―KANAORI and ORIAMI®
Could they be bolts of cloth? Or sheets of paper? Only when you pick one up do the unexpected coolness to the touch and light weight make you realize you’re holding wire mesh. A common material with myriad uses, from screen doors and kitchen strainers to industrial and pharmaceutical filters, wire mesh is now also a thing of beauty.
For almost a century Ishikawa Wire Netting Co., Ltd., has been an industry leader producing a wide range of wire mesh in Arakawa, one of Tokyo’s shitamachi neighborhoods. Weaving mesh products, some from wire finer than a human hair, takes considerable technical prowess at every stage. Fine mesh requires precision cutting to avoid unraveling along the edge. And unlike soft materials, metal mesh is hard to cut straight because blades are prone to deviate from the desired line.
The techniques of Japanese wire-mesh manufacturers and the quality of their products are unparalleled in the world. However, in recent years, as less expensive imports have penetrated the market, Ishikawa Wire Netting has—alongside its mainstay mass-produced goods—developed two novel side lines that make full use of finely honed Japanese skills in weaving wire. The company’s Kanaori line has the feel of fine hand-woven textiles, with textures resembling silk moire or herringbone twill. The durable Oriami line is attracting origami crafters. Both products have recently received patents.
At once functional and stylish, the Kanaori meshes are characterized by varied combinations of metals. Using relatively hard stainless steel for the warp and other metals such as copper and brass for the weft achieves a wide range of elasticity and pliancy. By weaving colored stainless-steel wires, patterns like the tricolored stripes, above, appear. The possibilities are endless. Permeable by air and light, the Kanaori is proving popular for use in interiors and displays.
The Oriami mesh started with an idea from an origami-loving employee. As supple as cloth but sturdier than paper, it is a metal origami sheet. When presented in Italy, it drew praise from origami crafters there who loved the lightness and durability of the mesh. The Oriami is also ideal for shaping fashion accessories and artificial flowers.
This article is an excerpt from a Kateigaho International Japan Edition 2018 Spring/Summer feature.