wood paper box - (un)fold

I recently went to Huntsville Alabama to meet with my friends Katie Baldwin and Yoonmi Nam, the other members of our art collective wood paper box. We got together to make the boxes for our third collaborative printmaking project, (un)fold.

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For this project we chose a mustardy yellow bookcloth, and grey paper for the inside. I always forget how long it takes to make clamshell boxes, but I always love how they turn out. I can’t wait to put all our lovely prints inside to complete the project!

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We also started our woodpaperbox instagram, please follow us for all our printmaking news!

Chinese New Year sweet tray

This year I designed a sweet tray with an special version of my new Hong Kong willow pattern. It’s available exclusively instore at Lane Crawford department store in Hong Kong, in a strictly limited edition. It features different areas of HK island in the individual segments of the tray, such as Wanchai and Happy Valley.

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The sweet tray is a traditional part of the Chinese New Year family celebration. It contains all the family’s favourite seasonal treats, such as mandarin segments, chocolate and nuts. If you bought one of my trays, I’d love to see how you use it this year!

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And most of all, a big Kung Hei Fat Choi to you all! May the year of the pig be a lucky one.

in the details exhibition 2

Our Art Byte Critique group show in the details has been up and doing well all this week. I hung my frames salon style, in a sort of diamond shape, curating a selection of my ceramic/tea prints.

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It’s a lovely space, full of light, and all the artists’ work seems to complement each other super well.

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The reception event was extremely well attended last night, and a good time was had by all. Thank you if you came to visit!

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I did an artist interview for the in the details blog. You can read it here.

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The show is still on and closes tomorrow at 5pm. Hope you can make it!

exhibition this week in Tokyo

The group show in the details opens on tuesday, in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan. I’m showing some new work, such as this mokuhanga print with hand-colouring:

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and this mokuhanga print with ink line, from a few years ago:

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…as well as some of my older etchings, like this one:

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I’ve attempted to curate a small selection of my prints, in a way that makes sense thematically and visually, with tea, ceramics, and patterns of both East and West to hold everything together.

I’ll be at the reception on friday evening, from 6pm, and occasionally at the show during the week. Hope to see you there!

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in the details exhibition

I’m taking part in a group exhibition in Tokyo, in 2 weeks time, and am trying to finish a few prints to show there. I’m also going to show a few of my older prints, both etchings and mokuhanga.

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Here are the details for the show:

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Hope you’ll make it to the opening if you’re around! I’ll be there to meet you.

sketch night

My lovely friends Courtney and Mike arranged a sketching get-together while I’m here in San Francisco. It’s so nice to catch-up and paint at the same time! We swapped drawings/paintings and experimented on each other’s work. Here’s a little picture I started of some houses, on top of a paint swatch that Courtney made…

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…and here’s the finished picture.

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Here you can see the wonderful paint palettes of all three of us!

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Niseko visit

We spent an incredible few days in Niseko, Hokkaido, between Christmas and New Year, staying with friends in their beautiful house in the snow.

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We did go outside, even snowshoeing (!) but most of our time was spent cosy inside, looking at the heavy snowfall, and I did lots of sketches of the wintery landscape.

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It was a real challenge for me to draw this sort of view, as I’m not used to it, but I enjoyed trying to capture all the different types of whites and blues…

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I’ve never seen this kind of soft powdery snow, it was magical…

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The sky changed constantly, from pure snow white to brilliant blue, and the trees were sometimes silhouettes and sometimes full of vivid colour.

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I’ll always remember the softness in the air, that made everything dream-like…

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A very happy new year to you all, may 2019 be full of magical things!

happy christmas!

This year my Christmas card illustration was based on my family christmas tree, in our London home. We have a fir tree up to the ceiling, covered with lights and decorations.

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Our fairy, always sitting on top of the tree, was made by my grandmother in the 1920’s. We all adore her, she even has tartan bloomers on underneath her dress!

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Here are some of the baubles I illustrated for the card. The post-box is new, but the birds are Victorian, and there are many of varying ages in between…

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Hope you all have a lovely, warm, and cosy holiday season, wherever you are!

Peak Tram Christmas campaign

This year I was commissioned to create the illustrations for the ‘Winter Fest’ Christmas campaign for the Peak Tram in Hong Kong.

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The illustrations were used on the facade of the Peak Tower, and throughout the interiors of both the Tower and the Lower Peak Tram station.

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I drew the Peak Tower itself, the Tram, and people enjoying carol singing and writing Christmas letters to their loved ones…

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Unfortunately, my hand-lettering wasn’t used in the final designs, but I guess that happens a lot to illustrators!

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I hope the illustrations make all the visitors to the Peak feel happy and Christmassy!

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London

I’ve spent the last week in London, visiting friends, seeing family and having an early Christmas at home. I even managed to see several exhibitions. The Yayoi Kusama at the Victoria Miro Gallery was fun (I really love her infinity rooms), and I especially enjoyed the Oceana show at the Royal Academy. So inspiring!

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I wandered the streets looking at the sparkling Christmas lights everywhere around town…

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and then got my usual cold, and spent alot of time at home on the sofa with hot lemon and ginger drinks. Sigh…

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London is so pretty, whatever the season. I always enjoy my visits!

BEYORG Christmas campaign

This year I created the illustrations for BEYORG’s Christmas campaign in HK. BEYORG is an organic beauty product company, and wanted to encourage their customers to ‘turn organic’.

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I drew a woodland filled with animals, all turning to face the viewer, to signify them ‘turning organic’. The illustrations were used in a variety of ways. Originally designed as a window treatment, they were adapted for use instore too, where there weren’t many window surfaces, eg inside shopping malls…

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The BEYORG website currently also features the campaign…

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I’m really happy with how the illustrations look on the special Christmas paper bags and boxes!

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The little details make this a coherent and fun campaign throughout the brand. Hope you’ll pop into their shops to take a look!

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matcha teatime

I had a lovely cup of matcha tea and sweet dessert at the Tokyo location of the shop sousou recently.

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I sat with a friend and enjoyed the calm, and the Autumn-themed persimmon postcard and did a little sketch of my own.

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Thank you Lara for the photograph of me drawing!

Enoura Observatory

I went to visit the Enoura Observatory, an art/architecture space in Odawara, just outside Tokyo last weekend. It was an amazing discovery. A truly beautiful place, on a cliff overlooking the sparkling sea, it made me slow down and thinking contemplatively about time and humanity…

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There were large vistas and intimate spaces and I especially enjoyed all the many doorways and windows showing borders between places.

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There was a lovely bamboo grove to wander through…

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…with sculptures in amongst the trees.

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And my favourite were these three little wise men, sitting calmly watching people go by.

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I really recommend this as a day trip from Tokyo. I’m still enjoying the memory of the air and the tranquil pace now…

tori no ichi festival

This year I went to the tori no ichi festival at Otori Jinja in Asakusa. It’s observed every November in Tokyo, in order to pray for wealth and good fortune in business, for the year ahead.

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Those coming to pray for good fortune line up and take turns to ring the bell at the shrine. It was so crowded, even though we went in the daytime!

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There were kumade, decorated rakes, everywhere, so many different kinds and different sizes. The rake is meant to symbolise raking in good fortune.

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I even bought my own, the littlest and cutest one I could find, all hand-made from paper. It has a crane, the Japanese flag, some red snappers, mochi, and Ebisu, one of the gods of fortune. They did the clapping ceremony for me, and I hope my business will prosper this coming year!

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World Tsunami Awareness Day

November 5th is World Tsunami Awareness day, and to commemorate, the UNISDR has launched this free booklet which I illustrated, to educate children (and adults!) about tsunamis.

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You can download the free booklet in PDF form here. Please share it with everyone you know! The more people who know how to recognise a tsunami, and how to be prepared, the better.

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The booklet contains simple facts, history and advice about tsunami preparedness, and also a fictional short story featuring the COPE squad who get caught in the Japan 2011 tsunami.

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I worked closely with Martha Keswick, the writer of the story, Tim Sim, the editor, and also Sandy Lui, the graphic designer. I really hope that this book will help to save lives.

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There is a new website here for the COPE series of books. If you would like to help us find distributers/partners, or have any good ideas, please contact us here.

HK x Japan toile

I was commissioned by the HKTDC to design a special version of my HK toile pattern, for a special gift for participants to the ‘think Global think Japan’ event in Tokyo this year.

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I added my favourite Japan icons into my existing HK pattern. Here’s a little promotional video they made, showing the icons from the two places and how I mixed them into the design. This was shown at the presentation before dinner at the main event.

I was honoured to be invited to the formal dinner at the end of the event, and saw the boxes with my teacups at the dinner tables.

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There was a little silvery booklet to go with the teacups and saucers…

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…which explained the design of the pattern, and its meaning.

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It was one of the most surreal moments of my life, to watch Carrie Lam, the current Chief Executive of HK, talk not only about my teacups, but about me, and how I represent the wonderful relationship between HK and Japan.

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I loved making this design, to celebrate two countries that are such a big part of my heritage!

Chichibu - Saitama

This week I went for an overnight stay at an onsen in Chichibu, in Saitama, a few hours train ride away from Tokyo. It always amazes me that it’s possible to get away to the real countryside so quickly…

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We stayed in a lovely little ryokan that was over 180 years old, with thick wooden beams and a wonderful rotemburo.

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There was a beautiful temple nearby, part of a pilgrimage route, with hundreds of stone buddhas, all covered in moss.

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The leaves were just starting to turn orange and yellow, and the air was full of a fresh Autumnal feeling…

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Near Chichibu train station we also visited Chichibu Jinja, a much larger shrine, over 2800 years old, and recently awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. There were incredible wooden carvings in the roof, and I loved the famous owl carved at the back of the roof.

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It was so easy to get to from Tokyo, I really want to visit more countryside places now!

monogatari zine

I was invited to create an illustrated story for the new zine produced by ToCo, on the subject of a ‘thing’ or ‘mono’ in Japanese, and as I’m not really a sequential artist, I had to think quite hard about what to make. What story did I want to tell? I’ve been drawing a lot of food while I’ve been in Japan, and decided to do something based on that.

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I drew up sketches of a story without words, about using your own chopsticks, and taking them with you to eat out. I wanted to show that this works for every type of Japanese meal and then we don’t need to use so many disposable chopsticks.

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For the final artwork I painted with black ink and drew with a fine black pen, and really enjoyed the monochrome process.

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An exhibition of the artwork for the zine was held in Roppongi at Tokyo Chapter, and I framed up some digital prints of my illustrations.

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Something about food in black and white really appealed to me and I’m thinking of doing a series like this…

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Hope you’ll consider taking your own chopsticks too, next time you go out for Japanese (or any Asian) food!

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