technology and a director for the Japan Paper Academy.

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washi making  

About Washi (traditional hand made paper)

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In Japan, the production of papermaking goes back to the 7th century. It was invented by the Chinese in 2nd - 3rd century BC. A special technique of making paper using tree fiber as the raw material was developed and it became the prototype of production for washi. The development of papermaking in Japan was indebted to Japan's geo-ecological conditions, climate, religious beliefs and it's people's mentality.

Among daily necessities paper has played an important role, even
providing clothing and materials for the dwelling. Paper has been used in rituals, ceremonies and festivals throughout Japanese history. Ancient Japanese believed that divine spirits were present in paper. The name "kami" (the general word for paper) has the same pronunciation as the word for the gods or deities in Japan.

In the 20th century, paper used in everyday life is made by machines. However, there are still a few hundred Japanese families engaged in traditional papermaking - people who are living cultural treasures for not only Japan, but the world.

A single sheet of hand made white paper is a quiet, solitary object. It causes one to calm the heart and gives a warm, peaceful feeling that can't come from machine made paper. One of the principal developers of the tea ceremony, SEN RIKYU, in the 16th century declared four words to elucidate Japanese aesthetics: Harmony, Respect, Purity and Tranquility. The Japanese paper is the most eloquent expression of SEN RIKYU's idea. It is perfectly adapted to express an eco-aesthetic sensibility which can carry us into the future with beauty and mindfulness of our fragile, precious natural world.