Night Shells Zine
5-color risograph zine
Mono no aware (物の哀れ) is a Japanese idiom which describes the awareness of impermanence, the transient, gentle sadness and joy felt when reminded of the brevity of life. Tasked with capturing the poignantly ephemeral, the makers of this nineteenth-century Japanese fireworks catalog, Hirayama Fireworks, used vivid illustration to uniquely convey the fleeting experience. After their recent digitization by the Yokohama City Library, the images from this catalog served as the basis for Night Shells, a 44 page, 5” x 8” saddle-stapled booklet printed in gloriously textural 5-color risograph. Night Shells showcases pyrotechnic shapes like the spinning saxon, Aztec Fountain, flying pigeon and, among many others, a firework design known as kamuro (“a boy’s haircut”)—offering a flash of fugitive beauty from across the centuries.