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Sas and Yosh(artists/illustrators)

A joyful textile collection from a powerful design duo

This spring we feature Sas and Yosh Textile in our textile story column. These textiles are created by Sarah Bellisario and Yoshie Allan, a collaborative design team.
‘Sas and Yosh’ started their brand from 2014. Since then, they have created a wide range of items such as textiles, stationery and wallpapers which make our life cheerful and colorful.
The energetic duo just like their creation talk about their product story and daily life.
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Kokka-fabric.com (KF): How did you get to know each other?

In 2011, Yosh moved to Hitchin from Japan with her British husband and their son. After their daughter was born, she started her career as an illustrator in the UK. A little while after Yosh’s son started his primary school, Sas and Yosh’s mutual friend introduced them as Sas was also illustrator and a mum of daughter at another primary school. Who imagined Sas and Yosh would be born so soon after we first met!

(KF) You quickly sensed that your unique ways of working looked wonderful when you collaborated. Tell us some points you attracted to each other.

(Sas) I loved that Yoshie enjoys using colour and pattern in her work as much as I do, and that she loves to incorporate lots of different media into her designs. Her drawings are full of quirky characters and her images are very playful. She has endless ideas and is wonderful at putting together patterns and brilliant at judging how to blend lots of colours in one design.

(Yosh) I am a biggest fan of Sas’s drawing and her great sense of mixing colours by using ink blot! Her fine line drawing creates very playful and unique characters that have nice details and make me giggle. They lead me into the new inspirational world.
As I originally love collaging, I really enjoy making our new designs and mixing both of our very different styles. Making motifs using a variety of art materials, that is just like fun collage work!

(KF)You both work on all of your patterns and designs. Assuming your style are quite different, what are the tips to blend each style so nicely?

As well as our collaborative designs, we love collaboration work with other creatives and clients.
We enjoy seeing what we each create with one another’s illustrations, and we pass work back and forth throughout the project’s development stages allowing us both to bring something different to the end design.
We start the design process by talking to the client and then both creating several hand draw illustrations.
These are then scanned so that we can begin creating digital patterns or designs from the original artwork.
When we have created sample designs we liaise with the client again, reviewing initial illustrations and designs, making changes and discussing colour palettes etc. This process continues through to the creation of final designs. We enjoy the challenge of meeting the client’s vision and creating work that meets their needs whilst still embodying our house style.
Sas does most of drawing work and Yosh does pattern layout and colouring, or vice versa, or both do half and half, depending on the project. But always both of our ideas are reflected on the final design after we check together and bring any other fun ideas on the process.
Our own illustration style are quite different and it seems to be working more than brilliant for creating our Sas and Yosh world.
As we both are curious and flexible about bringing new ideas or skills into our designs, we have not clashed in our opinions in a bad way so far!

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(KF)What inspired you to start design work with KOKKA?

We know KOKKA as Yosh had worked with them and published her illustrative home sewing collection ‘miriporun’ in Japan back in 2010-2012. So when we started working on some commissions for fashion brands and our own non-woven wallpaper collection, we naturally thought we would love to work with KOKKA for our unique home sewing textile collection. We are so happy to have made our dream come true now!

(KF)Your first textile collection’s theme is ‘The world of happy confusion’. How did you embody its concept and create each pattern?

After we discussed ideas with KOKKA, we selected some of our most popular motif including nature and creature.
For this collection we made 4 designs. Sas and Yosh’s logo birds playing and chatting on a colourful polka dot background ( ‘Sweetie Tweetie’ ), Colourful ink blot butterflies dancing in a nostalgic plants garden ( ‘Spring Explorers’ ) , Full of circus characters in a moon night ( ‘Circus of Wonders’ ), Our eternal favorite motif ‘Alice in wonderland’ made into this lovely pattern with our another favorite motif playing card trump mark on its background ( ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ )
In a bright spring garden, In a mysterious moon night, dwarves and insects, animals are having their festival. Circus, dance with beautiful wings, wonderful tea party and endless chat. Human have never known such a world of happy confusion…we named this collection ‘The world of happy confusion’.

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(KF)How would you describe the difference when you create illustration for textiles comparing to papers?

There are some rules we must remember when we create illustration for printing on textiles. We love using fine line drawing and small details but we have to make sure we make these elements with the right thickness/size so they can be seen properly on the printed textile. Also we need to take extra care about our colour choices. Some dark ink really sinks in to fabrics and invades the main illustration. Colours look different depending on the type of fabric. So After a couple of sample checks, we finally got the ideal one, so we are over the moon!

(KF)Tell us some episodes in making your first textile collection. Any interesting story? or difficult part you had to get over?

We enjoyed all the processes of creation for KOKKA fabric from beginning to the end. It was so much fun work.
Any difficult part? Well, we have to say we had lots of distractions as we created these designs, as working on these pattern kept bringing us many new ideas for new textiles! Also choosing 4-5colour variations from lots of samples took us a while.

(KF)You both are busy with raising children at the moment. How can you incorporate your creative time into your daily life?

Sas has a daughter who is at primary school Year2 and Yosh has Year1 and nursery school children, so we normally have quite limited time to concentrate on work. Usually we work at each other’s atelier and communicate via online chat and phone. Then we always notice time flies so quickly and we have to run to pick up our children from school. It depends how much work we have, sometimes we do more work after we put our kids to bed.
We keep our full days of work to twice a week when Yosh’s children go to after school club. We make the most of these work days, working at our office together, checking all project updates, Skype meeting with clients, etc. We sometimes go down to London for research at design&trade shows or for meeting clients as well. When we are not together, we share our each other’s creation idea sources that we have from our outing and travels, chatting with friends, our hobbies, and other lovely things we have found somewhere. You can have a look at some of our favourite inspirations on our Instagram! (https://www.instagram.com/sasandyosh/)

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(Sas and Yosh working together at their office in Sas’s amazing 500years old tudor house. It’s been just renovated recently.)

(KF)What fascinates you recently?

(Sas) My most passionate interests are traveling, and reading books with quirky characters, and also collecting cool and interesting ‘vertigo’ graphic novels and beautiful picture books. My hobbies are my yoga and ballet classes. Also I make great pies and puddings. My favourite films are anything made by Wes Anderson particularly ‘The Royal Tenembaums’

(Yosh) Finding some beautiful mirrors in the antique market, charity shop and anywhere.I would love to fill my hallways with lots of different size and period’s mirrors. I love re painting old furniture and making new curtains and cushions… I keep changing my interiors. Recently I realised how lovely succulent plants are , and I am now getting some in my house, little by little. Also I recently got a dog, and my eyes keep looking for nice cafe and places where I can take her! I’m interested in traveling in the UK where I have never been, as well as traveling abroad.

(KF) What are your biggest ambitions that you’re willing to share?

We are now working on some design projects collaborating with other fantastic creators. We can’t wait to show these exciting new illustrations and designs to you all over the world. We are looking forward to publishing our new collections such as our textile design s for kids and adult fashion brands, homewares and stationaries, that would make your everyday life colourful and fun. We recently designed a 13meter illustrated mural on vinyl wallpaper for a UK hospital neonatal unit. At the recent launch we were so pleased to see the families and the people who work there with huge smiles on their faces when they got to see the finished design with their children’s names in it. So we would love to do many more design projects that make a positive contribution to the community in the future.

(KF)Lastly, please give your message to our readers.

Dear everyone who sees our work at KOKKA’s home sewing collection. We hope you enjoy your handmade creations made with your limitless ideas and our Sas and Yosh textiles. We hope we can see you again soon at our next KOKKA collection! Please feel free to visit our website and shop www.sasandyosh.com and enjoy exploring our latest artwork and your happy treasure hunting!

Love from Sarah Bellisario and Yoshie Allan.

(KF) Thank you.

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