Japanese Woodblock Series #1: Twilight in Imamiya Street Evening Glow-Koitsu

Ukiyo-e Pictures of the floating world

Ishiwata Koitsu 1897-1987

Twilight in Imamiya Street Evening Glow

Storyline: Finding History

This print was still in the original folder of the portfolio when we found it. The pencil signature made it easier to locate the print information and the artist although there is an established Koitsu, Tsuchiya Koitsu creating Japanese woodblock prints, so his prints came up first. The print markings on the right side of the print, (Hakubo) Choshi machi Imamiya Dori and the seal at the bottom right also locate more information on the artist. The 1st edition had a 1932 date. This print was created sometime during the 1950s according to the dealer information. Known for his dark, moody colors the blues in this print are crisp and clean. The red background sky is intense on this print which is wonderful because I found prints with less red or no red coloring at all.

Ishiwata Koitsu was born in 1897 in Shiba, Tokyo, he is recognized for his village Japanese landscape designs. He studied textile design and worked for print publisher Watanabe Shozaburo studio. The prints full paper sheet measures  15.5 x10.5 and the print measures 14 1/8 x9.25. There is a strong bleed on the back along with the paper fibers on the right side margin & center top. This print is in perfect condition with no bends or wrinkles in the paper.

 What I love about this print from a designer standpoint is the bold black lines and the shades of blues and grays along with the light coming from the rice paper windows and the shadows of the workers heading home. The sunsets glow showcased an amazing pop of color, but this print has intensity with all the hues drawing the viewer into the landscape.

Value based on artist, the vibrancy of the artwork and rarity of the print along with age is estimated to be somewhere around $200.00-$300.00 depending on the dealer.

Woodblock Print Series showcases on Wednesdays.

Want to know more about the series?

Intimate Lingerie Trends 2020

Window Dressing

In the Mood

As a creative director for a major brand, the owner asked me why one of the designers wasn’t creating enough enthusiasm for his private label customers. Now this designer was and still is an amazing designer, but he had a habit of over-designing his collection, spending way too much time on a theory, which is how it usually works in our industry. Trending mini storyboards is a great way to focus on a trend without getting stuck in the concept. Too many times companies work with buyers and sales teams on illustrated concepts only to see them piled all over the design room floor. Working with customers for new input doesn’t have to be all about “the all of it,” a little Window Dressing can generate enthusiasm for a concept, get a conversation started with your buyers and sales teams, move a collection forward — trending 2020/2021, CHIARIstyle where the storyline is always changing.

Product Development Concepts

Trending the Market Place

Bodysuits, jumpsuits with whimsical prints and trims is still trending the market especially with new lingerie designers. Brands are still lingering with the same old trends in the same old colors waiting for something to click so they can translate the styles. The tee with creative details is ready for the message to get out.

Denim inspiration is everywhere, wash it, treat it, embellish it with print concepts.

Banding with transparent layers is still strong especially in black and never forget to storyboard the cup for new silhouettes for your buyers and sales teams.

Trending concepts in all the fun places, CHIARIstyle.

Last week The Japanese Woodblock Series was introduced with Koitsu’s Seto Inland Sea story line. Wednesday will be the series debut date, stay tuned for some amazing pieces of art, Ukiyo-e style.

Don’t forget every sketch, illustration, CAD takes you somewhere on the site.

Japanese Woodblock Series

Vintage Find

About six months ago while shopping at a vintage store in the valley with my sister-in-law, we came across a portfolio sitting on the floor behind a chair. The plain cardboard folder contained over 20 large prints with about 20 smaller prints inside. I knew right away that they were Japanese woodblock prints and once I turned over the backside that they were originals. We decided to split the price, not knowing what was really inside the package but felt that it was impossible to leave them at the store. Once I got them home, the enchantment took over. As a designer who loves print, the search was on to find the artist who created the amazing artwork. The process was not an easy task, and to say that I have now looked at hundreds if not a thousand of Japanese woodblock prints is an understatement.  My first thought is to thank Google, this search engine supplied image after image based on my search descriptions, it would have been a frugal endeavor, to find the artist or any information on the prints without this search engine, so thank you.

Tsuchiya Koitsu 1870-1949
Seto Inland Sea, Akashi Bay

So how do you find the information about a print when you have absolutely no idea who the artist is? Description, description, and more description! Downloading an app that translates Japanese into English helped but not by much because it did not give ample information needed, sometimes I got lucky because some of the prints had an artist signature, but still I had to locate the print. Once I started finding a few of the prints and the artist I proceeded to contact authentication firms, art galleries, museums and print dealers to see if I could get some authentication. I was positive they were original prints, but with all the markings I still could not determine the year date or authentication. I knew it had to be sometime during the ’50s because if they were of an earlier date, they would not be cast aside on a floor of some vintage store but that was just a guess. So month after month the search for anyone to respond to my request became a game with a little bit of enthusiasm only to find no follow through. Finally, after months and countless requests, I was beginning to think no one was interested in authenticating our prints. We had not thought about selling the prints; the task was to find someone, anyone to confirm my opinion that they were originals. This week I contact another gallery and the very next day I was stunned to find a response to my print request. Our Japanese woodblock prints are originals dated around the 1950s; they are later editions because the publisher's seal was missing in the margins and the written script was the title. We also learned that in the current state some of the prints had a price range of $150.00-$300.00 and was offered a nice sum for the three prints I had sent for review. BONUS, I called my sister-in-law and said that we had finally found the information we needed and that the price we had paid for the prints was worth the endeavor. Not all of the prints are in good condition but the search for every artist was a wonderful experience, and I have grown with the process. The dealer is in the process of making us an offer on the balance of the prints I know are in perfect condition based on all the research done, but it is the process of finding the prints creative history that I have found to be the most rewarding.  I have started to document the prints for my library before we let them go, in doing so this product development designer has decided to start the Japanese Woodblock Series about each print that I have found information on and the artist who created this fabulous print style.

Stay tuned it is going to be an informative ride.

To all Happy Holidays, Easter & Passover and may we all remember never to give up.

In the dressing room, CHIARIstyle

Find your trend.

Finding a trend is not about trend but product development concepts that can translate illustrations into key items or collections for the 2020/21 seasons.  Concept boards provide a boundless process for new ideas.  Working with buyers and manufactures a storyboard can showcase content, style and fashion impressions that get the conversation started on creative designs without cutting into a piece of fabric. Fashion illustrations can change a mood; define a trend or simply showcase a great idea. Let’s get intimate on new ways to create excitement with your lingerie designs, CHIARIstyle.