WASHI TAPE LOVE: CHIYOGAMI DESIGNS
The cheerful owner of Chiyogami Designs Andrea Walker, looked every bit the brand and creative business she represents in her colourful paisley print smock dress—in happy and brightly speckled peacock colours with wide butterfly sleeves that remind you somewhat of those on a Japanese kimono. She’s also wearing some the handcrafted jewellery she has made out of her specialty—washi tape.
It certainly didn’t take long for me to spot Andrea’s rainbow-hued display of eye candy at the expo featuring her extensive and colour-coordinated ombre rows of spectacular washi tape and origami paper on display. They look so delicious in their gelato colours that I’m dreaming of desserts as I pick up a few of the colourful rolls to enjoy a closer view of the delightful patterns.
Her washi collection on offer contains some of the most unusual designs I’ve ever seen—I fell in love with a special range that I mistook for Japanese-made but that the cheery Andrea tells me were Chinese (Miss Time boxed washi). Imagine ‘latte art’ and ‘succulents’ patterned washi tape! They’re just the amazing stuff of dreams… for all washi tape addicts.
I can’t help but chuckle when she showed me her new and quirky American range, designed by Smarty Pants Paper Co. that featured the most adorable pup designs in poodles, bull dogs, dachshunds and boxers. These were priced at A$5, a little dearer than most of her lines which retail at A$3 a roll. Her made-in-Japan range was traditionally Japanese-pretty and as exquisite as one would expect of delicate Japanese patterns.
In case you were wondering about the different widths of these irresistibly colourful rolls of washi tape—it’s interesting to note that the wider rolls are super handy for crafting necklace pendants; much like the one Andrea was wearing at the show (pictured here) and the regular (15mm) or skinny width rolls (3mm) are perfect for creating your very own handmade cabochon earrings (as shown).
Recollecting her accidental ‘creativepreneurial’ journey, Andrea was nostalgic about those first 30 rolls she ordered that led to the start of an amazing journey. A fan of all things Japanese, she had originally been trawling for Japanese-made paper but instead kept seeing washi tape pop up in her digital searches as ‘washi’ (wa means Japanese and shi means paper) in Japanese refers to a particular style and texture of paper that was first made in Japan using mulberry fibres. Other washi can also be made using other plants like bamboo, hemp, rice, and wheat.
As for the brand name—Chiyogami is a kind of Japanese paper decorated with brightly-coloured, woodblock-printed patterns used in a variety of handicrafts, such as origami and anesama (kimono for paper dolls).
The good news is that if you’ve missed the Scrapbook & Papercraft Expo, you can still shop at Andrea’s online store at Chiyogami Designs.
She’s happy to share that her shipping rates are pretty competitive for local shoppers especially. Regardless of the quantity, she ships the regular-sized rolls at $3.
Andrea also runs a pop-up shop at Kenilworth at 7A Elizabeth St, open from Friday to Sunday from 10am to 3.30pm if you happen to be around the area.