A native to the city of Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture, Warabino Tomoko is a fine art graduate and later became a full-time mum after the birth of her child. Being an expecting parent somehow implies adopting a different biological clock — as a mother, you need to wait until the child is asleep to have some personal time, provided that you are not already exhausted. It is usually late at night when Warabino can squeeze time to work on her accessories.
Hand shadow puppets on the wall, Girl with a Pearl Earring, a yawning cat, a donkey she came across during a trip, characters from fairy tales… Warabino loves to turn things she sees in real life, as well as her imagination into brooches and accessories, by using clay as the material. The raw finishings that the artist intentionally left have made the accessories to appear as worn and torn. The natural color of the clay is also still visible under the paint faintly applied over. Looking at her products, they remind me of our ordinary days that are filled with imperfections. All the big and small happenings are, in a way, connected together and stay in our minds as memories.
When executing my designs, “I would apply some glaze on because I like the color,” she says, “After achieving a result that I’m happy with, I would do it once again so that I won’t forget the feelings.” However, the outcome is always unique, even if you have the same design in mind. “Will people embrace these differences as seen in the final products?” Warabino shows some hesitation as she raises the question, “It is true to say that there is room for improvement in standardizing the products, but this way allows me to be constantly inspired by the outcome!” Deep in her heart, she hopes all her products can become a unique encounter with her customers, and leave a remarkable trace in their memory. Owner of Changchang Goodstore, a shop in Hong Kong that sells Warabino Tomoko’s design, is a fan of the way how Japanese integrate art into their daily lives, where he can often find a delightful touch in some minute details.
Even if you adapt to a completely new lifestyle, you still live with traces of your past, be it tangible or intangible. Letting go takes courage, as it is challenging to depart from a realm once you have become part of it. “I am not good at making cute designs.” Perhaps this is true, but her designs do bring to us loads of cute and adorable moments.
Available at Changchang Goodstore