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Travel Inspiration from Japan

Summer 2016

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With the launch of our Spring Summer Collection we are excited to introduce pillows, stationery, and accessories that draw on one of our favorite destinations, Japan! Our travel expeditions come to life in a series of new embroideries inspired by the landscape, architecture, rich traditions, landmark visits, amazing meals and animal folklore as experienced by owner Stephanie Housley and colleague Asumi Tomita in December 2015. Here we will dive into the details of their trip and share inspiration behind each design!



Two side by side images, left picture of Coral and Tusk "A Wish to Protect Pillow" with illustration of fox and shrine, right image is inspiration collage of drawings and embroideries.


Our A Wish to Protect Pocket Pillow is inspired by Stephanie and Asumi’s visit to the Fox Shrine in Kyoto. Endangered species appear on the bold orange gate where visitors are invited to inscribe their greatest wishes and hopes. Our wish is to protect animals who face harm and extinction. Wishing Fox Pal lights a candle with his fellow animals in mind. “A Wish to Protect Pocket Pillow” には特別な思いが込められています。このデザインには、ステファニーが日本で体験した思い出と、絶滅危機にある動物達を守りたいという思いをこめています。 来日した際、京都の伏見稲荷大社を訪れました。その美しさと、平和な気持ちにさせる自然やキツネ達の姿にとても感銘を受けました。鳥居の上には、絶滅危機にある動物達を守りたいという気持ちをこめて。そして、ロウソクを手にしたキツネはそのメッセージを届ける役を担っています。


Coral and Tusk travel photos of the Fox Shrine in Kyoto.



Coral and Tusk travel photos of the Fox Shrine in Kyoto.


Stephanie was extremely taken by the beauty and peaceful nature found at the Fox Shrine along with the concept of foxes as messengers. When interpreting her own experience visiting the shrine, Stephanie included detailed drawings of leaves and ferns to give a sense of serenity to the A Wish to Protect design.


Raccoon Abode Pocket Pillow is a culmination of sites and scenes that stood out to Stephanie in each city and town she ventured to in Japan. The Raccoon’s abode is adorned with traditional good luck charms including a Shimenawa to the left of the door and a mask to ward off evil spirits, above the window. Lucky Raccoon, peeking outside of his door, is drawn from traditional. ceramic raccoon dogs, or Tanukis, that are placed outside many homes in Japan for good fortune. The Tanuki statue looks charming yet mischievous, Stephanie brought his jovial presence to our Lucky Raccoon Pal.




Left: A shimenawa, a charm to ward off evil spirits displayed on front doors during the New Year created from twisted straw. Right: A restaurant with a shop curtain.


Image of a shop in Japan, many plants outside.



Image of fence in Japan with potted plants hanging and lined up along the ground.


Before traveling to Tokyo, Stephanie always imagined the city as a very big and busy place. She was surprised to find that there were little shops and narrow streets connecting a variety of smaller communities together. Along with this discovery, Stephanie was also taken by the amount of greenery found in the city and the countryside. Flowers and plants flourish in small enclaves in front of homes and businesses. 来日する前にステファニーが東京に抱く印象は、映像などで見る大都会のイメージが漠然とあったので、沢山の人が忙しなく行きかう慌ただしい街でした。しかし訪れてみると、東京には、小さな通り、お店や家、それをつなぐ人々のコミュニティが至る所にあり、それをとても温かく感じ、来日以前とは全く違う印象を得ました。また、緑や花を軒先に飾るお家を多く見かけ、それがとても素敵だと思ったようです。 Our new collection is not only inspired by places we visited in Japan but also by the country’s folk tales. Asumi Tomita shared stories of animal folklore with Stephanie, who then put pencil to paper and thread to fabric. Many of the tales found in Japanese mythology and folklore involve animals who help humans, The Grateful Crane is one of those tales!  Our Feather Weaving Crane pillow depicts The Grateful Crane creating a cloth of gold, woven from her own feathers. She made the glimmering textile to present to the older couple who saved and sheltered her, here the couple are reimagined as friendly mice!

新作のひとつ、”The Grateful Crane” は昔話「鶴の恩返し」にインスピレーションを得ています。鶴の羽には、まるで織物のように美しい金色の羽が。小さなネズミ二匹はもしかしたら鶴を救ったおじいさんとおばあさんの仮の姿かもしれませんね。


Coral and Tusk Friendship Tree Pillow on pink backdrop.


The Friendship Tree is also based on a tale of a generous animal! Here we interpret the story of Shiro, a magical dog who brings fortune to his friends!  Beneath the Cherry Blossom Tree, a symbol of beauty and life, a couple of dogs play in the pink petals. In the Japanese folktale, there is more misfortune than depicted in The Friendship Tree design, we wanted to focus on the positive aspects of love, generosity, and man’s best friend!

“The Friendship Tree” は昔話の「花坂爺さん」にインスピレーションを受けてデザインしました。おじいさんとおばあさんに大事にされた犬のシロが2匹、そしてお話にも登場する綺麗な鳥が、松と桜の木の上にとまっています。



Left: Lucky Cats Zipper Pouch. Right: Lucky Cats Embroidered Card

Maneki-neko, or Lucky Cat, welcomes Kitty to be his friend. Together they send good fortune to all!


Coral and Tusk at Goutokuji, a temple in Tokyo famous for the amount of Maneki-neko in one location.


Our Maneki-neko designs are inspired by Stephanie and Asumi’s trip to Goutokuji, a temple in Tokyo famous for the amount of Maneki-neko in one location. Many stories claim Maneki-neko’s origin. At Goutokuji, we learned the story of a nobleman who avoided danger when Maneki-neko beckoned him over by the motion of his paw, making the iconic cat a symbol of good luck.



Coral and Tusk Persimmon Pouch


The Persimmon Pouch illustrates a Japanese story with an all star cast, including a monkey, crab, bee, chestnut, and mortar. Interested? Learn more about the full folktale. The moral of the story is what goes around comes around, if you treat others badly, bad things will come back to you. Different iterations of the tale have different endings, and our reinterpretation imagines a positive one, where the crab and monkey become best friends, sharing persimmons and loving life! “The Persimmon Pouch” のインスピレーションをは昔話の「猿蟹合戦」。ステファニーの描く物語では、最後にカニたちとサルが仲良く和解しています!


Coral and Tusk embroidered stationery on orange paper background.


Embroidered Stationery featuring some new favorite characters!


Coral and Tusk travel photo in Japan, red Japanese maple trees with temple in the background.



Coral and Tusk travel photo from Japan, landscape looking over water, orange fence and lookout on left, lush green forest on right.


With this collection we hope to share our amazing experience exploring the beauty & wonders of Japan! Stephanie’s travels were made possible by Asumi Tomita and our good friend Yumiko of Fog Linen. We are thrilled to be visiting AGAIN this coming April, stay tuned!!