Thursday, February 10, 2011

Student Learning to Make Japanese Wallscroll (Kakejiku)

This blog post is about a lesson of a student that came to learn how to make Wallscrolls or Kakejiku 掛け軸from me. It was a three day session from February 7th to February 9th. This student purchased my book How to Make Handmade Wallscrolls about 6 months ago. The reading was difficult as English was not her native tongue, and she felt it would be easier to learn it hands on than attempting to do it herself. If anyone would like to order the book go to You can also take a class directly at the Bonsai in the Bluegrass convention in Louisville Kentucky on June 16, 2011. If you have questions contact to

This student is a very talented calligrapher Shouka and not only studies with my wife, Ryugyoku, but also with several Japanese Buddhist Shoka as well. The first thing that she was not familiar with was removing the works after attaching the Urauchi (layer of paper attached to a cloth or a paper). The most time involved in the process was deciding the color of the kireji and kinran cloths.  I suspected before the class started that this would take about one and a half hours.

Monday afternoon was then spent doing the Hada Urauchi on the Cloths, Ichimonji and artworks. I was very satisfied with her attention to detail. We did have two problems with one of the works, but that was not one selected for the final scrolls. Other topics discussed were alternative methods of doing the Urauchi and the proper preparation of the glue for each step. Another point she was surprised with was the ease with which the specialty paper that is used only for Urauchi helps in doing these steps correctly and especially not getting Shiwa (wrinkles) in the artwork.

Tuesday was an all day event removing the cloths, Ichimonji and artworks and then reassembling into the scroll. This was the longest day, and if we had not gone at the pace I made us go at we easily could have gone to 8:00 P.M. However, we finished at 5:00. The only complaint was that there were no coffee breaks…I am a bit of a slave driver, but it show how much I love my profession of scrollmaking.

Wednesday we did not really get started until about 11:45 AM. But it still took us until 3:00 PM to get everything done. The pictures are a few steps on this last day.

Pictures of finished scrolls will be posted tomorrow.

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