Though I’d often seen these pretty knotted embellishments and ornaments,  I never knew what they were until visiting Nagano Prefecture in Japan. I traveled during the Christmas and New Year’s season, so it was gift-giving and well-wishing time. A lot of mizuhiki therefore even showed up in most combini (convenience stores)’s stationary department.


However, it was only in Iida, Nagano where I became more acquainted with this paper-based twine craft. It is said that 78% of Japan’s mizuhiki comes from Iida. I didn’t have time, but would have liked to take a workshop or class in this art of knotting. Though it’s very common to see ribbon-like mizuhiki, I especially liked the animal-shaped type.

I really would have liked to bring some home, but was worried about transport. I’m not sure in which condition they would have arrived, considering how tightly I needed to pack all my souvenirs and luggage. Already I returned to Canada lugging two knapsacks, two tote bags, and one shoulder bag/purse. People asked why I didn’t just carry one large piece of luggage.

Solo traveler with disabilities.

That’s a good answer, right?

Unknown terrain, ship gangways, limited range of vision, and messed up back and feet often tripping over stupid things such as sidewalks and pebbles. Wearing my luggage freed up my arms for balance. As much as possible, I tried to keep my hands free for holding railings, rummaging for travel fare or just emergency self defense if ever I should come across a shady character in a dark alley. Though… Japan is considered one of the safest countries in the world, and I never felt unsafe LOL. But having disabilities makes one more cautious and more alert, often trying to foresee possible danger.

But I digress. Mizuhiki ‘sculptures’ would have been squashed in my luggage.

Mizuhiki twineMizuhiki twine in artist workshop

Now that I’m back home, I was thinking of experimenting to make pipe-cleaner mizuhiki. It won’t be easy to find the correct materials here, so I thought I might improvise a fuzzy version 🙂

There are a few places online where one may follow knotting courses, and even some mizuhiki Youtube tutorials. That will be a good place to start.

Here are a few resources if you’d like to learn more about this art form:

Make: Projects – Mizuhiki Knot

Iida Mizuhiki Association Japan

Mizuhiki Wiki

More Mizuhiki — First Knots with Japanese Paper Cords


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s