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Here’s another instalment in the long-distance notebook collaboration I’ve been working on with my friend Yoko for the past few years. I sent my most recent notebook entry off to Japan in late February, and as it has (long since) safely arrived at its destination it is (long overdue) time to document it here!

In her previous entry Yoko had ingeniously flipped the notebook (a simple 21 x 21 cm square, ringbound, kraft paper notebook from Muji) 90° to create an expansive portrait, rather than landscape, orientation image.

notebook [tokyo] – yoko’s previous entry, double-page spread
(artwork © yoko hayashi)

(You can check out more pictures of Yoko’s previous entry here)

I was really taken with this orientation and somewhat abashed not to have considered it before. I was also very enamoured with the magical universe Yoko had created and wanted to ‘dig deeper’, so to speak… What better way to do this than to travel straight down into the earth below Yoko’s enchanted, snow-laden village.

notebook [tokyo] – seedlings

One of the (many) great joys of this collaboration is the unfettered ‘playground’ the notebook provides: when we began the collab we had two simple tenets: “No Pressure. No Rules.” – so anything goes, and working in it is a welcome opportunity to step away from other projects, to explore ideas for possible future projects, to experiment in a new or different medium etc. I hadn’t done any papercutting for a very long time and was hankering after a bit of scalpel action…

papercutting work-in-progress

multi-layered papercuts in fiery-coloured mulberry/kozo paper
[sunrise and a (grubby!) window make a good lightbox in a pinch]

I also used it as an opportunity to pay homage to our beloved (and very deeply missed) Gira, who we lost to cancer – at the very young age of five-and-a-half – in November last year. Figuring out how to draw a curled-up feline skeleton was both tribute (Gira knew a thing or two about the contented curl-up!) and catharsis…

And applying hundreds of copper and bronze gouache dots to the loamy earth was comfortingly cathartic too…

notebook [tokyo] – gouache stippling as moving meditation

Here are Yoko’s pages and mine combined into a single image, so you too can journey down through this world’s cool, crystalline firmament to its fiery, molten core…

notebook [tokyo] – four page, vertical spread
(artwork top © yoko hayashi)

notebook [tokyo] denotes the notebook that started its life in Tokyo, and notebook [amsterdam] denotes the notebook that started its life in Amsterdam

The preceding Amsterdam/Tokyo project posts can be found here:
(1) | (2) | (3) | (4) | (5) | (6 – part I) | (6 – part II) |
(7 – part I) | (7 – part II)

At last, I’m back with new instalments from the long-distance sketchbook/notebook collaboration I’ve been working on with my friend Yoko Hayashi.

It’s always a thrilling day here when a MUJI notebook sized package, postmarked Tokyo, lands in my letterbox!

mujinotebook collaboration - post packagaing

In my previous entry (which you can see here) I’d left Yoko with a rather awkward, untidy-back-of-embroidery page to work with…

muji notebook (tokyo) - back-of-embroidery

I was intrigued to see what she’d done with this page. I knew it would be beautiful and inventive, but I wasn’t prepared for just how beautiful – there was actual gasping when I turned the page to reveal Yoko’s most recent entry…

mujinotebook (tokyo) - artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook [tokyo] – detail (artwork by yoko hayashi)

This fine lace-like filigree evokes a constellation of delicate celestial bodies or magical snow crystals.

Although they are painted they have an enticing three-dimensional quality – like real openwork – that makes one want to reach out and touch them.

muji notebook (tokyo) - artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook [tokyo] – double page spread (artwork by yoko hayashi)

The village beneath this constellation (itself, it would seem, born of fallen stars/snow crystals) exudes a peaceful otherworldly calm, and that deep stillness that almost always accompanies abundant snowfall.

muji notebook (tokyo) - artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook [tokyo] – detail (artwork by yoko hayashi)

Soft, substantial snow came to Haarlem a few days after the notebook arrived. Coincidence or enchantment? I favour the latter…

muji notebook (tokyo) - artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook [tokyo] – all artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook [tokyo] denotes the notebook that started its life in Tokyo, and notebook [amsterdam] denotes the notebook that started its life in Amsterdam

The preceding Amsterdam/Tokyo project posts can be found here:
(1) | (2) | (3) | (4) | (5) | (6 – part I) | (6 – part II)

All artwork in this post is copyright yoko hayashi

While I had a screenprinting table booked at the printmaking studio (for the making of owl and octopus prints) I took the opportunity to also work on my annualend of year’ greeting cards (in the middle of October… an unprecedented bit of forward-planning on my part! ;)

Once again I was inspired by kirigami snowflakes (I love the surprise of seeing the final shape revealed as you open up the cut, and I cannot get enough of their pleasing symmetry and infinite variety!). Unlike these cards made a couple of years ago I was determined to keep the process as simple as possible (i.e. less time-consuming, but still very much handmade) so I ‘cut’ my snowflake designs out in Adobe Illustrator…

… to quickly have high quality vectors and a digital file ready to create transparencies for exposure onto the printing screen.

Colour choices were determined, in part, by the large stash of already-mixed inks I have from previous projects (can’t let all that lovely, gloopy ink go to waste!).

I made colour swatches (on the paper I intended to print on)
to better see the available colours…

… and enlisted the help of my colour-savvy studio assistant in making the choices.

I printed on a favourite paper – Oud Hollands (‘Old Dutch’) cards and envelopes. The 300gsm cards have a subtly textured vellum finish surface and four beautiful deckle-edges, and the old-style envelopes are lightly textured with a laid surface (lightly ribbed) and an Old Dutch watermark (“Van Gelder”). Although the paper-making process has been automated to some degree over the past 350 years these cards and envelopes are still made here in Holland with a love and respect for 17th Century Dutch paper-making processes and traditions, and they have a wonderful handmade quality.

I’m very excited about this beautiful paper (can you tell?), and if I wasn’t so busy trying to distract my afore-mentioned studio assistant from voraciously chewing on it I’d probably be tempted to eat it myself (it’s that tasty!)

I’ll be using most of these cards myself but I did make a few extra in all four colours and these are now available in my Etsy shop, as packs of four cards & envelopes (one of each colour), or packs of two cards & envelopes (in a single colour).

some of my work, available on etsy
support worldwide wild cat conservation

copyright

All images and words on this site are © suzanne norris / sakurasnow unless otherwise specified.

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"This is Ground Control to Major Tom… … it’s time to leave the capsule if you dare" - #spaceoddity #ThinGreyDuke #spacecadet #grayson #grey #cat #greeneyes #onelungedwonder #GraysonTheGreat #catsofinstagram #catsofholland - Disclaimer: dear internet… before you freak out 🙀 about the dangers washer/dryer machines pose for cats, rest assured that Major Tom was supervised at all times 😸 -
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Darkroom shenanigans! (My ‘darkroom’ is simply an area in my studio that can be enclosed by light-proof curtains when needed. Grayson had not yet discovered this fluid ‘space within a space’ and was mightily intrigued when I recently used it while exposing some screens for a new print) - #darkroom #lightproof #blackoutcurtains #black #grey #cat #greeneyes #grayson #explorer #onelungedwonder #MegaLung #ThinGreyDuke #catsofinstagram #screenprinting #zeefdruk #lowkey #lowkey_photography -
This was a relatively good inking session, but the intense & unprecedented heatwave we’ve been experiencing in NL has had some ‘interesting’ effects on my drawing ink – turning it (and me!) into a rapidly congealing, sticky mess. The second pic illustrates a particularly bad inking session when, on lifting the freshly dipped pen to continue drawing, the entire inkpot came with it and crash-landed across the drawing. Ugh… a sticky mess indeed! This is, of course, a very trivial effect of the #climatebreakdown we now find ourselves in the midst of, but no less vexing for its insignificance in the great scheme of things… #no_use_crying_over_spilt_ink - #drawing #inking #indianink #encredechine #dippen #spillage #blunder #stickymess #sunlight #shadow #organic #pattern #mycelium #tangled #chaos #climatecollapse - Thankfully today is a cooler, rainy day… perfect inking conditions! -
A jaw-dropping summer sunset in Haarlemtown this evening… - #sunset #summer #evening #sun #light #golden_orb #dusk #clouds #roofgardenviews #haarlem #dutch_sky #painterly #colour #awe_inspiring #nature -

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