Innovation comes from three groups of people – outsiders, young people, and idiots, says a Japanese proverb. Eriko Horiki smiles and nods in response to this. The 54-year-old paper and lighting artist belonged to the second category. In her early twenties she resolved to save the art of washi from extinction – the manufacture of paper from the bark of the mulberry tree. There was only one small hitch: the former bank customer service representative knew nothing at all about the 1,500-year-old handicraft. For years, local craftsmen said, “You didn’t go to university, you never studied design or management: it’s impossible.” Undaunted, Horiki tried out new methods, began thinking in larger, more practical terms. And succeeded, with innovative, large-scale sheets of paper over ten meters (33 ft.) long. Fashioned into wall coverings or folding screens, her paper is used today by museums, luxury stores, hotels, and company offices to supply that unmistakable Japanese touch.