Mizuhiki is the traditional Japanese art of knot tying. It is made by tightly winding washi (japanese paper) into a thin cord, then using that cord to tie a series of knots. Sometimes the individual cords are adhered to one another to make a wide strip and then knotted.
The mizuhiki knots and cords create intricate bows and flowers for decoration, and even creative frames or woven/knotted baskets.
In the past, mizuhiki was used as decoration for special cards, letters and gifts for important or high-standing people, and in some cases, to tie the Samurai top knot hairstyle.
Today, mizuhiki is widely used for decorating cards and gifts for occasions like weddings, baby showers, graduations and many other important events.
Growing in popularity both in Japan and overseas, mizuhiki is also being used for table settings, home decor, and even fashion accessories.
Some mizuhiki artists can create beautiful life-like animals and other creative sculptures for display or as a wonderful addition to gift wrap.
The most common decorations are flowers, bows, Japanese cranes, butterflies and carp for both beauty and symbolism. For example, the carp and crane are greatly used to symbolize strength, grace and longevity.
By using basic knot techniques combined with weaving or even a crochet style, it is possible to create beautiful pieces of art like floral bouquets, life-sized sculptures (like carp, butterflies and flowers), or even functional items like place mats, utensil rest, baskets, hair and clothing accessories or lovely decoration that wraps around glassware.
Another important thing to consider is the colour combination. In Japan, colour combinations have a specific meaning for many occasions, so mizuhiki decorations must also follow the theme. For example, special joyous events like weddings use red and white or gold and silver. For births, graduations, house warming and other happy occasions, a simple red and white combination is used, and finally sad events (like funerals) use black, white and silver.
Today, mizuhiki has such a wide range of colours and patterns, it’s simple to use it for anything your can think of from art, decor, fashion and more!
For more information or to see some mizuhiki examples, check out Miho’s mizuhiki page .