During a trip to Japan last year illustrator Charlotte Trounce and Maria Howard of Telegram Press discussed the concept for a collaborative children’s book, A to Zakka. The result is an illustrational treat both visually and contextually for adults and children.
“The Japanese word zakka has been loosely defined as goods, sundries or many things,” says Maria who also wrote the introduction for the book. “For me zakka represents the objects with which we choose to surround ourselves. Whether a chipped porcelain bowl or the perfect pair of scissors, these are things that hold value in their everyday aesthetic and class design – that serve a function but were chosen for their form.”
These items are interpreted in Charlotte’s elegantly textured illustration style using the alphabet to demonstrate each item. “Choosing which objects to illustrate was fun and mostly easy (with the exception of a couple of letters!)” says the illustrator. “Many were drawn directly from objects we had picked up on our travels around Japan, like the traditional rice bowl and handmade copper grater. Others are design classics such as the Jasper Morrison red watering can and Trusco blue toolbox.” The items within A to Zakka have a charming familiarity as a result of Charlotte’s aim “to include a range of objects that you’d find throughout your home and garden, hoping to show the beauty in their simplicity, even in a dustpan and brush!”
The book is Risograph printed by Glasgow-based studio Risotto, aptly applying the environmentally friendly printing method originating from Japan. “Although I found it challenging at times I think choosing to risograph print the book was the right decision,” Charlotte tells It’s Nice That. “It has its flaws, but working with a limited colour palette forced me to create illustrations that are clean and uncomplicated, just like the objects themselves. Much like the objects it features, this book is one to treasure too.
A to Zakka will be available to buy from Telegram Press and launches on 23 March 2017 at Ground Floor Space in Bermondsey. An exhibition of Charlotte’s work will continue from 24 – 31 March including prints, paintings and objects.
About the Author
Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019, was made deputy editor and in November 2021, she became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.