Introducing Cohana Artisan Sewing Tools from Kawaguchi
Not available in Australia until now.
Made by the makers of Nuno Deco, Kawaguchi, the 60 year old company that makes a plethora of practical sewing products, the Cohana product line is an artisan range of sewing accessories. Kawaguchi has sourced the best makers for the task and what has been created are sewing tools and accessories that make practical keepsakes. Elegantly refined and unmistakably beautiful, the Cohana tools and accessories are completely Japanese-made by craftsmen from different regions of the country.
The features of the Cohana line include high-quality handmade tools and accessories made by craftsmen who work in factories specialising in their craft, such as traditional glass blowing, textile making and iron casting. The standout products include Marking Pins with Glass Beads, Pincushions Made of Cypress and Banshu Textile, Sewing Scissors with Wooden Handles, Shozaburo Thread Clips Made with Iga Braids and Paperweight Made of Nambu Ironware.
The colours used reflect the changing of the seasons, and provide crafters with a variety of artistic expression options. These makes special gift for the crafter or maker in your life.
You can order direct from Hands On Workshop. Click here for more details on products, prices and ordering.
Look at what else you can do with Nuno Deco….create your own homewares. We’ve ironed strips onto the wood blocks (found in craft supply stores).
Organise your craft room with our Nuno Deco
We asked crafty blogger, Claire from Heart Handmade UK, how she could use Nuno Deco and Fabric Label, this new iron-on washi tape from Japan.
She organised her craft room and it looks gorgeous! Her full blog post is here
We’re giving away 5 crafty packs, so you can do the same!
The WINNERS of the 5 crafty packs are…..
1. Kristina Scurgie
2. Karen Hastings
3. Sonya Rooney
4. Aliza Harrison
5. “Alleycot99” – sorry I don’t have your first name! but I’ve emailed you.
You just need to sign up to our mailing list, to enter, add your name below
Here’s a sneak peak of how you can use these fab new iron-on washi tapes from Japan to make organising colourful and crafty
Interested in craft workshops in Japan?
Have a look at this one for pattern design by Minako Okada Design Workshop in Kamakura city (about an hour south of Tokyo by train). You can learn about the principles of repeat patterns, which is the basis of fabric and paper pattern design.
Workshop participants learn basic pattern design and the principles of repeat pattern design. They can choose workshops which are suitable for kids; design and create chiyogami paper; or design and print a handkerchief. They learn how to design and make stamping blocks from an “eraser” material (easier than rubber or lino), which are then printed onto a fabric or paper surface. Stamping onto washi paper is the basis of the traditional Chiyogami technique of paper printing.
Minako Okada says they don’t need experience or tools, “the most important thing is to have an interest in the technique”. Participants learn “how to use colours on textiles, about traditional Japanese paper (washi) and so many things on their own!”.
Minako Okada trained at Musashino Art University in Tokyo and has built a reputation as an accomplished illustrator and Chiyogami pattern designer.
Her next workshops at Minako Okada Design Workshop are on 11 August 2017. Probably a bit TOO soon to plan(!) a trip but wouldn’t it be fun to do one?
If you have visited an arts and/or craft workshop, I’m compiling a list to share. I’d love to know where you went, what you did, and your feedback. Email me here
#japanesecraftworkshops #japanesemakers #japanesecrafts
I was introduced to work of the artist Junko Oki by a reader who was embarking on a trip to Japan and was hoping to see her work first hand. Junko Oki has just had an exhibition at the Shiseido Gallery in Ginza, Tokyo.
“the moon and the pupa” Embroidery Exhibition transforms your perception of embroidery.
This is how it’s described by the online magazine Asahi Shimbun Digital “By exploring the subjects such as the fundamental desire and incarnation of human creative activities, we will explore unique expressions that can not be caught in existing genres such as embroidery and crafts”.
You can view beautiful images of her exhibition here:
Junko Oki was born in 1963 in Urawa, Saitama. Lives and works in Kamakura, Kanagawa prefecture. Her bio on her website explains her characteristic style which uses embroidery as her artistic medium:
“In 2002, Oki began embroidering fabric handed down to her by her mother, using a style all her own. She has since held exhibitions in Japan and abroad. Oki hand-stitches without using a sketch, deliberately employing fine sewing machine thread. Her dense stitches, which seemingly yearn to totally express her inner world, possess an overwhelming power that transcends the concept of embroidery. In 2014, Oki published a collection of her own photographs, PUNK (Bungei Shunju), and her unique creative vision captured broad interest. “ She now exhibits outside of Japan in Europe and has gained a formidable following for her expressionistic, even “anarchistic” approach to embroidery. It shows how needle and thread can make a beautiful and powerful artistic form.
To purchase from our shop, click here
Nuno Deco and Fabric Label are two new fun iron-on labelling products which will transform how you up-style fabric items and clothing labels.
Nuno Deco is iron-on washi tape which can be used as clothing labels you can write on. Plus you can cut it into little shapes to dress up material and fabric items. It’s colourful, cute and offers all the magical crafting fun of washi tape, but you can use it on fabrics. We’ve tried it on tote bags, pencil cases, face washers, baby clothes, socks, and tee shirts.
Here are just some of the things you can try.
For you to make for babies and toddlers:
- singlets and t – shirt tops
- face washers
They’re available in our shop
For tweens and teens to make:
- personalise pencil cases
- fabric pouches
- tote bags
- library bags and school chair bags
- Label clothes with your name and mobile number (especially the ones that get left behind – gym gear, swim gear, towels, jackets, bags)
- Label clothes if you’re in a shared household/dorm/youth hostel with shared laundry
- Colour code kids’ clothes that all look the same – school uniforms, socks, underwear
- Embellish journals and books, clothes pegs, lampshades
It’s available exclusively from Hands On Workshop in our shop.
What I love about Japan is finding the craftsman who make goods of exceptional quality in the most unassuming of places. In quiet corners in large cities you will find the person who masters their trade over many years diligently working day in and day out producing something outstanding.
I was fortunate to meet a few of these people in my trip – workers at a horse leather factory which is third generation; a solo leather maker who patiently works in his studio alongside his wife who makes artificial flowers. It’s a honourable way to work.
The modus operandi is to do something and do it well. It’s not about making quick money or selling something for the most you can. Or buying something cheap and selling it for more than it’s worth. It’s a philosophy which focuses on the craft and the skill. It’s a philosophy I really can’t do justice to here, because it involves a far more detailed explanation. That work philosophy deserves a blog post of it’s own.
But it’s refreshing change from the culture I come from where “a bargain” is to be prized and chased. If you buy something for less than it sells at retail, you’ve “won”. In that contest there is clearly a winner and a loser. The aim is to be the winner. And when there is a winner, there is always a loser. Usually it’s the smaller maker.
But the people I met have a different approach to their business.
The team of craftsmen I met in Kobe, one of the large port cities in the south of Japan, are those from Cornelian Taurus, a small atelier which has been making quality leather bags and accessories for a decade. They are newcomers in Japanese terms. When you buy one of these you won’t be getting a bargain (by current definition). It won’t be cheap. But it will be beautifully hand crafted by talented makers who take pride in what they do to create something that will last.
Daisuke Iwanaga is the designer and craftsman behind his brand Cornelian Taurus. He worked in fashion before starting this business so he knows the cycle of fashion and the constant demand for reinvention. Making bags has been his hobby since first learned leather making in high school. When working in fashion, he made himself a leather tote bag and it was slung over his shoulder when doing the rounds of delivering and picking up ranges to retail shops. He was often asked where he bought it, and when the answer was that he made it, he received requests to make one. It was his hobby job, the bags he made in his spare time and sold to work acquaintances.
Trade got busier and there was a steady flow of orders. About 10 years ago he made the leap from his job and started Cornelian Taurus, his distinct brand of bags. He works with his brother, Shinsuke and another two fellow makers. They have the workshop atelier and a gallery next door, called Cultivate Gallery.
They use predominantly equine leather (horses) because it’s strong, soft and can have a really smooth, polished almost glossy finish. They use leather from various suppliers around Japan, including Cordovan in Himeji, a factory I visited, which is a third generation equine leather tannery. Each bag is made by hand on old sewing machines, Daisuke has been using for years. It’s not a quick process but the result is a beautifully pieced together item.
I ventured into their workshop and showroom in central Kobe, it’s a gorgeous vintage style workshop which is very compact (like anywhere you go in Japan,) but set up so cleverly so that everything has a place and nothing looks out of place.
The shelving, furniture and finishes have an industrial retro feel. You just want to work there!
8 years ago Cornelian Taurus was written up in Italian Vogue as one of the next up and coming brands to look watch out for, and there has been a steady flow of media stories since. Via the trade shows in Europe, their bags are sold in high-end boutiques dotted across Europe and at Barney’s in New York.
There are several bags styles in their range from wallets and small handbags, backpacks, briefcases to larger overnight bags. The one I really like, and is their hallmark design is a large soft tote. It’s a typically Japanese everyday work bag which packs in more than your large handbag, styled to suit men and women, featuring sturdy woven handles.
One of the other products that caught my attention is a neat and compact hand bag in a shiny black finish uses a Japanese wood lacquer-like finish on a bumpy surface.
The design of this handle is their trademark – the weaving is the same pattern used to weave the fabric on the handle of a Japanese sword – a beautiful design motif which has the functional purpose of making the handle stronger. The hardware used for the bags is Japanese and of excellent quality – heavy and hard wearing brass and silver.
This is the theme of Cornelian Taurus. They create accessories with a design aesthetic which has universal appeal with elements which are distinctly Japanese. They’re made with techniques learned from craftsman re-invented by a new generation for a discerning consumer who values quality and longevity. It’s not fast fashion. But it is fastidious fashion. The type of fashion where you and the maker both win.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the range or would like to buy, they do not currently have a stockist in Australia. Their website is www.corneliantaurus.com, or you can contact direct at: [email protected]
I visited the Japan Hobby Show for the first time and it was breath taking.
Literally. I can’t speak Japanese and there were SO FEW people speaking English – so I was nodding A LOT and lost for words…for a change.
Mainly because I’ve never seen so many people descend on a venue for crafty stuff. It was like arriving at a very tame and very polite Grand Final – everyone emerging from public transport hubs to descend on the venue pumped and ready for action. Ready, set… sew!
Crafting and hobbies really are a way of life in Japan and the population size (Tokyo has 13 million people) means there are lots of people attending the exhibition and participating in workshops.
Lots of art and craft supplies
I saw all sorts of craft supplies, jumped into a couple of workshops and found a few great products for HOW to sell.
Minne Handmade – Japan’s Etsy
Next to the Hobby Show hall was a huge hall for Minne, an online marketplace which is Japan’s answer to Etsy. I discovered Minne as a magazine bought from a Japanese newsagent which features lots of makers with tips, tutorials and info on the handmade world. I then found their online marketplace. I now have discovered their live event.
When I asked my Japanese friend if it’s was like Etsy she said “What’s Etsy”? An indication that the size of Japan and relative lack of English speaking capability means that huge online marketplaces can sustain themselves by just selling to an internal audience. In other words Japanese hobby makers sell inside Japan, without needing to sell internationally.
I met students making gorgeous little ceramic hair clasps, to 60 year old plus women friends who had teamed up to make and sell little fabric purses. Overwhelmingly the stalls are run by women and the level of skills and craftsmanship amongst (mostly) non-professionals, was remarkable.
My friend said one of the reasons for the popularity is that many Japanese women find childcare places so hard to find (mmmm sound familiar?). The paid workforce is quite inflexible with leave policies, so many women are choosing to run a small hobby-business at home instead of jumping back into paid work after having children. It’s interesting to see how technology and the same work/life patterns have enabled the hobby/handmade retailer to emerge across first world countries.
When cruising through the hundreds and hundreds of stands, there were some trends emerging:
- Stellar constellations – on ceramics, framed prints, jewellery – all shades of dark blues peppered with sparks of white, gold and silver representing stars in the night sky. It’s a “thing”.
- Mini plastic food as jewellery – from cutesy mini bento box brooches to kind-of-gross-but-funny Wagyu beef strips earrings and teriyaki chicken leg key rings. It’s def a “thing”.
- Covered buttons as hair clips – Not a new “thing”, but they are popular.
- Brooches, brooches, brooches. – Any type, any design. But I think that’s always been a Japanese “thing”.
I managed to do a couple of workshops, which is do-able when you’re watching but not understanding the language. One was simple book binding using a lovely cotton hemp.
We built a notebook from adding sheafs of paper sandwiched between two paper covered cardboard pieces. As we added a sheaf of paper we threaded the cotton cord around it. It was surprisingly easy to get it wrong.
The little notebook case I made from Tilda fabrics (they’re the very pretty retro-style florals) had so many bits to it. My teacher had done lots of preparation beforehand, which made it quite easy for us to compile the semi-prepared pieces. The detail of each one was quite incredible.
I did find some brilliant new products I’m in the process or ordering so we can sell them online and at Craft Fairs.
Multi – coloured zippers that allow you to mix and match different sides of a zipper piece – in divine colour combinations.
Iron – on washi tape which means you can decorate fabric items – clothes, shoes, library bags, pencil cases, books, and even have nice looking clothing labels.
Dress patterns for those fab Japanese tunics – we’re starting to translate them so you can follow the pattern in English.
Patterns for little pouches, fabric slippers, small tote bags.
New fabrics – I found gorgeous little large hanky sized finished fabrics pieces, normally used for wrapping up lunch or gifts which make very lovely hankies and scarfs.
All up, loads of inspo and products for HOW to bring to you online and at the Craft Fairs.
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Thank you to all who visited us at Intocraft Live in Sydney from 2nd-5th March. For our first Craft fair of the year, it timed with a fierce week of rain and you still managed to make the effort to come for a visit, a shop and a play!
Well done to those who went in the draw and won one of the daily goody bags from HOW:
- Sarah Bellon
- Debra Eddie
- Julie Kennedy
- Kerry-Anne Jolley
Well done to the first time lampshade makers who created some beautiful shades from our Japanese tenugui fabrics. Lisa really enjoyed meeting everyone at the SHORTCUT to SHIBORI demos, explaining how our Konya Indigo Dye kits make fabulous shibori dyed fabrics easily.
We had lots of lovely chats and discussion about your crafty passions. For our efforts, HOW won “Best Exhibit” award from Expertise Events (the organisers of Intocraft and the Craft & Quilt Fairs amongst others). Thank you to Expertise Events for the award.