Have you ever tried the delicious Japanese citrus fruit called Yuzu?
You might recognise the bright yellow fruits and their delicious scent and flavour that is somewhere between lemon, mandarin, and grapefruit!
When we were deciding on our newest addition to our growing range of
furoshiki, we knew that we wanted a design that was bright, cheerful and uplifting! So there was only one contender - it had to be Yuzu!
We are so excited to introduce to you our latest Zusetsu furoshiki, and are keen to show you the inspirations that went into our Yuzu design.
We've seen these beautiful bright yellow fruit growing alongside a pagoda in that lovely area of Kyoto around Ninenzaka. Their glossy green leaves are an elongated heart-shape, and they contrast with the bright lemon-colour fruits beautifully.
The first time I ever experienced tea ceremony in Kyoto, was when I went to Camellia, when it was in the old store in the beautiful street photographed on the left: Ninenzaka.
The old store used to be a geisha house.
The old wooden building is now the Starbucks, and people drink lattes on the tatami where several years ago I sat in wonder as frothy matcha tea was served.
The sweet that accompanied this first taste of tea, was a light yokan made from yuzu. It was so delicious I brought home a boxful!
Our Kyoto photo of the yuzu tree has been in my mind for quite some time! I especially like the way that the sky adds another vivid shade to the image. I adapted this in the design, by painting some of the leaves and branches in a cool blue-gray. When I added this colour to the design it really lifted it!
But there is something even more amazing about Yuzu: not only does it have beautifully bright round fruits, and glossy green heart-shaped leaves, but its blossoms are shaped like little white stars!
I think you can see what drew me to creating this design!
Drawing the Design
In the image above you can see our Yuzu design being created digitally in Adobe Illustrator, and you can also see that many of my colour palettes are Japanese! (You may also notice that several of my other colour palettes feature the name of publishing houses - this is because I'm also a professional children's book illustrator!)
I thoughtfully design our furoshiki. I make a mock up furoshiki wrap using a square of fabric (from an old pillowcase!), drawing on it in marker pen to ensure that the design falls where I'd like it to. I want the colours to fall in interesting ways as the wrap is folded, and for the colours to show through on the knots as well!
Checking the Prototype
When we create a design we always have it made up as a demo here in the UK, so that we can check how the pattern looks when it is folded. What we're aiming for is a design that looks at its best when it is furoshiki-wrapping. Especially for this design, we wanted to be sure that the right amount of bright colourful shapes make a wonderful statement for your gifts.
Our prototype was adjusted after we saw how it wrapped. I altered the way that the flowers looked, and made some of the edges to the leaves softer.
The Cotswold Print
Our Yuzu furoshiki is skilfully printed in Kyoto. We asked a local company here in the Cotswolds to print out our design on paper, so that our Kyoto furoshiki printer could accurately check the colours that we specified.
Our Cotswold printer made several copies of our Yuzu art file, and the prints were all slightly different, mainly because of the different types of paper used. We spread them across the table and checked each one for the brightness of the yuzu, and the shades of green and pale gray.
The dove gray was especially important as a counterpoint to the other colours.
Finally we had our print, which we then posted to Kyoto!
The Kyoto Sample
Our skilled artisan printer opened up our artwork file in his Kyoto studio.
He so kindly sent us this image of our furoshiki printed onto the beautiful, traditional, textured weave of a Kyoto furoshiki. The texture of the weave catches the light in different ways and adds to the beauty of the furoshiki.
This was the first time we'd seen our Yuzu furoshiki, and we were thrilled to bits!
We were so excited to see our design printed for the first time!
It's so lovely working with our Kyoto furoshiki printer - he updates us on what Kyoto is like - whether snow is falling and when the spring flowers are beginning to bloom. He sent us photos of the beautiful cherry blossoms near his workshop - I believe this is the wall surrounding Nijo Castle. I recognise it, because I once stayed at beautiful ryokan Mugen, and walked with my suitcase all around the castle! :)
Our artisan printer in Kyoto packaged up the sample of our Yuzu furoshiki, and posted it to us here in England, so that we could compare the colours against a series of optional prints.
Our paper Cotswold prints had a lot of variations in the shade of the colours, but these furoshiki prints had only the subtlest differences! We carefully compared the brightness of the yuzu, the paleness of the gray-blue, and the vividness of the green, and when we made our final selection we knew that this was going to be our Yuzu furoshiki!
Yuzu Arrives from Kyoto!
We are so excited to be able to introduce you to our Yuzu furoshiki!
This is our first Medium-size furoshiki, at 70cm square, so it's an especially useful wrap as you can make it into a gift-wrap for A5-size presents, or a small pouch bag for loose gifts like bath products, or you can even make it into a dazzling hair-tie!
Yuzu is a traditional Kyoto furoshiki - stitched on two sides and tightly woven selvage on two sides. It makes us happy to be continuing the tradition! :)
The colours are like the freshness of early summer - they're clear and delicate. The star-like flowers and the bright yellow fruit associate with a sweet fragrance. We're sure you will like the bright, uplifting colours of our newest furoshiki, and we hope you love it as much as we do!
We hope you've enjoyed reading about how we created our Yuzu furoshiki and that you love it too!
Thank you for reading and see you next time!
Cathy and Yukki