5 January 2007

Folding is the first step in itajime. I’m going to practice on paper since it is the easiest to fold. The goal today is to produe grids or networks by dyeing the edges just one color.
I have some rice paper I bought but any absorbent paper will work. Absorbent papers you may have in your house include paper towels and coffee filters. Test any paper you want to use to see that it is absorbent. It does not have to be as absorbent as a paper towel but if it doesn’t suck up some water it won’t work. I am using sumi ink today; it was the largest bottle of ink in the store. You need plenty to pour into a shallow dish. You will dip the folded paper into the ink so the ink needs to be about ¼” or 0.5cm deep and the dish needs to be bigger than the folded paper.
The trick with all itajime is to fan fold (or accordion fold, different words same fold) the goods so that each edge is exposed to the ink/dye.
fan fold.jpg
Here you can see that each edge can touch the ink.
You can now dip the folded edges in ink/dye. If you don’t have a dish or tray the length of the paper you can loosely curl it around to fit in your dish. This tends to open it up more in some places but that can create interesting variations.
fanfold ink.jpg
This was curled up and opened in the middle. You can also see that all the folds did NOT
line up precisely and consequently some folds were too high to touch the ink. Precision in folding is rewarded with every edge getting ink.
Or the paper that is fan folded can be fan folded in the other directions. The most obvious fold is a square.
Just make sure that you go back and forth folding. If you go over and over in folding you will create and inside and outside and the dye will have difficulty getting to the inside.
sq fold ink.jpg
Here I am just dipped all the edges in the sumi ink.
Even in the second fan fold it can be difficult to get the ink/dye to the innermost layer. Here I am peeking to see if the ink came all the way to the inner layer.
peek inside.jpg
Folding squares makes an all over grid.
Now the second fold can be a right triangle, again back and forth, also called a flag fold.
rt triangle fold.jpg
flag folded.jpg
Here I dyed all the edges.
trinagle dyed.jpg
Now the ink did not get to all the insides of all the folds; it did penetrate on the right but not on th left. This means that one bar or line of the grid will be missing in the overall pattern.
inside triangle.jpg
Now the pattern is a grid with diagonals making a cross in the center. Just because they are done the same way doesn’t mean that they will look the same, but they will have the same symmetry.
rt triangle grid.jpg
rt triangle grid 2.jpg
To be continued…



  1. Marguerite Says:

    Thanks, this is fun!


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