A material that’s of high interest to me is bamboo, it’s not something that I have experience with personally, but I have seen a number of craftsman use it to good effect over the years. The Japanese have been able to harness bamboo in a number of ways, it’s played a big architectural role in Japan for example, also being adapted for the kitchen in terms of cutlery and tools, basically if you have a little know-how you can dream up all sorts of creative contraptions with the material. It’s nice to note that bamboo has high antibacterial properties and healing effects, and most importantly is eco-friendly and grows much quicker than wood.
As I was exploring different ideas and applications for bamboo, I came across the Lulu website which sells handcrafted goods online by artisans working in the Oita prefecture, Japan. In fact Oita is the number one producer of the madake variety of bamboo in the country, it’s the most popular variety of bamboo used in handiwork and traditional crafts since it is very flexible and pressure resistant. So it’s natural that would you see such a material in use in the area. One of the most common is basket weaving, and I found a physical representation of the craft on video showcasing Junko Iwata, who is one maker who specialises in this particular work in Oita.
The video, that you can watch below, shows how pieces of bamboo are broken down and worked in to thin individual strips, she then uses a heater to bend the main structural elements. Once dried Junko weaves the baskets by hand, finishing off by placing the handles on top so they can be carried. It’s fascinating to watch and I was really in awe of her skill and patience, I hope these photos also compliment the moving imagery well and get you inspired for the day ahead. You can keep up to date with the work of Junko Iwata via her website below, I’d also recommend following her Facebook page as well for more information. Enjoy.