Travelling through Japan via a van is incredible. Freedom camping is allowed, one morning we woke up after travelling late through the night, we had decided to stop along this bay where we were greeted by Mt. Fuji early in the morning.

We crossed over Awaji Island, considered the Birthplace or old country Japan. Alternate electricity is wide spread across Japans countryside with wind and solar the main contenders.

We visited a poppy farm where we met this man and his dog, inseparable. 

Overlooking the Tokushima Mountains.

One of the main reasons for visiting Japan was the opportunity to see where the paper I use comes from. We reached the Awagami Factory in Tokushima after a long drive through the countryside up a series of mountains in the hopes of finding a suitable location for printing, the day was scorching, with temperatures over 35 degrees. We decided to head to the factory and to meet the makers.

Abe-san greeted us and took us through the factory showroom and walked us through the history and process of making paper. 

We tried our hand at making paper, on a smaller scale we used our hands to agitate the solution where they use the bark of the mulberry bush, stripping it and harvesting season by season. 

We made post cards and a large piece of paper, the delicate balance and nuance of paper making is beautiful to watch. I was left in awe while watching a young woman make large beautiful pieces with the slightest touch and balance of the machine.

Awagami offer artist residencies all over the year with group art shows at the end of the stay, working with the paper and exploring different possibilities within the medium.

It was a beautiful and humbling experience, one that I will not forget.

It is easy to lose sight on the amount of work that goes into everything we use, in the age where everything is instantaneous, where money can come easily and food is on our plate before we know it. I feel it is important to look back and evaluate what it takes to have the things we have, to slow down, be patient, to delay gratification and reflect on what is important in our lives. To understand the fundamental of happiness and to realise it is not about having everything but to appreciate everything.