Washi Tour 2010 Part 4 Yamamoto – Suketa (papermaking tool) maker

Day 3 and the first visit of the morning is to see 81 year old Yamamoto Tadayoshi, long time suketa maker. A suketa is the frame washi is made in; su being bamboo screen and keta being the wooden frame. In the studio at his house, he makes the su, keta, and hinges by hand. The art of splitting and joining bamboo splints for the screen (su) required years of apprenticeship.

When we came in, he was in the process of repairing a keta (frame) that was not made professionally.Yamamoto-san himself is one of a very few number of professional suketa makers in Japan. The first thought that came to our minds was “is he apprenticing the next generation??”. Sadly, he did not seem to have any at the moment.

He uses Japanese cypress for the frames, and copper for the hinges.

above: shaving the Japanese Cypress. He uses Japanese cypress for the frames, and copper for the hinges.

above: using recycled irons to weave the bamboo splints in forming the screens. There are different weights depending on the thickness of the thread desired.

above: a crowd pleaser, Yamamoto-san demonstrates splitting and joining bamboo, we also tried it and can confirm it was not remotely easy!

Coming up next: Shikoku-Wagami – Machine Made Gampi Paper

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One thought on “Washi Tour 2010 Part 4 Yamamoto – Suketa (papermaking tool) maker”

  1. Thank you for sharing this. It is really important that these shokunin/craftsman get some attention. People need to become aware what it takes to make this seemingly simple pieces. Supporting them is the only way to keep these crafts alive.

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