Yanagiu Washi Kobo by TED x Tohoku


Sometimes the themes I follow are very random indeed, when I latch on to a particular subject I usually get bitten by “the bug”. Most of the ideas have revolved around the shop, as I’m currently working on a redesign, and I’ve been thinking about possibilities regarding shop packaging and how to present some of the objects we sell through the internet. I keep finding that when I order things from other web stores there’s barely any personalisation at all. So I’ve been furthering this thought by looking at different tapes and packaging that might set our shipment apart from the rest, and I came to the conclusion that the quality of the materials would have to match the items we have in stock. Unfortunately, I didn’t realise how hard it would be to come across such packaging, something different but of high grade.

A shop I do remember from the past popped in to my mind and I made a leap over yesterday to purchase a selection of goods. The UGUiSU store has a brilliant vibe and stocks a bunch of unique and beautiful items all designed and/or made in Japan. This includes Japanese masking tapes, stationery, magazines, also other small gifts that are perfect for any home and interior. One selection of products that enticed me was the washi paper, which is commonly made using bark from the gampi tree, the mitsumata shrub, or the paper mulberry, but also can be made using bamboo, hemp, rice, and wheat. As you can imagine, when I saw the quality me eyes lit-up and I instantly wanted to learn more.

One video that gives you a little glimpse in to the process of making washi paper is this one by TED x Tohoku that shows the work of husband and wife Heiji and Fumie Sato. They live and work in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, with this particular method being passed down from over 400 years ago in the Yanagiu region. Unfortunately this is the only atelier left that uses this technique in the region, but either way you can feel the love and passion for the craft, also the amount of skill that it requires. I hope to enjoy this small edit below and will go off and discover more on washi paper and how it’s made, hopefully the younger generation will pick up crafts like this and carry on the tradition.