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Tiny Crafty Beauty, RIBBONESIA

by Hiroki Yanagisawa on June 15, 2011 6:08 PM

New Definition of Japanese Craftsmanship from Sapporo.

Welcome to the world of RIBBONESIA. The kingdom is inhibited with tinie-tiny hand-sized animals, all gave birth from .... ribbons. The king (or should it be referred as God?) of the kingdom, or in another words, the creator behind these creatures is Baku Maeda, a Sapporo-based freelance illustrator.

Baku is a cutting edge illustrator (the story on Baku as an illustrator will be featured on the later issue of EDGY JAPAN), creating illustration works for numerous numbers of clients. (To name a few, MTV Japan, Sapporo City Jazz, and Dandy Hotel in Taipei.) It was back in 2008, when Baku realized that he wanted to do more of "fiddling" with fingers.

"My illustration work involved tons of PC-oriented work. As a creator, I wanted to create something by using my hands and fingers, instead of clicking and typing."

Initially, he was playing with power outlets. He connected electric plugs and multiple outlets one another, creating an animal shape. He has also made a castle by connecting branches from trees. These fiddling attempts were nothing to do with professional works -- they were something Baku enjoyed creating as a hobby.

After these attempts, the next material he had in his mind was a role of ribbon.

"When I looked at it I instantly thought that I can make some 3-D figures from it. The idea of creating animals initiated from here."

Baku said.

After countless trials and errors and meters of ribbon usage, Baku managed to perfect the shape of animal from a role of ribbon: "The secret was to create each animal with minimum elements. The simplicity was a key to its beauty."

At this point, Baku saw a potential of this "ribbon animal", and consulted his friends for further projects. In 2008, Baku, Toru Yoshikawa, creative director, Ryo Ueda, art director, Fumiaki Hamagaki, web director, and Kei Furuse, photograpther, got together to establish RIBBONESIA, a collective of Sapporo-based (some, semi-based) creators. In 2010 its website was launched.

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Curretnly, RIBBONESIA works in 2 fields. One is merchandise. Adornment is a small accessory, which can be attached on your party dress or suit. 5 animals from the kingdom -- Frosty Night Fox, 'NERO' The Cat, (Red Ribbon / Gold Ribbon), Patient Dog, Horn of Forest, and Golden Crest are on the market now.

Frosty Night Fox, RIBBONESIA

Golden Crest, RIBBONESIA

Patient Dog, RIBBONESIA

'NERO' The Cat (Red Ribbon), RIBBONESIA

Horn of Forest, RIBBONESIA


The latest series, a collaborative model with JungJung, a freelance knitter, was released in an exhibition in June 2011. With the theme of wedding, the two parties produced beautifully crafted wedding accessories.

Panda, RIBBONESIA x JungJung

RIBBONESIA x JungJung


The second domain of RIBBONESIA's activity is visual display. In May 2011, with a collaboration of Shindo, a ribbon trade house, Ribbonesia x Shindo Ornaments Exhibition was held. 3 sets of large pieces, also viewed as a masterpiece of RIBBONESIA world, were exhibited in one space.


Ribbonesia x Shindo Ornaments Exhibition

Ribbonesia x Shindo Ornaments Exhibition

Ribbonesia x Shindo Ornaments Exhibition


"In some way, I consider RIBBONESIA as an output of Japanese culture. When looked at packaging history of Japan, we tend to put rigorous time in wrapping and packaging. I think this trait is surely living in the spirit of Ribbonesia."

Toru Yoshikawa, the creative director of the project, said while citing the following image. (A bamboo-made plate, with eel.)

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From Sapporo the the world. The kingdom of RIBBONESIA's peaceful outmarch to the world is set to begin.

For more images of RIBBONESIA, go to EDGY JAPAN Flickr, or RIBBONESIA official website.

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