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Shoji 3

This is the third and final type of shoji I explain in the book. It’s back to the mizugoshi structure. The upper section is known as a kawari-gumi pattern. Kawari in this sense means variation, and refers to the variation from the standard pattern. The term is also used when patterns branch in from either side of the shoji, as in this case. The skills gained in making this pattern form the foundation needed to make the much more difficult and complex kōzu patterns, especially the futae- and mie-kōzu patterns.

The base pattern is the
izutsu-tsunagi. Izutsu means “well curb”, the cube structure surrounding a well, and tsunagi simply means “join” or “joint”. As with most of these patterns, there are a few name variations, but this is the one that is normally used.

Kawari-gumi

I also explain in detail how to make a few extra patterns, including different ways of making the
asa-no-ha.

The timber I used in this shoji is Huon pine. Here in Australia timber has always been a struggle for me. In Japan,
bei-hiba (Alaska yellow cedar) is one of the more commonly used timbers for shoji. It’s a beautifully straight- and tight-grained timber that leaves a highly polished look and feel when finished with a hand-plane. Unfortunately I can’t get hold of it here in Australia. I’ve tried other timbers, and while they finish well with the hand-plane, I’ve never really been particularly happy with them.

Huon pine is the closest I can find to the
bei-hiba. It has a similar colour and aroma, and the hand-planed surface glistens, but it is a highly protected species (and rightfully so), and the timber can vary in quality and is not always readily available. So to everyone who can get hold of good quality yellow cedar, I’m extremely envious.
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