Our Beautiful Products 10- Gilded Washi Wallpaper

gilded washi making

This gorgeous and unique wallpaper is a creation of Gabor Ulveczki, a maestro of gilt art and the craftsmen of an historical paper making village in Japan.  Gabor, born in Hungary, set up a workshop in Paris in 1984.  He began experimenting with gilt art to forge a novel style of artistic expression: the unique processes using the oxidation and corrosion of gold, copper, silver and aluminium gives objects stunning colour effects.  He was granted a prestigious Entereprise du Patrimoine Vivant (Living French Heritage Enterprise) in 2007.

Gabor was invited to Ikazaki in Shikoku, one of the main islands in South-West Japan.  It was a part of a programme to revitalise the local commerce.  Ikazaki used to be known for washi paper making for calligraphy.  Japanese children still have calligraphy lessons at school.  They say it is beneficial not only for handwriting, but for posture and concentration.  A friend of mine, who also  practises tea-ceremony, writes a thank-you letter on a scroll of paper.  However, brushes are not used in everyday life anymore.  Paper for calligraphy is not ink-jet printer friendly, and the demand has shrunk dramatically in the last century after hundreds of years.  


Making of gilded washi wallpaper

Gabor moved to Ikazaki for six months with his wife and children.  He was on a mission to create a wallpaper collection using their washi paper.  He worked with paper-making craftsmen and women in the village where he fell in love with the beautiful surroundings.  Ikazaki is known for the wide Oda River, an indispensable water source for paper making, and the god of wind; people believe that the wind god descends here and blesses the village with the ‘dance of winds’.  Gabor was inspired by the unspoilt countryside and took motifs from the plants found in the village of Ikazaki such as lotus, bamboo and camellia.     

As with all the other products Biden loves, the making process is labour intensive.  Handmade wafer-thin paper is backed with lining paper which is hand-painted.  Shadow colour is printed with a silk-screen followed by another layer of glue.  Then, metal leaves are scattered and pressed section by section.  Finally, the excess leaves are carefully brushed off to reveal the patterns.  The depth of colours is phenomenal; metal leaves of gold, copper, silver and aluminium which changed their colours in subtle but entrancing way during the oxidisation process.  Personally I think Gold Mix is the best!  It is richer and more complex than Gold; it is simply gorgeous. 


Gilded washi wallpaper installations

Kuniko Thompson

Kuniko Thompson

Founder of Biden Designs established in 2008. She is passionate about creating beautiful interiors working with designers, architects and Japanese craftsmen.

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