Mika Horie in #47 Mizu:


“Water gives a wide range of visible and invisible inspirations throughout the year. Such as waterdrops sparkle on cherry blossoms, raindrops moderately make sympathetic sounds on clay roof tiles of the old house, and snow covers mountains and surrounding wild plants. All of them encourage my creativity. 

It's been eight years since I moved to a mountain house with spring water nearby to open my studio. For handmade paper, using the pure springs running from the mountain is the wisdom of our ancestors. The Japanese have kept the tradition of this process using local trees and water since ancient times. After the rainy season, there is rainwater; in spring, there is snow water.

The cold flowing water—which makes numbness in my hands, even in mid-summer—works to make a sheet of paper that can last for over a thousand years. 

I decided to work outside to hear the sound of the stream. The sound of the water empties my mind, and I’m completely focused on paper making and cyanotype printing.
The water here is an essential raw material for handmade paper and straightens my mind for creating images.”
- Mika Horie, June 2021


Mika Horie was born in Kyoto, Japan in 1984. Her interest in photography and Japanese paper-making began during her Bachelor studies at the Kyoto University of Art and Design. After graduating she worked as a freelance photographer and in 2008 she spent one year in the United Kingdom for a MA European Arts Practice (Fine Art) at Kingston University in London. In 2013 she established her own studio space in Kaga-city and after an apprenticeship with a traditional papermaker in Shiga, she started to pursue the primitive passions and aesthetic values of Japanese paper and cyanotype (blue) photography.


Horie’s art works are fully handmade. The paper is made by her from local, organic and high quality raw materials. Her photographic process is nearly as laborious as the paper making. She hauls a vintage 8 by 10 inch camera into the hills where she harvests the gampi for her paper, capturing mountainscapes, foliage, and nearly-forgotten villages. She treats her paper with iron salts, places the oversize negatives directly on top, and allows the sun to expose them to shades of cyan and deep indigo.


Horie has exhibited her work several times within Japan, Belgium, The Netherlands and in the United Kingdom.