Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Tomoko Tahara. I was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, and studied Art and Graphics at the Bunka University in Tokyo. Since I graduated I have been interested in hand crafted accessories and decided to start my own business in 1994. Since then my work has been displayed in many stores around Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. In 2004 I moved to Vancouver B.C. Canada which has become my new home.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
When I’m not making hats I’m studying and practicing Balinese dance which is another big part of my life. Other than that I love listening to Oldies Reggae and going for walks to see all the neighborhood cats (we aren’t allowed pets in my apartment building).
What first made you want to become an artist?
Although I can’t think of one instance which compelled me to start making hats, there have been many inspiring moments over the years which helped me start and have kept me going. One of the biggest influences would probably be my mother, who taught me how to sew and to create things with my hands at a very young age. The second biggest influence would have to be 70’s Reggae culture. The clothing and hats they wore were so inspiring and stylish.
Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.
My creative process usually begins with a simple idea. Things that happen around me. often times things I see on walks or in films or even hear in music. I then write my ideas down and come up with a basic sketch, detailing the shape and color. From there I will knit until I’m happy with the design and write down the pattern so I can come back to that design if I need to.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
This would have to be the pea coat that my mother made me.
Name your top five books, movies, songs/musical groups, and web sites besides Etsy.
Paris no sora no shita omelette no nioi wa nagareru – Yoshiko Ishii
Hibi Gohan – Naomi Takayama
Lost Horizon – James Hilton
Dancing out of Bali – John Coast
Island of Bali – Miguel Covarrubias
Diva – Jean Jacques beineix
Reprise – Joachim Trier
Chungking Express – Wong Kar Wai
Babylon – Franco Rosso
Hana to Alice – Iwai Shunji
Things in Life – Dennis Brown
night cruising – Fishmans
Ashes to Ashes – David Bowie
I saw the light – Todd Rundgren
Ice Cream Love – Johnny Osbourne
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
To not only focus on the sales of your product, but also to have fun and meet new people along the way.
What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
I would have to say that features like “The Storque” and “Treasury” are really inventive and a lot of fun. I just have to be careful or I could spend a whole day on them.
How do you promote your work?
I mainly promote my work through the internet, using blogs, facebook, and my own website. Other than that I love entering interesting craft shows and displaying my work in boutiques.
In ten years I’d like to be…
In ten years I would love to see myself owning and working in a bigger studio.