Recently we did a collaboration with Eggpress, a Portland-based letterpress company, well-known for its fun, quirky designs.
We welcomed them to our studio. We shared and discussed the stories behind many of our fabrics, from the dyes, to the patterns, to how they were printed, and we narrowed down our focus to Katazome prints. Our goal was to print traditional patterns commonly seen on our textiles, sharing this art with a wider audience.
Eggpress welcomed us to their letterpress studio to meet the team, share our fabrics, and see their process. It was a treat seeing their wide range of products, and learning how their machines worked. Every corner of the studio has quirky little touches from the team of artists.
The printing room was filled with decades-old industrial printing machines, working away as productive as ever. The machines print, cut, and score the cards. Some of them have to be loaded by hand, one card at a time. These are used for special jobs that require a lot of care and attention.
Here all the inks are mixed, custom for the job. There are small jars of inks from various jobs along the walls.
Every card is printed right here in their studio. With hundreds of designs, it's amazing they keep track of them all.
We ended up printing six designs as a part of Eggpress' Social Preparedness Kits, with patterns from our collection of handcut Katazome papers. Each design keeps its handmade, imperfect look, representing popular traditional patterns and meanings.
Kiku (Chrysanthemum, Beauty)
The chrysanthemum is the imperial symbol of Japan. The flower has been appreciated by the royal family for centuries, and it represents beauty and elegance.
Kikko (Tortoiseshell, Life)
The tortoiseshell pattern represents a long and prosperous life. In Japanese legends, the tortoise is said to live for ten-thousand years.
Edo Komon (Small Dots, Peace)
The Asanoha or "hemp leaf" represents health and growth. The Seigaiha or "blue sea waves" represent good omens. Together, these popular motifs bring peace and a happy life.
The colors come from Japan's most famed natural dyes;
Aizome, indigo dye that is responsible for the familiar "Japan Blue"
Kakishibu, a rust-red persimmon dye that pairs beautifully with indigo
We've taken these traditional stencils and dyes and adapted them for letterpress, bringing you a piece of history and helping the amazing art of Katazome to live on.
Find these cards in our Stationery section