Saturday, November 17, 2007

Back From Japan

Ah, it’s good to be home. Traveling to another country is always fun, but tiring. We did lots of shopping at bead shops, paper stores, and craft supply places. It has been about two years since I last visited Japan and I was anxious to see what the Japanese crafters were doing. They are usually in tune with European trends and a little behind U.S. crafts. Anyway, I was surprised that I didn’t see anything really new. I thought the Japanese would be doing more scrapbooking, but I didn’t see any evidence of it (although they did have lots of rubber stamps and punches for sale). In the bead stores, crystals still seem popular and there are some new shapes and colors. Perhaps because sterling silver prices have risen, other metal findings are visible. Of particular interest to me was the new ‘pink gold’. Available in chains, clasps, pins, etc. this new metal looks like a light-colored, shiny copper. I purchased a small quantity and hopefully will be able to offer findings to you on our store site. I think the pink gold is actually a copper alloy. It is a good alternative to gold or silver because it has a reasonable price tag.
Japanese paper is still amazing to me. I think I am addicted to the textures and patterns. I had to refrain from buying all I wanted. I am thinking of making some mixed bags of various papers I’ve collected over the years and offering them on the website. The last time I was in Japan I found a place that sold mixed paper scraps in a bag and I thought they were a great deal. I think little bits of this and that are always fun for crafters. Many years ago I purchased a rubber stamp carving set at a craft fair and always wished that I had more rubber blanks. On this trip I discovered a small rubber stamp carving kit which we hope to put on sale on our website. I think Ben Franklin Crafts may have sold a larger set several years ago.
I did find a project idea, which I plan to include in the next newsletter and I may have found a source for an item needed in another project. Overall, the trip was too short but it was good to visit Japan during the fall and see that Christmas is becoming a very big holiday for the Japanese. Hearing English Christmas carols in the Japanese shopping mall is somehow very odd but comforting.


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