Thursday, January 15, 2009

Chiyogami Paper—Pattern and Elegance

The Japanese have long been known for skillfully making unique and artistic papers, also known as "washi." Distinctly created from plant barks native to Japan, washi comes in many forms, but one of my favorite varieties is Chiyogami. You might also hear Chiyogami referred to as "Yuzen" paper, referencing the Yuzen area of Kyoto, famous for gorgeous textile patterns used on Japan's traditional and very beautiful kimonos.

The main characteristic that defines Chiyogami are the incredible patterns silkscreen printed on "kozo" or mulberry paper. From ocean waves to cherry blossoms, fall leaves to abstract designs, the pattern choices are almost endless. Chiyogami is a lightweight but tough washi. When looking at a full-sheet you can see the paper is almost translucent at the edges where it's not printed. But give it a quick tug and it will certainly reveal the strength of its fibers.

I always find inspiration when designing any sort of stationery with Chiyogami. Whether it's a baby announcement using pink Chiyogami printed with bunnies and blossoms, or social stationery featuring graceful cranes, there seems to be a style to fit almost any occasion. Tightly registered and extremely colorful, Chiyogami's intricate patterns are often embellished with gold inks that add to the opulence of these finely crafted papers, and make them perfect for use on formal event invitations. Besides lending a lot of visual impact to a stationery wardrobe, Chiyogami is also quite versatile and can be incorporated into many areas of an event. Due to its equal beauty and strength, Chiyogami is ideal for bookbinding or decór projects. The same Chiyogami paper used on a wedding invitation suite, could also embellish place cards, cover the card box, or wrap around votive or taper candles to be given as favors.

Chiyogami's perfect balance of strength and elegance make it a delightful addition to any stationery wardrobe. And for me, it's classic patterns never fail to still look fresh today.

Photos courtesy of (top) Feterie and (bottom) Bride Design

~Erin, Bride Design

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