Sunday, 6 November 2011

Delving into the world of washi!

Today I received the first proofs of our new collection, it's such an exciting step and I'm really enjoying working with the manufacturer to bring my designs to fruition.  At the moment we're neck deep in design, while at the same time promoting and fulfilling orders from the previous line and working on designs for the next, it's  certainly hard to switch from one mode to the other at times and it often means Iam up all night with a head full of washi but it's exciting nonetheless.  So what are all the steps?

Firstly I develop my design idea, creating a jpeg of my design plan and identifying the colours from a pantone chart for the factory designers to develop a proof. With the Ophelia collection the first designs had a simple text file for Insanity Script and one damask shape drawing for the Regal Damask.

The designers at the factory then create 'proofs', both a digital file and photographs of the printed tapes (on strips of paper). A little bit of back and forth to refine the designs where necessary and then we're onto manufacture!

After the printing of the design onto large sheets of washi (or rice paper) adhesive is applied to the rolls.  A stripping agent is applied to the printed side to enable the tape to be pulled cleanly from the roll.

15 meters of rice paper tapes with glue on their backsides, and stripping agent on their front sides, are wrapped up into a core.

Tapes are gathered in large rolls in the factory before being cut to size manually.

The rolls are then packaged for delivery and head their way to Sawyer's Place on the South Coast of Western Australia.  A long way from where they start in Japan! From conception to delivery and release the entire process takes about 8-12 weeks depending on how complicated the design is and how many times we make changes to the proofs.  And all of this is accomplished between us and the factory staff - and we don't speak the same language!


  1. wow look at all that tape!!! cant wait to see more sawyers place designs!!!

  2. Tatum @ Sawyer's Place6 November 2011 at 04:43

    I know isn't it amazing - and they're all the "stock" designs, plain colours, spots and stripes we're used to. I've just spent the last hour "redesigning" the second of the new Titus tapes so am hoping once we approve new proofs tomorrow manufacture will commence!

  3. this is fabulous!! love seeing the process!!

  4. This is really interesting, thoroughly enjoyed reading the post. Thanks for sharing.