Sunday, September 28, 2014

sleeping cats

The October issue of the Japan Etegami Society monthly magazine Etegami arrived a few days ago, and I was delighted by the special section on cat etegami. These "sleeping cats" brim with personality, don't you think?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

experimenting with black

The standard (4" x 6 ") dimensions of etegami aren't really suited to square throw pillows and tote bags, so I always worry about how to fill in the extra space at the top and bottom when I get my etegami printed on these products. Since most of my etegami are painted on white cards, it had never occurred to me to get them printed on anything but a white background. But lately I've been experimenting with black backgrounds for products printed with my bolder-colored etegami-collages. I've been receiving some enthusiastic feedback on these experiments, so I guess it works. 

These products can be ordered from my RedBubble gallery, but I wish customers could choose the background color of pillows and totes like they often can with T-shirts. I could try to set up a listing for an etegami tote or throw pillow with the background color of your choice if you let me know before you order. Have any of you had to deal with the issue of background color when getting your art printed onto a product?

Friday, September 19, 2014

bursting hearts

My father-in-law is ailing and may not have much longer to live. I stopped traveling overseas long ago, so I haven't seen him in twenty years-- but I try to communicate regularly by email and etegami. When I asked him if there was anything I could draw for him, he told me about the "bursting-heart" plant that ornamented the fall of the eastern United States. "It's an unbelievable sight this time of year," he told me, "Let me assure you it is impossible to exaggerate the purple of the seed pod or the orange of the attached seeds." So I searched the internet for photos and made an attempt to express this plant-- with its flaming color and lovely nickname-- in the context of etegami. I know it falls way short of the picture he has in his mind, but I was glad to have this chance to share something with him.

Euonymus americanus is a species of flowering plant in the family Celastraceae. Common names include strawberry bush, American strawberry bush, bursting-heart, and hearts-bustin’-with-love. (Wikipedia)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

forgetful lucky cat

I've decided that humor is the best way to deal with encroaching memory failure. But I think I'd better send this etegami to myself so I don't forget my own advice. 

This is another etegami-collage in which I recycled a previous etegami by cutting the image out and gluing it to a different background. The lucky cats on this card were originally painted for a save-the-date card that didn't work out, but they will probably appear again on a future etegami.

Monday, September 15, 2014

respect-for-the-aged day

September 15 is a national holiday in Japan called Keirou-no-hi (respect for the aged day), although now-a-days the day is always celebrated on the second Monday of the month, to turn it into a long weekend.  People often take their grandparents out-- maybe for dinner, maybe for an overnight stay at a hot springs inn. I  was once a part of a women's group that would serve up an elaborate luncheon on this day with various entertainments for the elderly ladies at our church.  

As a joke, I gave my husband a respect-for-the-aged card (the one posted above) this year because he's 61 and we don't have any grandchildren yet to celebrate it for him. But really, I think you have to be over 65 to qualify as "early elderly," and most people who were interviewed on the street in Japan thought that you don't qualify even for that until age 70. If I remember correctly, anyone past age 80 is called "late elderly." But the Japanese are, overall, a long-lived people. The turtle, as you probably know, symbolizes longevity.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

save the date

I was recently commissioned to design an etegami-style save-the-date card, which was a totally new experience for me, because I'd never heard of such cards, nor of the custom of sending such cards. So I did a search on Etsy, and was astounded by the number of shops that offer card designs for this very purpose.

I floundered a bit, and finally came up with the design in the photo above. Then I floundered a bit more, until I came to a better understanding of the concept of save-the-date cards, and a better grasp of what my clients were looking for.  I can't show you the design that won their hearts just yet. That one will remain a secret until their special event is over.

My world got just a little bit bigger and I'm wondering how many other greeting card customs there are in the world that I have never known-- customs that could bring Etegami further purpose.

Monday, September 8, 2014

the harvest moon

Fox and the Harvest Moon. Hand-painted Etegami fox glued to a card cut from the cover of a gift box of Japanese sweets.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

the sandstorm

This is a fennec-- a desert fox. I painted the fennec on a washi card, then cut it out and glued it to a card cut from a food product box with a pattern that made me think of sand blowing in the desert.

When I was little, my mother used to sing a song about the Sandman to help me fall asleep at night. I have several friends who are struggling with insomnia right now, and I dedicate this etegami-collage to them.