Yangtse artisans return after learning and the Japanese art of handmade paper making
Womanang is an idyllic village in Trashiyangtse famed for its blacknecked crane, wooden bowl production and Deysho (hand-made paper) making. Agriculture remains the dominant activity.
Very recently, three residents of Wonmang returned from a three-week long training on hand-made paper making and product development in Japan, as part of the JICA funded handmade paper partnership project, implemented by the Department of Cottage and Small Industries and Sekishu Washi Cooperative of Hamada City, Japan.
Thirty year old Penpa Dem, the lone woman in the group operates a small handmade papermaking business. Along with her family, she produces around 10,000 paper annually, earning around Nu. 100,000. She is determined not only to improve the quality of her paper and also increase her output once she gets back.
“Though till now I have been only a part time paper maker’, says 45 year old Pema Rinzin, “I am now planning to incorporate new techniques that I learnt while in Japan and want to start making envelopes, note pads, and cards. I am confident that this business will be successful”. He makes around Nu. 200,000 annually from this business.
The last member of the group Tshering Wanchuk, 41, used to be a Non Formal Education instructor for 15 years, and took up paper making to earn some additional income for the last four years. He is determined to take up paper making on a full time basis, being encouraged with the new skills that he has learnt in Japan.
He says that he was amazed by the dedication and care the Japanese give to their work. The kind of self-discipline, concentration and work attitude they displayed genuinely impressed him.
“We also learnt the value of paper resources and the importance of minimizing wastage during production”, says Pema.
Including the three of them, a total of eight from Yangtse has now been trained in the art of paper-making in Japan. All of them were progressive members of the papermaking group that they formed at the start of this three-year project. Later this year March, three Japanese experts will be in Yangtse to monitor the progress made and provide the last round to training and.