The internet is a wonderful thing! Some months ago I followed a link from Camilla Engman‘s blog to an online portfolio of Yoko Hayashi‘s ‘Celtic Forest‘ series. I was very taken with her beautiful, delicate, whimsical etchings and left a comment to that effect. We started to correspond: about the Canada geese in Regent’s ParkGinza Graphic Gallery, the wonderful work of Edo period artist Ito Jakuchu, British trees, the art supplies treasure-chest that is Ito-ya in Tokyo and tempura, amongst other things. And I’m very grateful to Yoko for doing all of the hard work and taking the time to write to me in English as I couldn’t hope to make myself understood in Japanese. I am acutely aware of how lazy one can become as a ‘first-language’ English speaker!

Last week I received a mystery package in the post. From the moment I saw the beautiful drawing on the brown-paper wrapping I was all-a-quiver with excitement!

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The contents of the package were so beautifully wrapped – in rich red and pink washi paper, folded with an elegant origami-esque simplicity and sealed with detailed little cats & butterflies – that the unwrapping was a gift in itself.

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But there was so much more to come. When the contents were revealed… what contents they were! Stunning postcards from the Ito Jakuchu ‘Doshoku Sai-e (Colorful Realm of Living Beings)‘ exhibition that Yoko recently attended in Kyoto, a beautiful and thoroughly inspiring book entitled ‘Japanese Design Collection: Colour’, and the piece de resistance: one of Yoko’s amazing etchings, ‘Little Nocturne’, No.1 in an edition of 30. I was blown away by Yoko’s overwhelming generosity. Dōmo arigatō gozaimasu, Yoko-san!

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Go and have a look at Yoko’s ‘Celtic Forest‘ if you haven’t already. I particularly like this one, and this one… oh and this one.