Sunday, December 5, 2010

My latest hobby

Right before I left Japan I got really interested in etegami. It's a kind of Japanese folk art. The word "e" means picture and "tegami" is letter so "etegami" is picture letter. Really they are postcards.

I love postcards. Ever since I was a little girl I have collected post cards. I have hundreds from everywhere I've traveled, some from you here on my flist, and a large selection of old postcards my grandmother gave me when she cleaned out her desk. My favorites are the ones my grandpa sent from Germany when he was stationed there in the 50's. So postcard art is right up my alley.

Etegami has several components. First you ink in the outline. Sumi ink is traditional You hold the brush at the very top. It makes it very hard to draw precisely that way but you end up with what is called a "living line." Second you lay in the color with gansai water colors. Then you add words - a saying or a phrase that goes along with the picture. Then you put your stamp on it. I use the smaller of my two stamps that my calligraphy teacher, Maeda-sensei, made for me.

Finally, and this is the most important part, you give the postcard to someone. A little old lady in Kobe told me "it's not etegami unless you give it away." I love getting mail and I hope the people I send them to like getting mail too. So far it has already prompted a nice long email from my friend still living in Japan.

Below are a few samples of what I've drawn and also ones that Marie painted and sent me before I left Japan this summer. She helped me find a book to bring home and I bought most of the supplies before I left since they are much harder to find here in the States. I did a bunch that were fall and Halloween themed and sent them to friends.

Fall etegami

Halloween etegami
I made this one for the Roommate.

Halloween etegami
And then I gave her this one the next day.

Etegami from Marie
You and me are like cherries - Marie gave me this one.

Etegami from Marie
Let's go eat delicious sushi - Marie gave me this one.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing these Jen!! I hope it becomes a life-long hobby with you as it has with me.