Great.ly…Connecting the Dots for Makers & Tastemakers

great.ly front page

So in addition to a brand new blog design, this week holds some other big news about an exciting new project I am involved in. Today is launch day for Great.ly, a brand new e-commerce site designed to put tastemakers together with makers and create a platform for them to market and sell work. As my long time readers know, one of my missions has always been to showcase and support artists and artisans and their creations so I am so excited to be one of the initial 50 tastemakers on the new Great.ly site. I have been busy curating my online boutiques which you can get to by clicking this link or using the Great.ly button on the side bar. You’ll find work from familiar faces as well as new ones.

No surprise at all to see George of papergluebamboo there. As I hinted in my last post, she has been busy creating new colorways and patterns for her modern ikkanbari and Japanese shopping baskets to sell on Great.ly. From bright yellow lucky gourds…

ikkanbari papergluebamboo yellow gourd tray

…to absolutely on trend African motifs

African pods papergluebamboo ikkanbari

…to ume (plum blossom) and ichimatsu (checks) in bright new colors on Tsukiji market shopping baskets, her unique line of homewares and carryalls is spectacular. To read more about her modern take on this ancient craft, take a look here and here. Remember, every piece is one of a kind, so shop the boutique here early!

papergluebamboo ume shopping baskets

Another long time Tokyo Jinja favorite is the gorgeous handmade textiles of LuRu Home based out of Shanghai, China. Liza and Claire are working with modern versions of nankeen, a dense hand-woven cotton fabric which has been stencilled and dyed in an indigo bath. With their beautiful products, all made from the custom hand dyed fabric in updated versions of traditional Chinese patterns, they are taking up the banner of preservation of this ancient form of craft, while innovating at the same time.

LuRU Home indigo pillows
luru slideshow_8

Their blue and white textiles bring a sense of cool to my very hot – both literally and colorfully – backyard here in Doha. They also play very well with pillows in other colors and textures. Be sure to click here to read their full story and see the pillows in action and here to shop the boutique.

Luru Home pillows

One of the most exciting aspects of Great.ly for me is getting to know new makers with interests and aesthetics that align with my own. Link Collective produces contemporary furoshiki (Japanese wrapping cloths) through a network of artists and designers from around the world. They “aim to cross cultures and generations by creating beautiful and functional products, merging international design with traditional Japanese production methods.” Their modern furoshiki with whimsical names such as Mountain Blossom or The Hida Express can be used for their traditional wrapping purpose, be worn as a scarf…


…or be converted to a cross body bag with their ingenious strap. Seems like a ‘must have’ item for a good textile junkie, creating the possibility of a purse from any piece of cloth.


Their furoshiki are all made in Fujisawa, Japan, hand-printed and sewn by a family owned business with over 50 years experience in furoshiki production. Although Japan’s craftsmen often spend a lifetime perfecting their artistry, much of that skill and knowledge is being lost as today’s mass production, cost cutting and on-demand culture drives ever more business decisions. Invaluable knowhow is disappearing as tools are put down, and the last small factories and workshops die out. Like LuRu Home in China, they are playing a part in keeping these crafts alive by showing what can be achieved when creativity and craftsmanship come together.


For toting your heavier items, I am loving the work of the Tacoma, Washington-based duo Jacqui and Scott of Year Round Co. They hand make every bag themselves, from cutting each piece of fabric, to designing and screen printing it, then sewing and applying all the leather and hardware in their home studio. For a glimpse into their workshop this great video really demonstrates the artisanal quality of their products. Their collection is inspired by stormy seas, mossy rocks, and earthy travels.

Year Round Co

And as you all know from my past ten years of deep involvement with hanga, modern Japanese prints, I have long been a champion of works on paperWorks on paper, about paper, using paper, are some of the most affordable and charming artwork to be had. I am just beginning to explore some of the talent on Great.ly, so be sure to keep watch on this boutique as I add items in the coming weeks.

art collage

In clockwise order: Gretchen Kelly Rosy Mist on the Hudson, watercolor, Shelley Kommers Blue Diamonds, Print, Candy Le Sueur Silver Flower, monotype, Shelly Kommers Sparrow, mixed media collage

To quote one of the new artists I am just getting to know, Shelley Kommers, “I am always on the lookout for beauty, and I find it everywhere: in the decayed, the imperfect, and the ironic; in the small, tucked away places no one else looks.” I’d like to adopt that as my personal mantra.

So come on over and check it out. Just click here and start exploring. There are many other makers and categories I don’t have room to mention here. I think you’ll like what you find. To be honest, there are still quite a few kinks to work out, so please be patient and let me know if you are having any trouble making a purchase. Be sure to keep coming back as I will be adding to my boutiques regularly.
And if you are a maker or know someone else who is, looking for an outlet to sell and show your work, please contact me, either by leaving a comment on the post or via email at jacquelinewein[at]yahoo.com. Maybe Great.ly and I are just what you are looking for!


Beach Baskets…PaperGlueBamboo Sale and an Idea for the Ceiling Fan

Do you like your karakusa hot?

Or cool blue and white?

Your darumas bright?

Or modeled by the chef dressed in white?

Artist Lisa George of PaperGlueBamboo is having a sale this week of her new Spring 2012 line. For an extensive post about her modern take on the ancient craft of ikkanbari, take a look at Artist Spotlight…Lisa George and the Modern Art of Ikkanbari at PaperGlueBamboo. Her Tsukiji market shopping baskets would be great for toting stuff to the beach or having a summer picnic. Drop me a note at jacquelinewein[at]yahoo.com if you are interested in an invitation.

All this talk of baskets and ikkanbari has caused me to have an epiphany about a possible solution to the ceiling fan light at the beach house that I mentioned just the other day. Ceiling fans can be a necessary eyesore and I had been scouting ideas on improving them, finding posts over at Young House Love and Thrifty Decor Chick where they added a lampshade to give a fan light more style.

Those photos clicked in my memory with this photo from Kawagoe shrine sale last year in which a dealer had hung a basket upside down for eye level display. Even at the time it reminded me of a lampshade, but I didn’t put it all together.

Here’s another similar Japanese open-work basket, narrower and deeper than the one above, shown upside down to mimic a lampshade. It might just make a perfect lampshade for the ceiling fan, adding a bit of softening to the bright light and accessorizing the room. The basket has a great beachy feel too!

And if the open-work of the basket doesn’t camouflage the light bulbs well enough, we could always wrap it with a bit of washi paper ikkanbari style like this one…

George, are you listening?

Related Posts:
Artist Spotlight…Lisa George and the Modern Art of Ikkanbari at PaperGlueBamboo
Sweating the Details…A Round-Up of Brass Library Wall Sconces

Image credits: 1-4. Lisa George, 5. via Young House Love, 6-7. me, 8. via Lamps Plus

Artist Spotlight…Lisa George and the Modern Art of Ikkanbari at PaperGlueBamboo

Ikkanbari (literally, idly pasting) is the ancient Japanese art of recycling worn out baskets by wrapping them in washi (handmade paper), coating them in nori (rice glue) and sealing them with kakishibu (persimmon juice) for a waterproof finish. Original old baskets are hard to come by, as they were not preserved as precious art objects, but here is an antique example from Sri Gallery.

Artist Lisa George of PaperGlueBamboo (known permanently to all as George as the result of years of British boarding school)  has created a modern version of this venerable craft for the past 10 years. Using new bamboo baskets, hand-made unryushi (mulberry paper) and mingeishi (sugar paper) along with non-toxic glue and a low VOC varnish, she is custom making beautiful ikkanbari for modern interiors. Each season she creates a number of limited edition designs, hand tearing paper in shapes and motifs to decorate her pieces. Her inspiration is taken from Japanese textiles and items which she combines with a Western color palette. She is also inspired by the joy of the changing seasons, which is such an integral part of the Japanese outlook on life.

Items include kitchenwares such as bowls and platters, desk sets with trays, pencil holders and wastebins, small boxes and traditional shape baskets to hold everything from extra change on the nightable to rolled wash cloths in the bathroom. Items are finished in a clear varnish, giving them a durable finish. They may be cleaned with a hot damp cloth and then be left to air dry.

The photo gallery below has a wide range of designs from past seasons. The pictures don’t begin to show the handmade tactile quality of the pieces.

George is most famous for her shopping baskets, which take traditional Tsukiji fish market handled bamboo baskets and turn them into the chicest handbag, picnic basket, diaper bag, carry-on (they fit in the overhead compartment) or magazine rack around. After wrapping the exterior in traditional tenugui (cotton fabric), she hand paints a design on the outside.  Interiors are lined in paper, much like the ikkanbari pieces and decorated with hand-torn motifs and then sealed.

Unlike the brightly colored, more abstract patterns above, these shoppers have distinctly Japanese motifs and themes. Some are new designs this season.

In addition, George creates large-scale paper “paintings” on boards and canvas called chigiri-e.  Like ikkanbari, chigiri-e is an ancient Japanese art with the word chigiru meaning “tear” and e meaning “picture”. Traditional chigiri-e tends to be landscapes or still lifes, but George’s style is more whimsical and abstract. Technically, it is closer to collage or decoupage using hand colored papers that she has carefully torn into images and designs. She is always happy to discuss commissions.

So, the scoop on how to get some PaperGlueBamboo into your home?  George is currently living in Carmel, California, so US orders are easy. You can contact her via the PaperGlueBamboo Facebook page and you can find more information on her technique and materials as well as additional photos. She will also be posting the new Spring line there shortly. George will be back in Japan for a big show and sale in April and is currently taking pre-orders for delivery then. If you want to be on the invitation list for the sale (and have never received an invitation before) just drop me a note. Her Etsy shop is empty right now, but should be up and running soon (if we all keep poking her about it).

My new lilac ume (plum blossom) shopper (and a Christmas gift, I must disclose) is sitting under a table in New Jersey at the beach, just waiting to be filled with magazines…

All photos courtesy of Lisa George, except image 1 from Sri Gallery and the final image from me.

Tokyo Jinja

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