No amount of warning could actually prepare a student for the amount of work and time they must set aside to making washi. Once I gulped down the initial stress of all the work that goes into creating one piece of paper, I rolled up my sleeves and was up to the challenge. Soaking, cooking, and cleaning the fiber felt like an honoring ceremony. Carefully taking care of the kozo just as former Japanese paper makers once did seemed like I was belonging to a different realm of a traditional lineage. Being taught the exact steps that the masters had done for centuries is a way of blessing the kozo.
Soak the fiber for 24/48 hours, then cook the fiber for 2/3 hours turning it every 15 minutes. Once the cooked fiber is cool, pick the fiber until all the outer brown bark is gone. Beat for 5/8 Hours until the fibers have separated. With an evenly rhythmic motion, create sheets of washi and cooch together to make a beautiful post. Sheet Forming Video Separate the sheets and dry them on the board or the windows. Firmly pull your sheets off the boards and TADA! You've made handmade Japanese paper.