Karen + Brendan’s Romantic Watercolor Florals & Chinese Banquet Wedding Invitations

Wedding invitations are always a great way to tell a couple’s story. Karen from It’s Amore Design + Letterpress sent over her own wedding invitation suite last week and I’m so excited to share her story and invites. As a wedding stationery designer she found that designing her own wedding invitations was one of the most challenging things to do! She ended up collaborating with one of her friends, Keika Yamaguchiwho happens to be a talented children’s book illustrator.

Together they created not one, but TWO invitations, because there were two very different wedding venues with different guest lists. One venue was an outdoor rustic wedding in the mountains and the other took place in a traditional Chinese banquet hall! So here it goes… a tale of two invitations:

From Karen: We knew our stationery for the wedding would be a key storytelling element. The wedding site of our first venue, the Trinity Alps Wilderness, is a very special place for Brendan and me. Not only was it the place we got engaged, but it's a place we go back to often to be out in nature, kind of like our sanctuary. We wanted our guests to know how special it is so we incorporated a lot of details in the design like the flowers and butterflies.

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We had planned a wedding weekend and included an illustrated map for all the activity locations. All the invitation pieces were wrapped up as a package with a brass butterfly and gold glitter twine and then carefully tucked into an envelope with the guests’ address in calligraphy.

Our second venue was a traditional Chinese banquet hall, where we would celebrate my family's Chinese heritage. For this part of the invitation we wanted to make sure we had good feng shui so we included the Chinese character for “double happiness” while continuing the watercolor floral motifs.

I frequently do custom wedding invites, but I found that designing for yourself is quite hard. Keika did the beautiful watercolor illustrations while I focused on the overall design and typography. There are touches of gold foil throughout the design to give highlights to the florals and type. They are printed digitally on 100% cotton cardstock with gold foiled details. Our collaboration together created something more beautiful than I could have ever imagined!

Photo credit: Kris Holland

 

Field Trip: Washi Papermaking in Japan

When my husband and I discovered that there was an entire region in Japan dedicated to the craft of papermaking, we knew we wanted to spend part of our honeymoon visiting. Deep in the northern part of Fukui province the town of Echizen is known as the “land of washi” and has a rich history of producing paper that dates back to at least AD 774.

We travelled by train and bus through the countryside of Fukui to get to Echizen. When we passed manhole cover emblems depicting papermakers in action and small rivers running milky-white with mulberry pulp, we knew we had arrived.

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Our first stop was the Museum of Paper & Culture where we wandered through rooms filled with all the types and colors of washi that have ever been made. They also featured works of art from renowned washi artisans.

Our next stop was Udatsu Paper & Craft Museum where you can see a live demonstration from local artisans in a reconstructed papermaker’s house from 1748. I loved seeing the entire process from the original kozo plant harvest and tools to how it’s made into a pulp and then skillfully sifted into sheets of paper.

  Stages of the kozo plant

Stages of the kozo plant

  Separating the kozo fibers

Separating the kozo fibers

  Into the mold

Into the mold

  Sheets of washi ready to dry

Sheets of washi ready to dry

We also got to make our own paper at the “Papyrus House” where they have a whole set-up with sinks full of paper pulp and molds and elements for decorating your paper, like dried flowers, dyes and gold and silver leaf. A special note: if you make and send a postcard from Echizen you can get the special postmark that showcases the papermaking town symbol.

  Choose from the many decorative elements all beautifully laid out!

Choose from the many decorative elements all beautifully laid out!

  Placing the delicate dried florals.

Placing the delicate dried florals.

  Our finished postcard, ready to send out. Love how the gold glistens in the sun!

Our finished postcard, ready to send out. Love how the gold glistens in the sun!

  The special postmark showcasing the town symbol of the papermaker.

The special postmark showcasing the town symbol of the papermaker.

The trip wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the local temple dedicated to the papermaking goddess “Kawakami Gozen.” Legend has it that she came down from the heavens 1500 years ago to teach the people in the region how to make paper. Since there wasn’t rich soil to support rice fields the skill of papermaking was truly like a gift from above. We found the temple just before sunset, nestled in a pine forest at the edge of town. It was incredible to experience the beautiful art of washi papermaking up close and I’m very thankful that the people of this town continue to share its traditions with everyone.