Originating over a thousand years ago, shoji screens have become synonymous with the simplicity and elegance found in the interiors of Asian homes. The styles have not changed much over the years but the Western world is now becoming more appreciative of shoji screens for the graceful style and functionality they provide.
The basic shoji screen is made from a wooden frame with a horizontal and vertical grid system. A layer of hand-made paper is adhered to the back of the shoji frame. A custom shojij screen will divide a room into different areas and allow light to pass through, creating the sense of a larger, brighter space. Shoji screens can also be purely ornamental.
Over the centuries, Shoji screens have typically been designed one of two ways: the paper is left unornamented and adhered to the back of the wooden grid, or the grid is not used and the paper is applied directly to the shoji frame and decorated with calligraphy, Asian landscape imagery, or other objects.
In addition to using these two methodes, I also produce what I call "Mosaic Shoji". First, hand-made Japanese paper is applied to the wooden frame. Then I design, cut and apply an image onto the first layer of paper using contrasting types of Japanese paper. You can see many examples of my work with "Mosaic Shoji" throughout this site.
Custom shoji screens can be engineered many different ways to solve numerous design challenges.They are very versatile. Contact me to learn more about custom shoji screens systems and how their beauty and functionality can be added to your home.
Shoji Screens & Their Uses
There are two ways shoji screens are generally used – freestanding and fixed.
Freestanding screens are great for dividing up different areas of a home or room. Because they are movable they can be adjusted to accommodate day-to-day needs. Freestanding screens also make one-of-a-kind pieces of art that can be lit from behind, placed in front of a window or set against a wall.
Fixed screens come in a variety of forms – sliding, hinged and removable. Sliding panels often act as doorways or window coverings, similar to patio doors. Hinged screens are usually placed in a window or wall opening and can be opened or closed with ease. Hinged screens are often added to windows and act as shutters or blinds. Removable shoji panels are usually smaller in size and also cover a window or wall opening.
Shoji & Furniture
Cabinet sides and doors are a great place for shoji and hand-made Japanese paper. I infuse my furniture design with shoji elements to create a subtle yet refined style.
The visual elements of shoji screens can vary greatly. A simple grid of horizontal and vertical rungs is a traditional favourite, adding strength and visual appeal. Changing the number and location of the rungs provides an opportunity to create something unique for every client.
Japanese Hand-Made Paper
Japanese paper has warmth, strength, and a beautiful texture, available in a myriad different colours and styles. Japanese hand-made paper is an art unto itself. In my work the paper is usually the focus of the entire piece.
Stronger than western paper, hand-made paper can best be described as a strong, easily worked piece of cloth, made from organic material. It adds texture, colour and an organic quality to a piece of furniture.
If you would like to learn more about the available Japanese hand-made papers, please contact me. I’m always interested in teaching people about this amazing material. I can show you my portfolio of samples ranging from Gampi Udaban – a lightly coloured, simple paper – to Taniai – a thick, richly coloured paper from Gohoku Village, made with red clay.
Equinox Interiors - Handmade Furniture Shoji Classes