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one thousand years


Photography by David Brunetti

Returning to Japan in 2019, Ellie revisited Fukushima and the papermaking region around Nihonmatsu city. In the past small villages such as Kamikawasaki supported a thriving household papermaking industry and the quality of the paper in this region has a thousand year old history. Ellie cuts and rolls paper from this area to make paper thread, kami-ito, leaving other fragments as a calligraphic trace of this history.

Through each piece of paper, paper thread, paper-cast or vessel she holds in visual form the material heritage of the people of Tohoku. A series of 40 vessels explore the fragile yet enduring quality and allure of kozo, paper mulberry, and become a metaphor for this area devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami and the nuclear disaster which followed in its wake. Ellie intends to exhibit her vessels alongside a collection of paper and artefacts from Japan’s ‘Deep North’ to coincide with the tenth anniversary of this tragedy in 2021.

’It is said that paper is made by people, but it would be better to say that the blessedness of nature produces paper.....Those who study washi study at the same time the depth of nature.‘ Soetsu Yanagi


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