Category Archives: Printmaking

My Creative Sabbatical

I took my mini sabbatical during the July 4th week, and it was so refreshing and relaxing.

(In case you are not familiar, I’ve been taking every 7th week off to relax and recharge since 2015. This brilliant concept was inspired by Seanwes.)

Mini sabbaticals are like staycations with intentions, and I try to do things that refuel my creative and spiritual reservoir.

I used to schedule a bunch of lunches and coffee dates with friends during my sabbaticals because I never saw them otherwise. But then I realized it was not very relaxing 😀 (introverts, you feel me.)

Lately, I try to keep my sabbatical weeks open and unscheduled as much as possible and decide what to do when I’m actually on my sabbatical.

It’s also a time for me to pursue things I normally don’t get to do – like spending hours exploring and organizing recipes online (which I’ve done during this sabbatical) and read books on my couch in the middle of the day.

Here are some of the highlights from my most recent mini sabbatical!

1. Marimekko, With Love exhibit at the Nordic Heritage Museum.

I’d been meaning to check out the exhibit for some time, and I’m so glad I went before it ended!

The show was absolutely STUNNING. I loved all the beautiful designs, colors, and art… Sigh.

And, what I appreciated the most about the exhibit was that you know they’re not trying to be like someone else or please everyone – they have a very recognizable style and that’s what makes them so iconic.

I sometimes feel self-couscious about my style, feeling it’s too simplistic. But, after visiting the exhibit, I felt inspired to keep doing “my thing” and be myself creatively!

2. Sewing with my new fabrics

I’m a fabric lover and love spending time at fabric stores ❤ I love examining beautiful fabrics and dreaming of all the things they can turn into.

However, I’m not very good at sewing (yet!) so I have stacks of fabrics I’ve collected over the years in a bin on my craft shelf 😀

I’ve recently created my own fabric designs on Spoonflower and ordered them to see what they look like in person.

I’m very happy with how they turned out, and it’s a special feeling to see your art come to life on fabric 🙂

I’d originally attempted to make zippered pouches with the new fabrics but realized it was a bit beyond my current skill level.

So rather than stressing about it, I sewed a few things that were easy for beginners.

This bag was really easy to sew! I could carry snacks or use it to organize things in my big bags.

Simple coasters with the grey and pink succulent fabrics! ❤

And even made these hoops – no sewing involved 😀

Pssst… If you want to know when my Spoonflower shop opens, be sure to sign up for my newsletter!

3. Block printing

After the Marimekko exhibit, I was inspired to create block print repeat patterns.

I came up with this original design when I was making my daily painting a few weeks ago.

An image of simple blue birds in flight came in to my head and I thought it would make a cute pattern!

I’d love to print this on a simple linen to make a scarf sometime. Or a T-shirt?

And I created this mushroom design – just because.

Wouldn’t it be a cute tea towel or tote bag design for fall?

Most of my sabbaticals go by really fast, but this one felt like it went by slowly. 

It was a good combination of staying home to work on my creative projects and going out to see friends and family.

Since I’ve got a pretty busy summer coming up preparing for my very first trade show in August (!!), I really enjoyed this break.

Hope you get to have some creative fun this summer, too!


Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot

p.s. Wanna see what else I do during my sabbaticals? You can check out the archive here.







Behind the Scenes: Creating One-of-a-Kind Valentine’s Gifts

Hey guys!

In my effort to offer even more creative inspirations for your life  (read more about that in my blog here), I’m starting to share more of my art products and creative processes on my blog now! My goal is to publish at least 3 posts per week as compared to one weekly post previously, and I hope you’re enjoying it so far 🙂

Yesterday, I shared a story behind my new untraditional Valentine’s paper products. (If you missed it, you can scroll down to yesterday’s post or check them out here. They’re adorable!)

Today, I wanted to share behind the scenes of my new block printed XOXO Tea Towels and Project Bags!

Some of you know I’ve been block printing on fabric since winter of 2015. I took Jen Hewett’s Design, Carve, Print e-course and immediately fell in love/got addicted with the block printing!

Here are some of my block printing works from last year:

2015 holiday tea towels

Colorful tea towels from fall/winter 2015


Totes and drawstring bags from summer 2015


A typical block printing set-up. This artichoke printed market tote is one of the most popular items on my shop so far.

When I create new designs for my block printing project, I keep in mind the following:

  1. My block printing design needs to have a cohesive look and feel as my other illustration work on paper.
  2. It needs to have clean line work and a little bit of details/texture to make it very simple but interesting.
  3. It typically needs a good balance of positive/negative space.
  4. A motif around 4.5″ x 4.5″ usually works well with what I do.

For my new Valentine’s XOXO collection, I had an idea of designing a simple lettering of XOXO. I initially thought of just creating a simple “XOXO” shapes, but it looked a little boring/not in line with other products I had created.

As I was making a bunch of sketches to add decorations to my letters, I remembered this sketch I made several weeks ago.

Crochet tools doodle

I like to crochet and was doodling some tools as I watched some Netflix shows with Dave one evening. I was vaguely thinking it would be cute to create a project based on these but didn’t have a real idea yet.

And then I realized the letter X could be two knitting needles crossed together (2 crochet needles would’ve been a little funny because we only use one needle usually!) and the letter O could be a yarn ball!

I know knitters/crocheters like having project bags for the things they’re working on, and I can dedicate my block printing Valentine’s gift products to them ❤


So I sketched some more ideas using knitting needles and a yarn ball on paper. I like to draw with bold felt-tipped or brush pen to get a better idea of the final image. I don’t like having a really thin line as a positive space in my block printing project because I use a softer carving block and thin details are easier to break or get accidentally cut away in the process.

Once I’m happy with a design, I trace it with a tracing paper and a pencil.

Then I flip the tracing paper over and rub the pencil drawing on to the carving block with a spoon (or a bone folder if you got one.) I use MOO Carve carving blocks because they’re softer and easier on my hand when carving.



It’s going to look like this after you rub your drawing on to the block. The black lines indicate the part I leave out, and the white part gets carved out.


Then I carve away the white part! I use a linocut carving tool from Speedball.


Once the block is carved, I start test printing on my test fabric. For this design, I kept the two motifs together on one block since they’ll always be used side by side, and it’ll save me some time when printing!!


Seeing the image come alive for the first time on fabric is absolutely my favorite moment!

I use the water-based fabric screen printing ink to block print on fabric. For this, I used Speedball fabric screen printing ink in red.

Speedball ink

When test printing, I look for parts that need to be cleaned up/tweaked. And then I print and clean several times until I’m happy with it.

Once I’m happy with the blocks I carved, I print them on my products. Since I don’t sew, I usually get my blank tea towels and bags from these companies:

Online Fabric Store

All About Blanks


I design the layout that works well with each product and get to printing!! I let them dry overnight and heat set the ink using my iron after they dry completely.

And voila! These Valentine’s XOXO Tea Towels & Project Bags are ready to delight a special knitter/crocheter in your life ❤


Pink and Red 100% Cotton Tea Towel. It is color fast and will not wash out. I use them at home and they’re very durable!


Red and White 100% Cotton Tea Towel is also available on my shop! It’s going to be a lot of fun to make some Valentine’s Day treats in the kitchen with these bright and joyful tea towels 🙂



You can’t go wrong with the simple repeat pattern.


They’re even cuter together as a set 🙂 Swoon ❤

And the new design comes on 100% Cotton Drawstring bags as well! They are another great gift idea for the creatives in your life. Use them as a project bag or to organize things (especially for your little ones) to carry around in your big bag!


8×10 100% Cotton XO Drawstring Project Bag 


And its big sister 10×12 100% Cotton XOXO Drawstring Project Bag

xoxo_together_lores 02CU_xoxo10x12_lores

They’re heat set, so the ink is printed on the bag permanently. You can machine wash cold. Easy-peasy!

I hope you enjoyed learning how my block printing products are created. I love how each product is slightly different and is a unique work of art you can use every day 🙂

If you’re interested in learning how to block print on fabric, check out the workshop I’m teaching in Seattle in April and May! If you’re not in Seattle area, Jen’s e-course I mentioned above is a great place to learn, too.

OK, I hope you’ll have an inspiring day, my friend!

xoxo Yuko




Introduction to Block Printing Class Registration is Open!

Happy Monday!

I’m very excited to let you know that the registration for my (very first!) Introduction to Block Printing on Fabric class is OPEN! You can go to this link to sign up!


In this hands-on one-day workshop, you’ll learn the basics of making your own design, carving your block, and printing them on a fabric.

Early bird rate ($105) is available until February 15, and then it’s going to be $125. Materials and tools will be provided. I’m keeping the class size small, so sign up early! No drawing or printing experience necessary 🙂 It’s gonna be a blast, guys!!!

blocks & tools

If you’re in the Seattle area and want to find a new creative activity to get into (and just a warning, block printing is highly addictive!),  join me on April 3 or May 1 at IGIMO Art Station (4739 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118)!

Can’t wait to have you 🙂

xoxo Yuko


Design, Carve, Print Fun!

Hi friend,

In February, I took a block printing e-course “Design, Carve, Print” with Jen Hewett and got totally hooked on block printing on fabric!

I’ve tried my hands in block printing before with linocut because I really like the look of it.  But I found it too hard to carve and did not have too much fun.  So my linocut supplies sit in a box on a shelf…

I just made a very small design because it was so hard to carve... but that meant I had to carve out all the background...  linocut fail.
My linocut experiment a couple of years ago.  I made a very small design because it was so hard to carve… but that meant I had to carve out all the background… linocut fail.

Anyway, I’ve been following Jen’s work for a while.  Her work is so amazingly beautiful!  I especially loved her 52 Weeks of Printmaking on her blog last year.  Her designs are so charming, and I also love the colors she uses.

Here is a couple of my favorites of Jen’s:

© Jen Hewett
© Jen Hewett


© Jen Hewett
© Jen Hewett

What an eye candy!!!

Needless to say, I was thrilled when I learned she was offering an e-course, Design, Carve, Print in February and signed up right away!

It was a recorded video course and was super easy to follow and fun.  Jen also created a Facebook group for the students, so we were able to ask questions live and got the support as we moved along.

Some of my block printing supplies. Sketch of the design, traced pieces for transferring on to the block, Speedball carving tool, soft carving blocks, and Speedball fabric screenprinting ink.  I was happy to be able to use some tools I had from my linocut experiment.

There was plenty of time to design, carve, and print during this interactive two-day course.  I was thinking of printing on tea towels, so my inspiration came from something kitchen-y.  So I carved a teapot, an espresso maker, and cups in my interpretation of mid century modern/vintage style, which is one of my favorite looks.


Tea-towel04_lores I printed on an extra large flour sack tea towels from Beverly’s. They’re really soft and absorbent.  They were shipped to my monthly art subscription customers in March. One of my customers described it as her “kitchen security blanket.” 🙂

Jen is a wonderful teacher, and I loved “meeting” other students as well.  Our Facebook group is open forever, so we continue to share our work and support each other.  So inspiring!

Veggie & Fruit Tea Towel!
My new veggie & fruit tea towel for an upcoming craft show!

Block printed goods will be part of the future offerings on my Etsy shop for sure!!  I will keep you posted as things progress 🙂


Do you want to experience the joy of making your own printed fabric?  Good news!  Jen is offering another Design, Carve, Print e-course on May 16-17.  You could learn at your own pace and don’t need to have any prior experience.  She’s offering an early bird registration price ($99) until April 15.  Don’t miss your opportunity and sign up here!  You will love it!

Let me know if you have any questions!

Talk soon,