Using crushed Tororo Aoi (Abelmoschus manihot) roots is another essential material when making Washi paper. It is called Neri.
This mucilage, or viscous starch, is extracted by crushing the root of the tororo aoi plant.
When placed in water, the neri acts as a suspending agent, spreading the fibers of the kozo evenly.
In the papermaking process, neri works to bind the fibers together. Since neri is not adhesive, it is possible to pull apart the individual layers of paper for the drying process.
Here is the flower of the Tororo Aoi. The roots are used for Neri. It is edible.
Demonstrated by Fumie Matsumoto from Yuzuan Studio
Fumie began handmaking washi in 1995. Over the years, she has learned the value of using only the finest materials and tools, and gained an appreciation of the enduring legacy of traditional papermaking methods.
Fumie pays special attention to the raw materials used, particularly,the kozo plant (paper mulberry). The bark of the kozo shoots are the main materials for making Ogawa Washi. Like the long-established practice of paper artisans, she grows her own kozo and uses only locally grown plants for her washi.
Her Papers are found at WanoKaze Online B2B store at Fumie Matsumoto