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Washi machines

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It took an e-mail, a factory tour, two handmade books and the persistence of three  women—a gallery owner, a graphic designer and a collage artist—to finally convince Kamoi Kakoshi, a Japanese company that had been producing flypaper and industrial masking tape for decades, to release more colorful rolls of their beloved tape. Since its successful launch in 2006, MT Masking Tape, Kamoi’s line of fun and functional rice paper tapes or washi tapes, has inspired other companies to release their own versions of the decorative tape.

Today, washi tape continues to have a cult following, charming crafters, artists, design fans and kawaii lovers from all over the world with its pretty shades and patterns. In the hands of these creative individuals, washi tape becomes more than just tape—it’s a medium in creating art.

We asked five Filipina crafters and designers to show us what they like doing with their rolls of washi tape. They’re different people—a lawyer, an invitation maker, a French teacher, a multimedia specialist, an interior designer—but they have two things in common: A big love for washi and a gift for creating beautiful things with it.

Airees Escueta-Rondain

Handmade paper invitation maker and part-time design consultant

When did you first start using washi tape?

AIREES’ washi collection

Back in 2010, there was a box of colored masking tape at a scrapbook store in Singapore where I worked. I bought three rolls and used them for the mini album I gave to my husband as a gift.

What do you love about washi tape?

It’s versatile. It adds that oomph to any project. It makes stuff cuter.

Where do you buy your washi?

Hey Kessy, Takashimaya, Paper Market and Made With Love in Singapore.

How many rolls do you have so far?

121 rolls (excluding the duplicates).

What do you use your washi for?

Scrapbooking, collage, decorating my journals & other craft projects

Any tips for people who are just starting to discover the wonders of washi?

Decide which colors you tend to gravitate to when making crafts or you’ll end up buying every color and design out there.

What’s a good DIY washi project beginners can start with?

Decorate your planner/journal; use washi tapes to decorate a plain-colored card and envelope (use them to create borders or buntings). For parties, decorate plain paper cups, plates, wooden spoons and forks with washi tape.

What other creative activities do you enjoy?

Scrapbooking, making cards, making mixed-media collages, baking and watercolor painting.

Where can people see your creations?

My website www.HandcraftedExpressions.com, my blog aireescreates.blogspot.com and @aireescreates on Instagram and Pinterest.

Who are your crafting heroes?

Kelly Rae Roberts, Melody Ross, Holly Becker and Leigh Standley. My scrapper and Instagram crafty friends inspire me as well.

Which blogs/Instagram accounts do you visit regularly?

Lovemytapes.blogspot.com, happytape.blogspot.com, @HeyKessy, @thefozzybook, @aphazia, @ayadalumpines, @iam_artisan.

Richelle Macapagal

Lawyer

When did you first start using washi tape?

I started using washi tape sometime in February 2012. I finally caved and bought my first bundle from heykessy.com. It all started with a two-part entry on 8Tokyo.com about the 2011 MT Expo in Shibuya. There was also an entry on Hello Sandwich which had even more photos. Walls and floors decorated with washi tape! Piles of tape rolls! It was all so colorful and cute.

ONA ROLL Richelle’s collection

What do you love about it?

I love the variety of colors and designs. I love that it’s forgiving. It doesn’t require that you cut perfect lengths and edges. It allows you to be messy and make mistakes. Overlapping pieces and torn edges actually make things look different and more interesting and you can peel and restick the tape.

Where do you buy your washi?

Most of my rolls are from heykessy.com and Lasting

Impression. Occasionally, I find rolls at bazaar booths or stores.  (National Bookstore’s

scrapbooking section has a few rolls, Fully Booked has some really expensive ones, and I picked up roll of MT from Quirks early last year).

How many rolls do you have so far?

62. I swear I use them all!

What do you use your washi for?

All sorts of things. I use them to: Personalize my office and craft tools. Make stationery sets. Decorate wrapped gifts and seal envelopes. Label my keys and light switches. Tie up a party theme. Make backgrounds for my paper cut cards and notebooks.

Any tips for people who are just starting to discover the wonders of washi?

Use whatever you buy and just accept the fact that the roll will eventually run out. I promise it’s more satisfying to make things with tape rather than just stare at your collection like Gollum.

Share and swap! It’s a more cost-effective way of collecting patterns and designs. It’s great way to meet-up and chitchat with other creative (washi-obsessed) people.

When you run out of ideas, try Pinterest and Google.

What’s a good DIY washi project beginners can start with?

Personalize your stuff. Make yourself a “monogrammed” set of cards. Decorate free wall space or fridge doors and mirrors. Create your own wall decals (http://www.refinery29.com/inside-three-a-ivy-league-dorm-rooms—try drawing out 2D furniture on your walls if you’ve got the time and the tape) or write stuff.

What other creative activities do you enjoy?

Doodling. Origami—I picked this up in grade school from my Japanese classmates. Gift-wrapping—I seriously believe that packaging is part of the gift your’e giving, so it’s just as important. I like making my own wrapping paper and embellishments too. It saves so much money. Photography—this is limited to nonmoving inanimate objects and candid photography. I’m not that great at portraits of any sort. Calligraphy—I’m a newbie at this. I attended Fozzy’s calligraphy workshop last year and I’ve been hooked since. Stamp-making—I also went to Alessa and Mansy’s rubber cut crafternoon last year.

Where can people see your creations?

Instagram (@weekendsinthecity) and my blog (http://weekendsinthecity.net).

Who are your crafting heroes?

Lia Griffith (http://www.ellinee.com/blog/); Stephanie Corfee (http://stephaniecorfee.com/)

and Martha Stewart (http://www.marthastewart.com/crafts). You’ve got to admire someone who’s got quite the crafting empire. Oh and I love her punchers. I just wish they weren’t so expensive!

Which blogs/Instagram accounts do you visit regularly?

I just search Pinterest or Instagram using hash tags #washi or #washitape to see what everyone else has been doing.

Rossy Yabut-Rojales

Creative Director of Heima and Heim

Interiors

How did you discover washi tape?

I saw my favorite crafty bloggers feature the washi tapes, and it was love at first sight.

ROSSY washified her laptop

What do you love about it?

It’s colorful, printed, and can stick anywhere without the mess!

Where do you buy your washi?

Craft stores and Heima.

How many rolls do you have?

At least 50 rolls.

What do you use your washi for?

Different art projects. But to be honest, I just love staring at them.

What are your favorite washi projects?

I love using washi for the home! Recently, we used washi tapes to decorate our wedding car!

What other creative activities do you enjoy?

I am slowly learning calligraphy and film photography.

Where can people see your creations?

Heima’s online sites like Instagram are basically my creative outlet.

Who are your crafting heroes?

Holly Becker, Ebony Bizys and Leslie Shewring

Which blogs/Instagram accounts do you visit regularly?

Decor8blog.com, acreativemint.typepad.com and hellosandwich.blogspot.com

Andrea A. Dela Cruz

Multimedia Specialist

When did you first start using washi tape?

2011. Years and years ago, I blogged about how I wished that colored masking tape existed, since I liked creating collages using masking tape. Friends tell me that colored masking tape exists, but at that time I couldn’t find any. This search led me to foreign craft blogs waxing poetic about “washi tape,” which seems to be a prettier, pricier version of the masking tape. Years later I stumbled upon a store selling MT washi tapes, and then after that I met other washi tape suppliers through online shops.

ANDREA’S washi stash (Tree from Umbra, P1,200, available at National Book Store)

What do you love about washi tape?

I love how versatile it is, and how colorful and beautiful the designs are. It sticks to almost everything but can be easily removed without sticky residue. Form and function at its finest.

Where do you buy your washi?

From Hey Kessy (heykessy.com), Lasting Impression, Hobby Depot

How many rolls do you have so far?

Not enough, haha!

What do you use your washi for?

In Hey Kessy’s Messy Washi Party, I declared that I want to “washi the world!” I want to try and use it to prettify everything: Illustrations, everyday objects, bare walls, gifts and letters, for example.

What are your favorite washi projects?

Right now I’m obsessed with making washi collages and minicards decorated with washi tape.

Any tips for people who are just starting to discover the wonders of washi?

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes when you’re crafting with washi tapes—you can easily peel them off or use the scraps to make collages!

What’s a good DIY washi project beginners can start with?

Notebooks covered with washi tape look lovely and are as unique as the crafter.

What other creative activities do you enjoy?

I’m learning pottery and I’ve recently rediscovered the joy of air-dry clay. I also like creating rubber stamps and art journaling.

Where can people see your creations?

My craft blog is mabuhaydiy.wordpress.com. I also maintain this online book club with day-based themes: booklat.tumblr.com

Which blogs/Instagram accounts do you visit regularly?

heykessy.blogspot.com, http://hellosandwich.blogspot.com/

Mansy N. Abesamis

French teacher and founder of HeyKessy.com

How did you discover washi tape?

I chanced upon an international crafter’s blog. She used washi tape in almost all her DIY projects. It was a bit frustrating at first because there were no local washi tape sellers. I saw local blogs whose owners bought their washi stash from trips abroad or asked relatives who were visiting to buy for them.

HEY MANSY Mansy’s personal washi collection

What do you love about it?

I like how I can use them on almost all media—paper, glass, plastic, and even fabric! Another good thing about them is that they do not leave messy adhesive.

Where do you buy your washi?

Hey Kessy (www.heykessy.com).

What do you use your washi for?

I always bring a roll or two of washi tape wherever I go. Once, I used it to tape the broken straps of my sandals when a random person accidentally stepped on it . When I’m at home, I make washi jewelry, coasters, and postcards. I also love upcycling bottles using them. They’re almost for anything really.

What are your favorite washi projects?

My favorite Hey Kessy washi project would have to be the wedding invites I made last December. I made each letter like twigs with leaves. I single handedly cut the small leaves from washi tape one by one. I thought my eyesight was getting blurry because the shapes were so small to cut that I was squinting almost the whole time! Haha. It was tiring, but whenever I would see it, I get inspired. Working on those invites made me happy and fulfilled.

Any tips for people who are just starting to discover the wonders of washi?

To always remember that it’s always better to be a maker/crafter than a hoarder. Use your washi tapes, don’t just display or stare at them!

What’s a good DIY washi project beginners can start with?

They can start decorating with washi the things they use every day like notebooks, laptops, phone cases, mugs, etc. They can even personalize their rooms by using washi tapes on their wall, chairs, and study tables. Hey Kessy has a lot of washi designs, I’m sure there’s something for everyone.

What other creative activities do you enjoy?

I make stoneware plates, brass jewelry, ceramic jewelry, papercuts, rubber stamps and rubbercut prints. I also paint with oil.

Where can people see your creations?

They can visit my website www.mansillianasunday.com. I also blog at www.heykessy.blogspot.com and manage our page https://www.facebook.com/heykessy.

Who are your crafting heroes?

My crafting heroes would have to be the local makers and crafters I am so grateful to have met. Here in the Philippines where some arts and crafts materials are not yet available and the Handmade Movement is just starting, they are determined to thrive and continue making. They make time, especially those who have day jobs. Their dedication to their craft and constant self-improvement is really admirable. There’s so much talent in this country.

Which blogs/Instagram accounts do you visit regularly?

I follow Gennine’s blog (http://blogdelanine.blogspot.com/). She’s a crafter/artist based abroad. Because I am a very visual person, I love how her posts are centered on beautiful photos of her studio, where she lives, her pets, and projects.


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