The introduction of the Artist vol.16 Ms. Etsuko Hirahara

The famous Tsumami-zaiku artist will talk about their thoughts about Tsumami-zaiku.


1970 –  Encounter with Tsumami-e (Tsumami-zaiku pictures)

1975 ~ –  Founded  Wakaba Style Tsumami-e. Develop teaching methods for Wakaba Style Tsumami-e and raised Tsumami-e professors in various places.


Q1. How did you start working on Tsumami-zaiku? (Or did you get involved?)

I loved crafts since I was a child, and while I was learning various types of crafts, I met Tsumami-zaiku. I was immediately fascinated by Tsumami-e, which creates amazing pictures by folding square thin silk in just two different techniques. Soon, I wanted to be involved in Tsumami-e as a career for the rest of my life.

Q2. What are your commitments to your work and what do you care about?

As an original Wakaba-style Tsumami-e, we have build up the entire process (design, dyeing, background painting, techniques, training of successors, and provision of materials) and continue to pursue our own techniques and expressions to get more closely to paintings.

Q3. What is the attractiveness of Tsumami-zaiku for you?

I put my heart and soul into each piece of thin silk, and create works of art. By this hand made process, I can feel the change of the seasons and I can appreciate the relaxing flow of time that Japanese people are nowadays most likely to forget.

Q4. What do you think about the future possibilities of Tsumami-zaiku?

We are facing a enormous change of circumstances. No matter how IT develops in the future, the sensitivity to the four seasons imprinted on Japanese people’s DNA will never be forgotten.

Japan has four seasons, and our ancestors have passed on the importance of creating fine Japanese handicrafts through the seasons.

In 2013, the word “Omotenashi” was praised by people around the world as the “spirit of harmony” that Japanese people possess. I believe that this Tsumami-e, which is based on the “spirit of harmony,” will be more and more recognized by people around the world in the future.

Q5. What do you want to make in the future?

I want to create works that match the modern lifestyle and appeal to the younger generation while preserving the dignity of traditional Japanese craftsmanship.

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