Tuesday, August 25, 2009

etegami fan sets

In late spring, I had a chance to visit the largest stationery supply store in our city. The etegami supplies are sold on the top floor of the building, so I went straight up, barely sparing a glance at the other four floors full of art and office supplies that tempted me at each break in the escalator ride. Naturally, the etegami displays were on the theme of summer. The shochuu mimai greeting cards, that I blogged about in my previous post, were prominently displayed-- as were the tools and card stock for making your own. I also found sets of uchiwa (flat fans) and sensu (folding fans) fitted with blank washi paper for painting your own designs. The miniature flat fan sets, called mame-uchiwa, come with an envelope, so they can be sent through the postal system, and tiny stands so the recipient can display them once they arrive. I prefer the larger, normal-sized fans, because I actually use them to cool myself off, though you can buy tasteful racks to display these as well.

For the two flat fans pictured here, I tore off the worn paper from the plastic frames of two old uchiwa and replaced them with my own drawings. For the one on the left I inked cross-sections of okra and stamped them on the paper randomly in an attempt to represent the Milky Way. This was to commemorate the Tanabata Festival on July 7, a festival associated with the once-a-year meeting of the stars Vega and Altair. The one on the right is a representation of a fresh persimmon, which is a late fall/early winter fruit, and not a suitable motif for a hot-weather item-- It was a dumb choice, but I do so love persimmons! Because I was planning to make bunches of these fans to give away to people, I chose to enlarge and paste photo copies of my original drawings onto the frames. This is cheating. Use the original etegami drawing if possible.

See this post on the KimonoBox blog for more on the tradition of making uchiwa.

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