10 October 2010

Our New Studio space!

I have been on UK Craft Forum a fair bit recently and it seems that everyone is posting about their workspace/studios so I thought I'd write a little about mine.You can see my small but well-lit space in the corner. Luckily my miniature origami pieces don't take up much space. Just next to it is the space I use to teach Japanese.

We are going for a 'white' theme in the room (thanks Ikea!) and here is the space my husband uses to work. It's actually a fair bit messier than this at the moment...

We have recently been working with new lacquering materials which involve quite a time consuming lacquering process. The new process we are using allows our pieces to have a similar strength to resin, but is water based and allows us to avoid the staining that occurs with chemical based resins. Sometimes it gives my workspace a slightly 'surreal' feel!

As you can see my desk is usually full of 'works in progress'. I have photos of my family and friends from Japan under the laminate desk protector so that I don't get too homesick! All these pieces are in the final stage of the lacquering process...

Here's a close up of one of the final pieces after all the lacquering has been applied. The new process gives it a much more durable waterproof finish. It also creates a much more gloss-like appearance. The whole process takes a long time but it is worth it to be confident in the strength of our pieces.

Thanks for reading! I am currently working on a bespoke piece of silver jewellery that for the first time, although it is made with the same PMC sheeting, doesn't use one of our origami designs. It has been a steep learning curve for me and I'll post some photos up as soon as it's finished!  

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02 October 2010

J-Con Anime and Manga Convention

Last weekend saw us at the J-con Anime and Manga convention at the assembly rooms in Derby. This was our first time at a 'Japanese', rather than 'craft' orientated event and we weren't really sure what we would make of it. It was quite an experience. Not being die hard anime or manga fans a lot of the strangely dressed characters were lost on us. There were one or two that we recognised from Death Note though. And there was the odd Pokemon walking around. Below are some famous, and some lesser known, anime characters. If you've ever seen Death Note, you'll find this photo hilarious. If you haven't, you won't.

There were one or two more mainstream characters - the one below being 'No-face' from 'Spirited Away'.

And we're not 100% sure who the next guy is but we're pretty sure that it's someone from Final Fantasy.

And I told you Pokemon was lurking somewhere.

All in all it was a really good day and our initial concerns that 'these might not be the sort of people of wear delicate butterfly jewellery' proved unfounded. It was also a chance to meet several talented artists working under the 'Japan' theme and one worth noting is a talented new anime portrait artist and graphic designer, Mair Perkins (visit her site here) and we were pleased to see our new larger lotus flower brooches prove popular. We'll definitely be there next year.

Thank you for reading, we'll write again soon!
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24 August 2010

We mentioned in our last entry that we had been featured in Craft Business magazine. Here is a scanned copy of the feature. We hope you can read the small writing!

If you are interested in getting free PDF's of Craft Business magazine sign up to their website here.

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The trip home to Japan...

It's been a busy couple of weeks since our last entry. Satoko is busy with so many new students so I thought I'd write a quick entry.

The month of August was spent in Japan catching up with friends and family. We spread our time between Tokyo and the mountains and beaches of Joetsu-shi.

It reached 37 degrees on somedays so it was a relief to be able to venture into the cooler altitudes of the mountains close to Matsumoto and to step into the cool shade of Matsumoto castle.

And of course an ice cream is always a welcome relief (although this particular ice cream was 'wasabi' flavour...ice cream with a mustard aftertaste...yummy).

The last few days in Japan were spent at Japan's Glastonbury - the Fuji Rock Festival. We pitched a tent and did battle with the changable mountain weather and pouring rain.

Our ponchos were our best friends - even if I did manage to rip mine early on in the festival. A plastic bag with holes for arms and heads soon sorted that problem though. We sheltered where we could and enjoyed the variety of foods on offer.

And nothing keeps the cold at bay like a fish on a stick and a cup of luke warm beer...

But it was all worth it to see Muse, MGMT, Atoms for Peace, and many others too numerous to list.

And although we shut down the site while we were away we couldn't escape work. There was an early panic in Tokyo when we realised that our e-mail account had been compromised and I spent a few afternoons sat in an internet cafe creating new accounts and trying to remedy the problem. We also bought several new types of origami paper and saw the publication of the August issues of Craft Business and Popular Crafts, in which we were extremely pleased to be featured. We were unsuccessful in finding Mitsubishi PMC sheeting at wholesale prices but were pleased to find a Japanese metal folding company displaying copper versions of the origami crane (albeit a little bigger than ours!). We are also excited about the possibility of one day exhibiting at the craft tent at Fuji Rock Festival.

The reutrn to England has been somewhat of an anti-climax. We have moved house but it has been very much business as usual. We celebrated our first year of business and were pleased to spend it at Peak Fairs in Bakewell where we first started out. It's amazing to think how far we have some in a year.

We are now being exhibited at Yuko Sekiguchi's Studio at the Cromford Mills in Matlock and were pleased to be accepted onto the Creative Greenhouse's 'Partridge in a Pear Tree' Christmas Exhibition at Rufford Park Country House. We have had a busy summer and are looking forward to the run up to Christmas. There is much to do...

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27 June 2010

Castle Ashby Craft Fair

  Hi. We just got back from Castle Ashby. It was really dissappointing day today. We think everybody must have been busy watching football. We were really pleased with our new layout though and how the new logo looked. It's a shame it was too hot for Chris to wear his new 'Satoko's Origami' long sleeve t-shirt for too long. This is a photo of us before the start of the first day.

As part of the new logo Chris made a see through plaque with our logo. It looks quite sophisticated but it's really just a photo frame from MUJI with a sheet of OHP paper inside instead of a photo! Here is a photo of it...

As usual as Pennine Fairs there were lots of really nice crafts. There was even a candle maker that made candles that looked like cakes. To be honest this  is quite a common thing to do but they don't usually look as realistic as these. The first time I saw them I though they were real cakes! I didn't stop to look properly becuase I wasn't hungry. It was only when I went back that I realised that they weren't real! Chris said he would have preferred them to be real cakes. I like them as candles though.
Cracking Creations

They also had candles that looked like beer...

But we didn't need that becuase you could buy alcohol at the craft fair. As it was a sunny day I had a Pimms and Lemonade. It was delicious. So even though the sales were dissappointing, we still had a nice time chilling out in the hot weather.
This was our last craft fair before we go to Japan. We are going to some more in Bakewell as soon as we get back so we'll tell you about them and our trip to Japan :)

Thank you for reading, I'll write again soon!
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23 June 2010

My 27th birthday

Hi. Just a quick one today! 
I just wanted to say 'Thank you! xxx' to all of you for the lovely birthday wishes! I'm 27 now, even though I look and behave (sometimes!) like a 14 year old X)

In the morning when I woke up this little guy was sitting next to me waiting for me to wake up. This is (one of ) my birthday presents from Chris. 
He is so sweet and adorable. Actually I found out about Peppa Pig not long ago and since I saw them I've been in love with them. Especially I love their short and fragile legs X) As I have only him at the moment, I've decided to collect rest of them.  

I went to estate agents in central avenue, West Bridgford to look for houses with our friend couple and after that we picked up some food from M&S near by and had lunch on the grass in the park in the sunshine. In the afternoon Chris joined us after his uni and we all went back to our house and I cooked chicken.
I didn't do anything special on my birthday but it was such a lovely day. I was so happy with the hot weather as well.

Oh Chris' parents gave me these.
It doesn't mean that I'm smelly, it means I love soaps :D

Chris and I are going to Matlock to take some more Origami jewellery this afternoon as more than half of the item we took have already been sold!!

Thank you for reading, I'll write again soon!
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21 June 2010

Things have been going well!

Hi! I'm back! We've been busy sorting out moving, packing up for a holiday to Japan, and of course working on our business. The craft fairs we've been to haven't been so great but other things that we are doing seem to be going very well. We've been asked to be featured in a couple craft magazines and at the moment Chris is waiting for a phone interview!

We went to a very good quality craft event the other day. It's called Patchings Arts, Crafts and Design Festival in Derbyshire. When we found out about the fair we had already missed the application deadline but our friend Jane, who is running a handmade soap company called Just Soaps with her husband and was at the fair, recommended going to have a look at the fair for next year as she thought the fair would be suitable for our jewellery. The fair itself was very good but there were already too many jewellers. The stalls there were very high quality and professional looking. We ought to try and get involved next year.  At the fair we met a Japanese lady called YUKO SEKIGUCHI who is a watercolour artist. Her painings are amazing. I personally am not into paintings but I love her stuff. She paints Japanese images. We exchanged our contact details and a few days later she rang me and said I can have some space for exhibiting our jewellery at her individual exhibition in Matlock. She's been exhibiting in the area for 11 years. As we have a craft fair(at The Castle Ashbey) this weekend we couldn't take many items but we took about 16 items to the event last Saturday and we are very pleased about the fact that quite a few of them have been sold already :D

Here are some photos from the event.
These are some of Yuko's paintings.

She does demonstrations of Japanese Shodo.

Here is the space where our Origami Jewellery exhibited.
This event is held from the 18th of June to the 1st of July in Matlock, Derbyshire. 

Oh, before changing the subject I have to show you this pretty bag! When we went to the Patchings Festival we met another crafty friend called Claire there. She makes handmade felted bags. Everytime when I saw her bags I wanted to buy one and this time I managed to persuade Chris to get one for me by taking advantage of my soon to be coming birthday :D
Check out her lovely bags at Created and Felted!

Right, I'm so excited to show this off; our new company logo!! Chris's been designing this for weeks using photoshop that my student gave us and he completed it last week!! I love this logo. We'd already orderd new design business cards, new banner and, shamefully, even matching T-shirts for both of us X)   Photoshop is a great programme by the way.

We've also been experimenting some lacquer for our Origami jewellery and we found a great stuff and we managed to improve our jewellery. Anyway it's getting too long now so I'll write about it some other time!
Mick, I hope you read this entry. Thanks for the information about resins. We ended up using a different thing, not a resin but you gave us the ideas!

Thank you for reading, I'll write again soon!
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