For almost 400 years, the Karacho studio in Kyoto, Japan has been making the hand block-printed paper known as karakami, which has customarily been used for the sliding screens found in traditional Japanese houses, teahouses and temples. It’s where the rising young design star Ko Kado spent five years perfecting the technique, which he now uses to make his quietly beautiful note cards.
The method for producing karakami is virtually unchanged since the Karacho studio opened (to give you some perspective on this, the same family has run the studio for eleven generations). Basically, ink—a mix of glue, water and natural pigments like mica and oyster shell—is pressed onto the paper using carved wood blocks, many of which are hundreds of years old. Because changes in temperature and humidity and the type of paper used affect the consistency and application of the ink, it takes a very long time to become proficient in the technique.
Very few people still practice this painstaking craft, which makes these striking cards all the more special. We’re offering them in two packs of three, all of which were printed on torinoko—the paper traditionally used in screens. The three cards in the white-on-white package have a circle pattern that was inspired by sound, a straight-line pattern that was inspired by bamboo, and a curved line pattern that was inspired by clouds.
The colored package, which was also printed on handmade torinoko paper, includes a silver-on-brown pattern that was inspired by mist, a gray-on-black pattern that was inspired by the mosaic floor in an Indian print, and a blue-on-gold pattern that was inspired by the flowers in an Indian print.
Each set is wrapped in handmade paper, so that entire experience, from unwrapping the cards to writing on them, is gracious and soothing.
from Kyoto, Japan