Tuesday, 30 August 2011

The Story Behind our Collections: Japanese Paper Balloons from Petra Boase

When we wanted to bring something sweet and fun and ultimately decorative into the Sisters Guild Boutique, we turned to Petra Boase.  From Petra we were able to source the Japanese Paper Balloons that have been charming us for a few years now.

Petra Boase is well known for her beautiful greetings cards and gifts (some of which we shall be adding to the boutique for Christmas, so do look out!). Petra established her design range in the year 2000 with collage style hand-made greetings cards inspired by her knowledge and passion for textiles - having graduated from Manchester with a Textiles degree.  Petra has since expanded her collection, seen it spread across the globe, collaborated on many books , at the same time as raising a family of 3 children in Norfolk.  She's certainly an inspiring designer, business-woman and mama! AND she has a very stylish home too!

Petra Boase must've been as charmed as us when she first discovered the Japanese Paper Balloons and decided to make them a part of the Petra Boase collection - we are glad she did as they are not that easy to get hold of.  Apparently production in Japan is quite limited now even though thay are a very common plaything for Japanese children.

So, where did they originate?  I can find 2 stories:

One source says they were developed in the 1890's:  Kamifusen emerged as an alternative to the rubber balloon. They were created by the wives of fishermen during the winter season with handmade paper, with the toy then catching the attention of Japanese manufacturers in the early 1920's. They are traditionally used in the Kamifusen game, where you blow air in the paper balloon and keep the multicolored Kamifusen afloat by hitting them with your hand. A simple game that is still played today.

Another source traces them back further to the beginning of the Yedo period (1603 - 1867), when kami-fusen were made by masterless samurai as their side job.

As well as playthings they are beautiful as interior decoration, and not limited to any room, they can be everywhere!  You can choose to have them up permanently or just for parties - speaking of which, they make a great party bag goodie.

They come in many different animal designs. Made from bright, crisp environmental paper, each balloon comes flat and you simply blow in the hole to make the balloon expand.  The balloons can be flattened and blown up over and over again.  To hang the best tip is to thread a piece of cotton through the top and hang with a pin or white-tack.  You can make a lovely arrangement of your favourite characters:

Discover the Japanese Paper Balloons here, from £2.25

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This is part of our series of blogs where we share the story behind our collections; because the collections and their creators mean so much to us here at Sisters Guild we want to pass the story on.

We bring a new blog each day; other series of blogs include our 'Monday Makery' with ideas and 'how to's'  to make and bake with all the family, Wednesday we woo you with our favourite pieces from the boutique and its new arrivals, Thursday is all about the art of living; discovering places and sharing new treasures and Friday we bring you the 'A-Z of Sisters Guild' a collection of pictures that convey the life behind the boutique

You can Follow us on Twitter here ,like us on Facebook here and visit our rather marvellous boutique here

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