This is a little story written by Kirsty Munro for Scout. Kirsty and I used to work together at VOGUE magazines when I was working on reception! Now, by coincidence, we both live in Tokyo!
The Craft Life
An Australian in Tokyo
There are craft blogs, there are travel blogs, and then there’s “Hello Sandwich”. Like a burst of sunshine coming out of Tokyo’s cute Shimokitazawa neighbourhood, creator Ebony Bizys explains, “I started Hello Sandwich as a place to record all of the things that inspired me. It’s turned into a bit of a diary since then, recording my daily crafty life in Tokyo.”
The former Sydney-sider and Vogue Living Deputy Art Director moved to Tokyo a few years ago to follow her dream of creating in an inspiring environment. “Before moving to Tokyo I had been here 9 times on holidays!” she says. “I loved my job at Vogue Living, so it was a hard decision, but one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.” Ebony was part of the Vogue family for years. We remember her as an art student and part-time receptionist about 10 years ago: ever-changing hair colours, amazing hats, one-off outfits…visiting designers would say “wow, who is that?” She describes her look as “a little bit retro, a little bit vintage, a little bit kawaii, polka dots and a place where pastels meet neon.”
That could also describe her recent craftwork. With a background in fine arts and graphic design, it’s surprising that she’s gone into craft, defiantly anti-slick and handmade. “There is nothing nicer and more meaningful than something handmade,” she says, adding that it’s both therapeutic and rewarding.
Part of the charm of Ebony’s blog is that in addition to showing us behind the scenes of her latest projects, she also takes us through the back streets on her “mamachari” - granny bike - with her trusty camera, to explore and discover. “The little homes, potted gardens, street signs, hidden cafes, tucked away shops always bring a smile to my face,” she says. She’s turned some of those discoveries into a very popular downloadable Tokyo guide, focusing on quirky, unique places that don’t make it into conventional travel guides. Her self-published craft-zines have become so popular, she’s now working with several publishers to make craft books in English and Japanese and she has a huge following amongst downtown Tokyo girls who flock to her monthly craft workshops. She’s also travelling
overseas to give presentations, hosting an exhibition at Shimokitazawa’s Commune Gallery and working on her next Hello Sandwich Tokyo Guide. Far from a life of leisurely ‘crafternoons’, Ebony’s life has become busier than ever.
Her work often features a mix of stripes, spots and retro motifs, so we asked her to choose…polka dots or stripes? “Absolutely polka dots!” Ebony will be in Melbourne in August as Artist in Residence at Harvest Workroom and she’ll host two craft workshops.
Thank you Kirsty for this lovely story. xoxo
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