Release | みふねたまき（Tamaki Mifune）
“ORITO” in Sapporo - beautiful origami works that put images to falling snow on Japanese papers
It feels very relaxing when your home is filled with gentle lightings in the coming winter season, the season with long, long nights. When people think about gentle lights, they often think of lampshades made with Japanese papers. So, I would like to introduce ORITO’s Misato Shinada. She is based in Sapporo and creates unique Japanese paper works such as lampshades and mobiles.
She also hosts events called “Kamiyoi” every month and opens her studio to the public. I visited her to hear about her stories.
Her natural instinct developed in Awaji Island
▲This is the sign of ORITO on the front door. I will explain the origin of the name ORITO later in this article.
I found a house with a small sign of ORITO on the front door at about a 10-minutes walk from JR Hoshioki Station. Here is Misato’s studio.
Misato usually concentrates on “folding” here quietly. She opens the studio to the public from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM on the days when she hosts “Kamiyoi.” It is an event that visitors can get lectures about “folding” from Misato while having delicious sweets and coffee. There were many repeat visitors and new participants in the studio on the day I visited. They were spending the time as they like. Some of them kept folding at their own paces, and others were enjoying to chat.
I was very interested in the workshop, but let’s hear about Misato herself, “folding” at ORITO, and the origin of it.
▲Misato is explaining about the workshop. Various works decorate her studio.
Misato was working as a Japanese language teacher in Awaji Island during her late twenties. She was influenced by people who involved in primary industries such as fishery and agriculture when she met various people during her life on the island with plenty of nature.
“When I talk with fishermen and farmers, I experienced many moments that I felt they had developed what I call natural instinct. I was very surprised. For example, they could forecast rains by seeing changes in the far sky or feeling winds with their skins. They could find edible wild plants three meters away in the mountains. I thought it was very cool that they live with nature. I am a human, too, so I should have such an ability. However, I felt that I was weak at it. I wanted to restore my natural instinct.”
▲She displays her favorite things on an old chest. The white box-shaped object on the right is Misato’s work.
To retrieve her natural instinct, she wanted to touch grounds. She consulted with her friends and acquaintances about how she could do that. She was lucky that the timing was perfect for involving in the specialty development project for the administration’s urgent employment. She quit her Japanese language teacher job and turned herself into a farmer, although for a limited time. She cultivated fallow fields under supervisions of locals, grew sunflower without pesticides, and pressed oil in one year.
“I went to the farm every day, took out grasses, and touched grounds. I had a feeling that I was opening gradually. Many artists lived on the island, and I was helping their events and cafes in between my farming work. They might have influenced me as I watched them creating something.”
She decided to become a person to fold when she was impressed by falling snow
▲Japanese paper mobiles swing gently.
She finished the contracted period and went back to Sapporo, where she was born and raised, from Awaji Island in January 2013. It was the time when the town gets covered with snow.
“I was very impressed by winter sceneries, which I thought I had been used to seeing. Quietly falling snow and icy air that came in through my nose felt different from the past. I became wanting to express my impression by using my hands. I may have wanted to put out something I had been storing inside.”
She wanted to move her hands and looked for something around. Then, origami caught her eyes. She kept folding papers for two weeks, as if she was possessed, and created many different shapes unconsciously.
▲She gives advice to participants at workshops according to their requests.
“I felt very nice when I faced only papers and moved my hands without distractions. I felt like I got clean. I felt extremely fulfilled when I was folding, and I could fold papers for hours. Maybe I was crazy at that time. (lol) My parents worried about me and they suggested me to work… So, I started working at a cafe.”
The art piece she made at that time is called “kikka,” and consists of 16 layers of papers. Flower petals are made with Japanese paper layers delicately. It also looks like snow crystals. The beautiful work captures my heart.
“I didn’t have a distinct image of shapes. I just wanted to make a shape that would look beautiful from every angle.”
▲“kikka” is the origin of Misato’s folding works.
She just kept moving her hands and created beautiful shapes unconsciously. It is surprising that Misato herself does not know how she made the shape. But she is lucky. She can trace how her hands worked by opening the folds one by one because her artworks are made with papers.
▲“kikka” gets bigger when it absorbs moistures in the air, just like a flower blooms.
“When I finish folding, I always check my procedures by opening the folds. There are always discoveries of my folds, and I can memorize how to fold by opening works while my memory is fresh. I file the shapes of each step of folding. I forget after a while, so I need to check my file every time. I feel like I am folding from scratch every time.”
She makes her mind completely clear when she faces papers. Misato said folding papers is very close to meditating. I can understand.
The encounter with a Japanese paper artist
▲She changes various papers depending on works such as lampshades, mobiles, and accessories.
Misato liked to use tracing papers, which is thin and transparent when she began folding. People related to galleries in Sapporo gave her the advice to do some proper work when she made a video about her mobile works and uploaded to a social network.
She came up with an idea to use Japanese paper instead of tracing papers from that advice. After a while, she meets a Kurotani Japanese paper artist, as if she was led by fate.
“An invitation to the exhibition of Wataru Hatano, a Japanese paper artist, was delivered to the cafe that I was working for. I was astonished when I saw his profile. He was from Awaji Island, he had lived in Hokkaido and was involved in farming when he was there, and now he creates Kurotani Japanese paper in Kyoto.” They had so many common things, and she felt that she had to meet him. She visited Hatano, who was in the gallery during the exhibition. They talked about Awaji Island, Hokkaido, agriculture, etc., and got along with each other very soon.
▲Kozo, a hybrid mulberry tree used to make Japanese paper, is the ingredient of Kurotani Japanese paper.
“I showed him what I make. He got interested and told me that he would send me one paper if I decided to use Japanese papers. I was delighted. My folding works became art pieces since then. I started making accessories according to my friends' requests, adding to mobiles, and the number of variations increased.”
▲These are earrings using motifs of “kikka.”
▲These are accessory parts made with Japanese papers dyed with natural colors.
Turning “folding” into her work as “ORITO”
▲The second floor of the studio is a gallery. She displays her works, such as lamps and mobiles.
After that, the number of her folding works increased. Selected shops started to stock her works from conversations with customers of the cafe, which Misato was working for. She was involved in responsible works at the cafe at that time and thought that she was not capable of doing both works. She wanted to concentrate on folding works and quit the cafe in 2015. “I felt that I had a place to hide if I have regular incomes. I decided to work on folding by burning my bridge behind me.
▲Misato is putting on foldable lamp shades.
She started her first step as a “folding” artist in 2016. She gets called for creating light shades for the whole hotel soon after the new year. It was her first job after she put up herself. The request and the number of pieces she had to make was much higher from the past. She could finish the project under extremely high pressure, but she got exhausted physically and mentally.
▲Fibers on the light create beautiful patterns.
Misato thought she could not continue her life like that. “I was rude to work with cooperations without making a company, and I thought of quitting. However, I could not give up folding and decided to make it into a proper business.” She put her will to become a person to fold and restarted as “ORITO” in 2017.
She wants to advocate attractions of Japanese paper to many people
▲The lampshade looks like some kind of mineral that exists in nature.
“I have visited many places in Japan and hold exhibitions and workshops at galleries and many other things. Some magazines started to feature me, and I feel like my works started to be admitted to people gradually.”
She had a great encounter that connects to 2020 at an exhibition in Osaka that was held in September 2019. In addition to that, she will teach in university about her folding as a part-time teacher.
▲“My happiest moment is when I fold papers by following my feelings at the studio, surrounded by Japanese paper,” Misato says.
“One of my roles is to tell proper knowledge about Japanese paper. People can feel close to Japanese paper by looking at my work. Things like that would rise demands to Japanese paper and make the lives of Japanese paper artists stable. I feel that is my mission; no one told me to do that, though. Papers are one of the closest components of creations. So I would like children to feel close to Japanese papers more and more.” She talks more enthusiastically when she tells about Japanese paper.
▲Kurotani Japanese paper in Kyoto is strong and uneasy to break. It is often used for repairments of cultural properties. Misato can’t do her work without Kurotani Japanese paper.
She is planning to have a university class at her studio so that students who are trying to become art teachers can feel the attractions of Japanese paper and folding closely.
“I think Japanese paper must be used on educational occasions more, and folding itself raises the creativity of children. I feel delighted to make people who can transmit that increase.”
▲It lights the environment like an all-night light.
▲You can encounter various foldings and designs at the gallery space on the second floor.
Misato wants to increase the opportunity for Japanese paper, in which the number of artists is decreasing, being used as a casual component for creation by telling her folding expressions to many people.
▲She teaches her know-hows of ORITO’s folding at workshops.
▲She also teaches patchwork-like art pieces other than folding.
▲Freshly baked goods from “marucuru,” a baked goods wagon shop, on the days of “Kamiyoi.”
▲Misato has a cute smile and voice. He workshop looked very friendly and fun.
Talking with Misato is another attraction of “Kamiyoi,” the once-in-month workshop. There is a big kitchen in the studio, and she offers baked goods, quiche, etc., delivered from “murucuru,” a baked goods wagon shop. She sometimes provides soup or curry for hungry people who visit the studio late at night. Some people look forward to food and participate in the event.
Misato, who used to work at a cafe, makes hand-dripped coffee, and that is also delicious. Check the schedule of her studio and participate in the event.
She is planning to participate in events in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, adding to “Kamiyoi.” Those who live near the area please visit her in this opportunity.
●Kamiyoi @ORITO Studio/Sapporo
November 8, 2019 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
December 13, 2019 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
●pop up shop ULU “Tonari-no-Noir” @shed/Tokyo Futakotamagawa
November 29, 2019 to December 1, 2019
●“Tonari-no-Noir” @shop ULU/Osaka Toyonaka Atelier
December 13, 2019 to December 21, 2019
●NEW CRAFTS NEW YEAR by CreFes @LACHIC 1F/Nagoya Sakae
January 2, 2020, to January 8, 2020
Related Links- ORITO
- ORITO Instagram
Text / Hokkaido Likers writer Tamaki Mifune
Photo / cocoon photographs Asako Yoshikawa