When you decide to make washi at home, one of the challenges you will face is what to do with Neri.
Tororoaoi, a typical raw material for Neri, is a variety of okra, so you may have tried it before, and so I did.
Another difficult point of washi paper making at home is boiling. I tried it with cooking soda and you can read about it at this blog.
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Okura works as natural formation agent for hand papermaking
This is a card I made with formation agent “Neri” made from Okura. It looks perfect, doesn’t it?
So I can say that Okura can be alternative materials of Neri.
By the way this is how we make Neri from Tororaoi for our daily production.
I either had tried it before, but at that time, when I soaked the chopped okra in water and left it overnight, it became very sticky and jelly-like, making it difficult to use. This time, I experimented with three kinds of soaked okra: 30 minutes, one hour, and two hours.
The raw material was a mix of Kozo and Mitsumata and formed in pouring method.
To see the finished paper, the two-hour one is the best. It might be better to leave it longer.
You can see the difference when you see them through the light.
The 30 minutes one was weak and almost useless. The paper was uneven, as if it had been formed without Neri.
since I did pouring method this time, I’m not sure if this formation agent from Okura is also working with Nagashi-suki method which is special way of washi.
How to eat the Okura after paper making.
The problem is how to eat the okra after taking the Neri. Okra is my favorite vegetable, and I want to eat it well, but the okra after it has been soaked in water is so sticky that it makes me feel a little sick.
This time, I ate it as tempura with soba noodle.
My friend said that cook them in omelet. It is reasonable, the stickiness a bit feels like white of eggs. Anyways, but I guess it’s better to use a little okra and soak in water for a longer time.
Please let us know what you think
With this Okura neri and the cooking soda boiling method, now you have an easy way to make your own washi paper. Devising different materials has been around since ancient times, so I guess you could say this is traditional handmade washi!
Of course, you need fiber materials, like Kozo, Mitsumata or Gampi. I will think about it too.
And tools too. But If you think very flexibly, I think you already have most of things. Please check this YouTube video to see what I am saying.
The technique of traditional handmade washi is deep and can go in many different directions. We can say, there are so many directions that it is hard to know which way to go.
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