Month: June 2019

temples and towers.

I’m not one for crowds, but sometimes you just have to see something. I wanted to visit at least one temple in Japan because they are a big part of the culture (and also because I wanted a goshuin temple book!) and at least one trip to the top of a tower to get panoramic views of Tokyo. We visited the Sensoji Temple, the oldest temple in Tokyo. The buildings are massive, and so are the crowds. I enjoyed admiring all the architectural details and taking in the history. Plus, learning about temple traditions, like the chozuya where you purify yourself with a water ceremony before approaching a shrine. My favorite part though was finding where they stamp your temple books and getting my first stamp! Each temple or shrine has their own custom mark. At Sensoji Temple they take your book to the back for stamping. Mysterious… The only other temple we visited was in Nagano. We passed through the Zenko-ji Temple en route from sakuras to miso ice cream. We weren’t planning to …

ceramics.

I took my first class at the Jenny Lemons shop! My friends Sarah and Connie and I took ceramics with Viv of Mud Witch. (PS When you sign into your first class Jennie hands you the cutest punch card – a fruit punch card. OMG so smart!) Viv taught us about different types of clay, how to handle the clay so it doesn’t explode in the kiln (important!), and how to build our pieces. We each got a slab of calico clay and started off with a basic pinch pot. My nails were too long so I had to get creative in my pinching technique. There were different tools available for smoothening out, scoring, flattening, and cutting our clay, too. We learned to score and attach pieces of clay together, and that using too much water can dry out the clay. We learned coil building, too, which seems like it might be an easy skill to pick up, but it is very time consuming. When we liked the shape of our pieces and if they …

maito.

Another reason why the Kuramae neighborhood in Toyko is my current favorite: Maito! I visited this beauty of a shop en route to our ink making appointment and drooled over everything. All the items in the shop are hand dyed and handmade, and soooo pretty. The colors they achieve are gorgeous. The shop is small, but I spent some time looking around. There was so much to admire. You can purchase dye kits and it appears they also teach workshops in the store, too! I ended up picking out some craft supplies (of course). I found two mini skeins of yarn and a set of buttons – all naturally dyed using locally sourced plant life. The reddish orangey pink was dyed with madder root and the light pink – sakura! I showed the worker my sakura nails because I was so excited. She said ‘kawaii!!!’ I’ve started to use some of the yarn to make tassels. I’ll have to decide on a few more special projects for my pretty finds! Any suggestions? Ahh, I want …

weekend out west.

Earlier this month I spent a weekend popping up shop at West Elm in Emeryville. I’ve popped up here before and even taught a few workshops. I enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and the design inspiration everywhere. Here’s my booth on Day 1 and on Day 2. Spot any differences? 🙂 During my pop-up I met some lovely makers! Laura of Aetas (she makes nature-inspired jewelry) and Joslyn of Mixed Bag (she handknits and sews all kinds of goodies). Yay, maker community! One of my favorite things about popping up shop in pretty spaces: I get to take lots of product photos! This is also a great space for scheming my next crafty moves. There is inspiration everywhere, like this pink/ochre/green planter. Ooh la la! And speaking of scheming, I’ve already planned my next West Elm event! I’ve been invited back to teach a Weaving Basics workshop on Sunday, July 14. For tickets and more information check out my craft biz page. Hope to see you there! It’s gonna be so pretties!

felt flower projects.

Felt flower projects lately! Floral bouquets. I’ve been trying to make more time for felt flower experimenting. To kick that off, I made a few larger blooms for Mother’s Day this year, with longer stems, and wrapped them up bouquet style. I’d like to make more flowers inspired by real flowers, but still keep the style playful. On my immediate to-make list: Icelandic poppies and dahlias! Stay tuned. Felt flower goddess crowns workshop. My crown making was first inspired by the famous Snapchat filter flower crown. I thought it should be a real thing! In this iteration of my workshop I taught basic flower techniques so people could design their own flowers (not necessarily the Snapchat filter flowers) for their own custom flower crown. No one actually made a crown though because they all wanted to keep making flowers (understandable; it’s addicting!) so our group photo is of everyone holding their flower creations instead of wearing them. 🙂 Flowers repurposed. I had made lots of flower bouquets for my Mischief window display. I repurposed some …

shopping culture.

The shopping culture in Japan is like whoa. Gifting and packaging play a key role. Shops often provide additional bags and tissues for gift giving. And if you’re lucky, your items will be wrapped with pretty paper and you won’t want to open them because the wrapping will be too lovely to mess up. Everywhere you go – a shopping plaza! Train stations had stories of shopping, too. In Toyko, the Ginza shopping district has big brand shops. It also has Itoya, an eight-story categorized shopping experience. It was on my must-see list. A floor for planners, a floor with cards, a floor dedicated to craft and one for fine papers… I visited an origami shop. Calligraphy and paper stores were also popular – I loved stumbling across these shops; the workers were always so friendly and curious where I was visiting from. My favorite crafty shop find: Wrapple Wrapping & DIY Cafe, a small boutique DIY bar and cafe with co-working space filled with washi and paper and decor items. We also visited the …

ink stand.

On vacation, I craft. 🙂 While in Tokyo I heard about a creative space called Ink Stand where you can design your own ink color. Lucky for us they had space for two while we were in town. We arrived a little early for our color appointment so we admired the space and all of the color inspiration on the wall. Ink Stand has a laboratory feel – the staff wear lab smocks and everything was clean. The glassware also added to the feel. We worked with beakers and glass stirring rods. Also, the staff use those magnetic lab stirrers to mix larger amounts of ink. Ink science! Each station has a 17-pigment selection (plus a dilution solution), mixing cups, a glass rod (for stirring), a paper pad, a pen (for note taking), a glass pen (::ahem:: a $300 handmade glass pen, for testing your inks), and a menu with a color blending chart. Each setting was neatly organized – the placemats had outlines for where everything was to be placed! At the beginning of …