First published on 29 Jun 2012. Updated on 4 Jul 2012.
So Ebony, what brings you to Melbourne this August?
I’ll be doing a few things in Melbourne. I’ll be artist in residence and hosting two day-long workshops at Harvest Workroom, speaking about craft and design as a career at Craft Vic, and promoting Martha Stewart Crafts at the Home & Giving trade fair. In my free time hopefully I’ll also be riding a bike around and exploring Melbourne’s cute cafes.
How can those who missed out on a spot at your workshops get a piece of Hello Sandwich craft and design while you’re here?
I will be installing a mini craft exhibition between August 6-22 at Harvest showcasing some of my works from my new Japanese craft book. I would love to meet some of the Hello Sandwich readers over there.
When you moved to Japan to start your blog did you have any idea you’d be invited to host craft workshops and speak at seminars around the world?
I started Hello Sandwich a year before moving to Japan as a place to record the things that inspired me daily. Since moving to Tokyo, Hello Sandwich has evolved into a craft and Japan themed blog which has brought about many creative opportunities. I had no idea that this could have been possible and everyday I am so thankful that I am able to do this work in this incredible city.
What's the best piece of advice you'll be giving to those headed to the Craft Victoria seminar on how to make a career out of craft and design?
Set your dream and make steps towards achieving your dream every day.
Who inspired you most in your career path leading into craft and design?
I was inspired by friends and co-workers who were self employed doing what they loved. I simply did what I loved daily and things fitted into place and my career path formed itself naturally.
Do you have any more irons on the fire with your books and guides about craft, Tokyo or anything else taking your fancy?
I have just signed another book contract with an English language publisher to make a craft book to be released next year. I am also currently working on an updated version of my Hello Sandwich Tokyo Guide.
What’s the most exciting thing about craft and design in Japan for you at the moment?
Being able to live in the city where I adore the craft scene is a dream come true. There is always a new craft product on the market, a new craft book being published, or a new craft exhibition. I’ve been lucky to make friends with the authors of some of my favourite Japanese craft books and it’s not uncommon for me to spend a crafternoon at their homes chatting in a mix of English and Japanese, sharing materials and creating together. It’s an honour to be asked regularly to collaborate with my favourite masking tape brand mt and I am just about to release my first Japanese craft book with Japanese publisher BNN. The opportunities for working in the craft industry in Tokyo are just incredible.
How would you rate the state of craft and design in Melbourne and Australia more generally?
Through my previous job as Deputy Art Director at VOGUE Living I was fortunate to be in a position to keep up to date with Australian design. It was incredible to see the unique and innovative design coming from Australian designers.
How do Australia and Japan compare when it comes craft scenes?
In Tokyo, there is access to a wide range of beautiful craft materials. When I first found Sekaido in Shinjuku (a six floor stationery shop) I almost fainted. There is a new craft book published almost every month, mt masking tape brand is booming and leading the style of Japanese paper crafts and if you take a walk through Kichijoji or Shimokitazawa you can pick up flyers for craft exhibitions, craft workshops and find a large selection of handmade items. Craft is absolutely booming in Tokyo and it’s an incredibly inspiring place to live for any craft lover.
Are there items you’ll be bringing from Japan you can’t possibly live without while you’re here?
I’ll be packing my suitcase full with craft items from Japan such as tape glue (it seems to work smoother and better than the ones available in Australia), craft punches, and a beautiful collection of fabrics, papers, stickers and stamps only found in Japan.
As an erstwhile Sydney-sider, how well do you know your way around Melbourne?
Embarrassingly, I’m a real tourist when it comes to Melbourne. I can get around easier on Tokyo’s rail networks than trying to work out the trams and buses in Melbourne. My lovely friend and Melbourne resident Dawn Tan has kindly sent me a handmade city guide which will be a huge help to navigate the city and I will be staying with some Japanese friends of mine who have just moved to Melbourne who are sure to offer an insight into the creative scene. Since announcing my workshops and trip to Melbourne through twitter some lovely Melbourne companies have offered a cute Sandwich themed manicure for me, and to bring some cupcakes to my workshop. I love that Aussie community spirit and I can’t wait to meet everyone there.
What’s the first thing on your to-do list when you get to Melbourne?
Drinking a flat white! I miss Melbourne coffee when I am in Tokyo. It’s a bonus too, to be able to read café menus. And drinking Coopers Green. You can take the girl out of Australia…
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