Washi Memo Pad

My wonderful supplier in Japan sent me some amazing samples of mizuhiki embellishments….they worked with a mizuhiki artisan to create these elements that could be adhered to a notecard. I’m still working on pricing, but we’re hoping they can join our line of products.

I can only work basic knots, so I truly appreciate the art form of these elements and the expertise of the artisans.

Mizuhiki is a Japanese paper cord / craft dated back to the 7th century. It is a strong, thin twine made from ‘washi’, which is made from the inner bark of the kozo, gampi and mitsumata bushes. The cord was used in various ways, from securing the hair in a Japanese samurai topknot, to ornamental uses for gifts. The original colors were only red and white but there are hundreds of shades and textures today. There are mizuhiki ‘sculptures’ in Japan which are beyond amazing. Most artwork is made for celebrations.

For our purposes, however, we introduced it as an accent or accessory to a handmade card. Pretty amazing craft…..

This picture is from one of my favorite Japanese mizuhiki books written by Nana Kikuta.

Here are my attempts at mizuhiki knotting…..I definitely need a lot more practice!


The cherry blossom trees in Japan are world famous and magnificent in more ways than one. They are such an integral part of the Japanese culture and each year, we get to experience the significance of these blossoms while viewing, tasting, and celebrating… My family and I were lucky enough to go during spring break this year and caught the tail end of the cherry blossom season which arrived one week early…. Here are a few pics of how ‘sakura’ (cherry blossoms) are infused and woven into the everyday lives of the Japanese…..

From the top : Sakura branches and torii (gate of a shrine) as part of a hotel lobby decoration, Sakura drink, Sakura soft ice cream, and the blossoms as part of a landscape of a national treasure…

Needless to say, the blossoms are stunnng. Products in the stores feature everything and anything pink and Sakura shaped…one can only feel that spring has arrived when these blossoms embrace you.

In our business, cherry blossoms appear on so many of our washi papers…. the craftsmen who design and silkscreen the papers are inspired by seasonal symbols like the sakura. Here are a few packets and a card that I found at one of my favorite stationery stores in Tokyo – ITOYA.

LOVE those cherry blossoms!!

These cards use the length of the washi paper we sell, and it folds and overlaps (but leaves 1/2″ from the edge).  The top corner is folded back in an angle, and I layered with gold paper to add a dimension to the folded edge. Accent with a mizuhiki half knot….

GALLERY2014022TealMum  GALLERY20140228PanelCards1  GALLERY20140228YellowRedFLower

More cards using the “Japanese lines” technique…

GALLERY20140228FlyingCranes  GALLERY20140228FlyingCraneMizuhikiVertical  GALLERY20140228FlyingCranes2

I’ve collected handmade washi cards made in Japan over the years, and I noticed that most of the cards made used what I coined the straight ‘line’ technique.  Washi in it of itself is so beautiful –  the simple, straight lines (when cutting paper) compliment the detailed, silkscreened designs.  Washi rectangles,  squares of various sizes are layered or laid out on the card, and accented with mizuhiki cords to add dimension. Here’s some tips that helped me put together my own cards….

1. Choose your favorite washi paper. One decorative, and one to use as background paper (i.e. gold, silver, patterned monotones);

2. Use cardstock that matches colors from the washi paper;

3. Accent with mizuhiki cords, peel off stickers to add dimension.

Since pictures are worth a thousand words, here’s some samples of cards I made using washi and cardstock.Basically I cut rectangles and angled or layered the washi in various ways.  The straight edge of the paper makes the card simple.  And… I made these three cards with on 8 1/2 x 11″ washi paper.  Here’s some more sample using the “Japanese lines” technique…

GALLERY20140228AngleCard  GALLERY20140228BandCard

GALLERY20140228SemiPanelOrange GALLERY20140228SakuraPastelAwabiMusubi

GALLERY20140228PastelSakuratwig  GALLERY20140228PastelSakura1

Basically Basically I cut rectangles and angled or layered the washi in various ways.  The straight edge of the paper makes the card simple.   More samples to follow….hope you like this new but simple technique!

Some of Sally’s samples are up on the Gallery…please check them out!  More samples to come!

5001ChristmasWreath  5008Dress

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