From Straw to Art: Breathing Life into Ordinary Material with Masterful Creations – Amazing Nature

Niigata Prefecture in Northern Japan has an art festival that brings together thousands of visitors because of the uniqueness of the material they use to create the giant animals, which is the straw left over from the harvest. paddy.

Basically, this straw is used for many different purposes such as covering roofs, making fertilizer or making animal feed, but Niigata decided to come up with this creative way to create giant works. astound the viewer with their size.

If you visit Japan’s Niigata prefecture during the region’s annual rice harvest, you can find giant gaurs, eagles, and dinosaur-like creatures stalking the wondrous landscape. The towering sculptures are part of the Wara Art Festival, a summer event that showcases giant animals and mythical works made from the straw leftovers of the war. Crops.

Straw is a traditional resource from Nishikan

This popular event originated a few years ago when the farmers of Nishikan Ward (formerly Iwamuro Village) were looking for ways to dispose of unused straw in the rice harvest. It eventually led to a partnership with Musashino University of the Arts that still thrives to this day.

The school’s students design each piece of art, and the craftsmen in the Nishikan ward have made it a reality using intricate wooden structures and loads of straw.

Straw is covered with wooden frames to ensure stability and allow artisans to create large-scale products.

The idea of ​​revitalizing the area by creating works of art made of straw was suggested by Shingo Miyajima, a professor at Musabi at the time. Straw is created as a by-product of rice production and has been used as animal feed, fertilizer and household crafts since ancient times. Due to changing lifestyles and modernization of agriculture, this tradition is expressed in a modern way today.

Toba-ami – used to make rice straw used in the art of Wara – is one of those traditional techniques that are being lost.

This technique is still simple but delicate work; Although each straw is thin and unwieldy, through the patient weaving process and the designs of Musabi students, it has been transformed into living works of art that are almost alive.

Besides, the straw festival also has many interesting activities such as games, folk music performances or handicraft stalls…

The Wara festival is a way to take advantage of the by-products of the wet rice industry and raise awareness of environmental conservation. Thanks to this festival, it attracts many domestic and foreign tourists to Niigata City, making the countryside even more bustling.

Giant lions, eagles, crabs, spiders, other animals and even legendary monsters like Amabie made from straw left over from the seasonal harvest.

With the beauty from the art of installation and decoration along with the idea of ​​​​the surrounding life, especially from the animals that are both real and fictional, the festival has always attracted many tourists from all over the world to visit and play. joke and take pictures.

In addition to the giant creatures, the insects associated with the crop were also simulated.

Japan is a country famous for a smart and effective education. It’s no wonder that even a pile of discarded straw can be repurposed into such unique visual aids for young children. It is from such interesting tours that Japanese children are always able to unleash their creativity and develop comprehensively from an early age.

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