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Tradition goes on display at Yokohama fair

by Mark Jarnes

Staff Writer

From ink prints to flower arrangements, Japanese handicrafts are renowned all around the world for an unmistakable blend of ancient customs with a dash of foreign-influenced flavor. This month, a festival in Yokohama will showcase a host of local artisans and their creations in a bid to support these time-honored traditions.

The Craft Festa, which is now in it’s fourth year, will again take place at the Red Brick Warehouse in Yokohama’s Chuo Ward.

Goods set to go on display range from jewelry and glass art to handmade watches. There will be 30 exhibitors presenting a wide selection of Japanese, and not-so-Japanese, handiwork.

The event is organized by Craftmark, a Yokohama-based company that focuses on promoting the culture of artisanship in Japan.

“The range of works and genres on hand holds something special for everyone,” says Akihiko Mizukami, the CEO of Craftmark. “All of those participating are highly skilled artists.”

In addition to the artists on hand selling their wares, there will be hands-on workshops held at a number of areas at the venue. They are set to include pressed-flower arranging and fiber art, in which different types of wool are arranged onto a canvas to create a colored and textured surface.

For those who might be more unsure of their own abilities, there will also be live demonstrations held, where the artisans will show visitors the basics behind processes such as Japanese-styled airbrushing.

“All the materials used by the artists are painstakingly chosen,” says Mizukami. “You will be able to find one-of-a-kind pieces at the festa.”

“Craft Festa 2011″ runs from April 21-24 at the Number One Red Brick Warehouse in Chuo-ku, Yokohama. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.craftmark.jp/Festa11/Festa2011TOP.html