Nettle, Willow fibre


Made in

Biodegradable 236 Circular 220 Fibre 66 Paper 25 Plant-based 172

Nettle, Willow fibre
Nettle, Willow fibre
Nettle, Willow fibre
Nettle, Willow fibre
Nettle, Willow fibre
Nettle, Willow fibre

Photos: Aniela Fidler Wieruszewska and Tom Mannion

In The Spirit of Kamiko

The invention of the paper shirt or Kamiko in Japanese, has long been lost to time. Perhaps first made by a Buddhist monk or a rural farmer, it came in response to a shortage of textiles. With time, Kamiko became embedded with meaning. It became symbolic of the 'transitoriness of life and cycles of nature as the paper clothes would gradually disintegrate with time and wear.'

Industrial development has made materials and products from across the globe readily obtainable, cheaper, and more accessible. Naylor and Ball (2005) argued that mass production has led to greater consumption and, as a result, 'a mass devaluing of ever-increasing products manufactured'.

'In the Spirit of Kamiko' is a craft project that aims to revive the symbolic message behind the Japanese paper shirt and encourage reflection on the impermanence of things and how, in the time of environmental crisis, we need our cultural craft practices to reconnect with the ecological cycles in nature.

Making process

Firstly, the designer collected nettle plants and willow branches from the North area of London. Following this, the plants had to go through initial processing. While nettle plants could be used as a whole, including leaves and stems, the willow branches had to be cooked and the outer bark separated from the inner bark. The outer layer of bark scraped off.

To make the paper sheets, nettle plants and willow bark were cooked with an addition of soda ash (Interestingly, the willow fibre would turn pink at this stage). After cooking and rinsing, the nettle plants and willow fibre were beaten into a pulp. Lastly, the fibre pulp was mixed with water and rice thickener, sifted through a mould and deckle and dried. Small amounts of mitsumata fibre were mixed into nettle and willow fibre for strength.

Text submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank. For information about reproducing (a part of) this text, please contact the maker.


Nettle fibre, willow bark fibre, mitsumata fibre, PVA glue


Lucy Baxandall (Tidekettle Paper)

Physical samples

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Accessible to participants at the Jan van Eyck Academie and during Open Studios.