Monday, September 26, 2011

MT tape and Japan reminiscence

MT Tape! Who knew it had become such a 'thing'? And why hadn't I heard of it? I lived in Japan in 2004 (yikes, seven years ago now!) and thought I missed this fad entirely. When I read about it in Paper Runway magazine I became fascinated by its possibilities so I found an Etsy shop called Crafty Japan run by an Australian woman living over there and put in an order. Later I decided I needed Jenna Templeton's zine 'Little book of mt masking tape' (discovered in Paper Runway) and so I ordered that from her Etsy shop.

Happily and co-incidentally both packages arrived on the exact same day last week. Hoorah!

Then I read in the 'Little book of mt masking tape' that the rise of MT tape didn't begin until about 2006 – ah, no wonder I hadn't heard of it. Apparently the company, Kamoi, have been going since 1923 but only recently began making the tape in colours and patterns at the request of some creative Tokyo women who'd started using it for collaging.

MT tape is basically masking tape, but pretty. You can use it for labelling, gift wrapping, craft and it remains adhesive after you peel it off. It also doesn't leave any sticky residue on the surface you stick it to so you can use it to hold down watercolour paper, for example.

I have a bit of a fetish for stationery and wrapping. For example, if I am asked in a shop if I want something gift wrapped I will usually decline because I want to do it myself. Is that weird? I know most people find it a chore, but I love it. So I was thinking of all the ways in which MT tape might assist me in my creative wrapping endeavours.

When I lived in Japan I loved both the ridiculous and the sublime. I know it's a bit of a cliché but it really is a land of contradictions. I was looking through my old photos the other day and I have lots of images that look like this:


but also this:


Oh, how I loved karaoke, hyaku-en shops and purikura machines. But aesthetically I was more attracted to the austere, minimalist Japan rather than the kitsch Hello Kitty kind of kawaii. A lot of the applications of MT tape seem to fall into the kawaii camp and can be a little garish but I have seen some gorgeous things done with it too.

So I'm very pleased with my small selection of washi tape and no doubt I will be looking for more patterns and designs before too long. In my mt tape internet travels I also found this gorgeous little shop selling lovely Japanese crafty things. Very tempting...