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Tomoko Wada

Tomoko Wada

Meet Japanese glass artist, Tomoko Wada.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m an artist. I mainly use glass for my works. I was born and I grew up in Tokyo and now I am based in Fukuoka.

 

Describe the city you’re living in and what it’s like to live there.

I live in a town called Munakata in Fukuoka prefecture. Its fishery and agriculture are well-known industries and there is a beautiful sea and abundant nature nearby.  My workshop is surrounded by nature, which is quite refreshing.  I sometimes go swimming in the sea after work in the summer.  I love the countryside, so it is comfortable to live here.

 

I love the countryside, so it is comfortable to live here.

What is the best and worst thing about living in your city?

The best thing about Munakata is that there are a lot of fresh foods, especially fresh seafoods but Munakata is in the countryside so there are very few places where I can enjoy art, music, and movies.

 

Give us 3 words that describe what it’s like to be a creative in your city.

Freedom, Exciting, Fun

 

How did you start your career in art?

I always love drawing or making something as far back as I can remember, which made me decide to create something as a profession. The reason for making it a profession and not as a hobby is that I had a strong desire to be independent since my childhood. I entered an art university in Tokyo and learned glass work and art which I had been interested in for a long time. After graduating I created my works and did some exhibitions while I was working part-time as an assistant for one of my senior artists.  In 2015 I got married to one of my classmates from university, Baku Takahashi, also a glass artist.  That was when we decided to move to Fukuoka, his hometown to start a glass workshop together. We set up the workshop and started up the glassware brand, TOUMEI, together in 2016. Our works are meant for everyday use.  I create my works while running TOUMEI.

 

The reason for making it a profession and not as a hobby is that I had a strong desire to be independent since my childhood.

Were the people around you supportive of your decision on working as a creative?

All my family is very supportive.  I was able to choose my career as I wished since my parents respect their children’s opinions. I’d like to continue to create my works with great curiosity and to have exhibitions in various places including overseas, where I can interact with many people from different countries through my works.

 

What are some goals and ambitions you have for your future work?

I’d like to continue to make works with curiosity and exhibit at various places including overseas, and interact with people from different countries and people have different cultures.

 

I’d like to continue to make works with curiosity and exhibit at various places including overseas, and interact with people from different countries and people have different cultures.

If you could collaborate with any person in the world who would it be?

I haven’t really thought about that.  It might be interesting to work with artists or designers with different genres if there is a chance.

 

How would you describe the women around you?

There are many kinds of women and I think all of them are strong and kind. I was especially influenced by my mother. There are some mothers who assume their values or thoughts must be the same as their children’s because they care about their children a lot.  My mother, however, treats my sister and I as individuals. She enjoys her life even when she was busy with raising children or with work.  Even now that she is older, she fully enjoys her life with strong will.

 

I was especially influenced by my mother.

Were there any local female creatives that you looked up to when you were growing up?

There weren’t local female creatives.

 

Are there any challenging aspects of being a female in your industry?

There are many women who struggle with giving birth, raising children and work, which is not only in my industry.  It is challenging to be a freelancer like me since nobody can work and create for you during maternity or childcare leave without any financial help from the country compared to people working for a company.  There are still many obstacles for Japanese women to work and raise children in Japan.

 

It is wonderful to live your life for someone, but I’d like you to make a decision freely, for yourself, and to enjoy your life first.

Do you have any advice to young women who are aspiring to work in your field?

This is the era when anyone can post information to the world through SNS.  We should challenge ourselves with hope since we cannot tell who is looking and from where on the internet. There is no regret for trying, even if you fail. It is the best way to choose the path where you find it fun.  It is wonderful to live your life for someone, but I’d like you to make a decision freely, for yourself, and to enjoy your life first.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Tomoko Wada.

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