My first attempt at Shifu

Here’s my first attempt at Shifu. Shifu is a Japanese technique for making thread or twine out of paper. The thread is surprisingly strong. At one time Japanese people used to make clothes out of this paper thread, and they would survive laundering and the normal wear and tear that clothes go through.

This Shifu is dyed with soil that I collected in Broome, Western Australia. The colour is beautiful.

The second and third photographs are of some paper prepared for Shifu, also died with Broome red soil. I thought the form was rather beautiful, so I waxed it instead. There are lovely shadows cast by the cut paper.




8 thoughts on “My first attempt at Shifu

  1. Love to read and think about your interesting emails Anthea and am now putting together the equip etc to begin inspired by your workshop…bring on the next!!

  2. Yes, it is rather a long process, particularly if you are dyeing or printing the paper first. And I have yet to decide what to do with my finished thread. But it’s somehow very satisfying, and I can see that it can be a great record of place, holder of secrets, and marker of effort. The work has quite a therapeutic meditative quality.

  3. Nice – I have admired shifu in a paper book – but thought it would be quite time consuming to make. Was it? Loved how you dyed yours with soil as well.

  4. WOw Anthea – so beautiful and delicate!
    A big desert spider -…….!
    I LOVED your experiments with bleach – I too have done some and its so effective – ethereal ghostly quality..

    I bet the wax finish gives it an extra luminosity!!


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