Designs on Japan

Living in Ambleside my fascination with Japan developed through meeting many Japanese visiting the Lake District. Having trained as a Textile and Surface Designer I was also fascinated by the designs and colours of Kimono fabric and also Washi and origami papers.

In the 90’s we actually had a Japanese group in Ambleside made up of Japanese ladies who were employed in the local businesses like Mountain Goat and Dove Cottage in Grasmere. We taught each other songs. We sang and taught The Hokey Cokey in Japanese, they taught us the Sukiyaki Song. We had Damson (not cherry) blossom parties and also moon viewing parties. Then of course we had to learn a bit about making sushi and drinking sake!

I went on to learn the language as well as I could and then to finally visit Japan a few times, arriving home with a suitcase crammed full of paper and pens from Itoya my favourite Japanese store.

I like to draw with Rotring pen and work in to Japanese paper to add a splash of colour.

Japanese Shop Interior
Japanese Shop Interior Edogawa.

Fabric Designs

Although I do a lot of pen and ink drawing I do also have some of my designs printed on fabrics. These I then use for Cushion covers, Fabric by the length and also scarves.

Japanese Inspired Design Fabric by AmblesideArt
Japanese inspired Fabric Design
Temple Door Detail Tokyo

The Designs above were inspired by a temple door I had seen in Tokyo and also Mount Fuji viewed from the top of Mount Komagatake Ropeway near Lake Ashi and Hakone. I liked the little wisps of cloud floating past.

Mount Fuji from Hakone

I also loved this little building at the top of the Ropeway for inspiration too. Bitterly cold but the air was so clear and the views of Fuji San were stunning.

Top of Hakone Ropeway

A Lovely Place to Exhibit

Currently I am exhibiting at the wonderful National Trust Property Allan Bank in Grasmere. A percentage of sales go towards the upkeep of this fantastic and very different National Trust house, what an amazing place to hang my work.

National Trust Allan Bank Grasmere

More information about Alan Bank can be found here.

We had a lovely opening night with Prosecco and of course National Trust cakes!

Opening Night at Allan Bank Grasmere

On display are works of art that I designed for the property which use pen and ink and Japanese paper.

Art Work at Allan Bank

It was difficult hanging things as the walls are typical for a house of this age and not exactly level.

A Variety of Designs on Display

The property is open seven days a week and although the exhibition was meant to be on for two months due to popularity has been extended to end of June.

Art Work on Display
Art Work on Display

If in Grasmere do pop up and have a look, a chance to buy an original work of Art and also support the National Trust. You might be lucky enough to see the resident red squirrels too. And if you feel inspired by my Art work or the view, there is an art room at Allan Bank for you to draw and paint in too.

Khadi Hearts Design
Khadi Hearts Design

Trailing Leaves Design
Trailing Leaves Design

Mystic Triangles Design
Mystic Triangles Design

All the above works are originals. I do have some Risograph Prints on sale too in a Limited Edition of 50.

Vegetal Moons Risograph Print
Vegetal Moons Risograph Print


My Favourite Time of Year. Ume Blossom. Japan.

So often I hear people saying they hope to visit Japan to see the Cherry Blossom. The only problem is if you are travelling to Japan on a budget this is possibly the most expensive time of the year to visit.


Plum Blossom Japan

Less known but just as beautiful is Plum “Ume” Blossom and although there may be crowds it is a much more relaxed affair.

My favourite place to see the blossom is Hanegi Park in Setagaya-ku Tokyo. With 270 red plum trees and 380 plum trees at the last count, in a lovely little park a few minutes walk from Umegaoka Station on the Odakyu Line. Just follow the crowds.

Hanegi Park Tokyo

The Festival has Koto instrument performances, Haiku classes, and more plum food and drink than you could ever imagine. The plum tea is my favourite. Taking place late February to early March I can highly recommend a visit.

Painting Ume Blossom

Many artists set up easels around the park.

Ume Blossom Designs

I waited till I was back home to draw but I always feel inspired after seeing the blossom.

Plum Gifts

And as always Japan has gifts for the season. Beautiful packaging.