I have just arrived back from my holiday in Japan, feeling full of inspiration and loaded down with craft goodies!
Toyko is home to some amazing craft and hobby shops. For example, Tokyu Hands is a big chain with some huge stores where I'm convinced that you can find every kind of material or tool that you might need for any type of crafting. Other notable chains include 3Coins where everything costs Y300 (plus tax) and you can find a great range of cute homewares and craft supplies, and famous 'hyaku en' shop Daiso where (almost) everything is Y100 and the range and quality of items is really surprising.
Another shop that I regularly visit is Mano Creare at Lalaport in Toyosu. Toyosu is a lovely area of Odaiba in Tokyo, modern and open by the waterside, and as well as being home to a fine shopping mall is being extensively developed for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Mano Creare is a wonderful fabric shop with a large selection of materials and yarns including rafia and paper especially made for weaving/knitting/crocheting into hats and bags.
My favourite find was a lovely fabric and haberdashery shop tucked away in a side street near Nakano Broadway. I was especially delighted to find this shop as I had previously been disappointed to find that the fabric shop in the basement of the Nakano Broadway shopping centre appeared to have closed down. I don't know whether this is the same shop that has moved or a newly opened one but I was relieved to find it in any case! I was pleased to be able to add to my collection of Japanese-style fabrics and I also bought a book about 'tsumami kanzashi', a technique of folding and glueing squares to fabric to form elaborate flowers and other decorative shapes used for things like hair accessories and brooches.
I also went to Design Festa, at the Tokyo Big Sight conference centre, which is a massive gathering of artists, designers, crafts people, creators and makers from across Japan and some even further afield. There were literally thousands of exhibitors and the talent and creativity on display was truly amazing.
In Japan, so much care is taken with small, every day tasks; design and style is embedded into all aspects of life. You can't help but be influenced by this culture and I have come home brimming with ideas both for this website and my own personal projects.
Look out for new items in the shop that use my new fabrics and craft tools!