It's been a busy 2022 at Overseas Makers Guild, the free community I set up in 2020. I've been so happy to support expat makers with their handmade businesses this year as well as provide a space to share our wins and woes every week in the Guild Zoom Room.
Our community is getting more and more active by the day and is growing bit by bit too. Thanks to everyone for being a part of this ride!
If you're interested in joining us, there's a button below to access our supportive and thriving community.
Enjoy this year's Overseas Makers Guild Gift Guide, click the links and show our makers some love on their socials.
TABI TABI YA (FRANCE)
Based in Tokyo, Tabitabiya is a shop madly in love with the timeless beauty of Japanese traditional motifs. The brand was born from the desire to share this passion through various designs sewn mostly from vintage kimono or obi sashes and, occasionally, Nishijin-Ori or cotton fabrics made in Japan. In the hope that the breathtaking elegance of these ancestral patterns and fabrics will inspire you, Tabitabiya’s designs are meant to add very special colors to your life and your interior with a sense of aesthetics and color combination that are so unique to Japan.
LARISSA SOARES (BRAZIL)
“Olly, the Lone Red Squirrel” is a hardcover picture book for 6-9 years old.
Written by Larissa Soares, a Brazilian living in Japan, the book introduces a child to the hot issues of diversity and inclusion, where the stunning watercolor illustrations speak straight to the heart!
The book brings a heartwarming story about acceptance, inclusion, perseverance and kindness. In a grey-squirrel world, Olly, whose fur is red, is an outcast. The other squirrels avoid his company. He may be unhappy but he never loses hope. In spite of the unkindness he is shown, Olly has a big heart that fits in those who snub him. He acknowledges what is good in his life and he draws strength from it. And one day his luck changes…
Larissa has created a sweet and very tender story full of powerful messages. She believes that by inspiring children to be kind and friendly to others, we ensure a better future for them.
ICE FLOWER CROCHET (UK)
Vicky is originally from England, and has lived in Hokkaido, Japan, for over thirty years. She loves colour and texture, and brings that brightness and fun into her creations. Hokkaido winters are long and cold, so she knows the value of bright cosiness for the holiday season and beyond! Ice Flower Crochet is where she showcases her handcrafted crochet items.
2022’s Christmas ornament is a beautiful snowflake in a gold, red or green circle, with a ribbon or beaded hanger. Holly leaves and pine cones also make delightful ornaments. For useful cosy gifting, she makes hats and scarves in a variety of weights and designs, as well as greetings cards, hair clips, hair ties and brooches.
ITO MAKI MAKI (USA)
Ito Maki Maki makes handwoven and sewn gifts in their home studio in small town Nara. Together with their two children with Down Syndrome, they craft Saori-style shawls, pillows, scarves, bags, and more, using mostly all-natural and recycled fibers. The beauty of Saori style is that no two pieces are ever alike, and imperfections are embraced as the makers weave with freedom and playfulness.
The special items this season are shawls and azuki (red bean) kairo (heat packs). Just pop the kairo into the microwave for a minute and relax those cold muscles in backs, shoulders, and core. Orders can be placed by messaging Ito Maki Maki directly.
JOY MAM (JAPAN)
Minori from Joy Mam produces fashionable and useful everyday products using natural materials. She creates joy from what Mother Earth provides for us. Minori uses objects that come from nature and brings them to fruition with her own hands.
Her handmade products include bean eye pillows, bran rice heat packs, bags, masks, and other items. She takes customized orders.
From a Joy Mam Customer:
"Her meticulous handmade work is so enchanting that it makes me sigh. I have also personally purchased masks from her, and because of her care and attention to detail, I have asked her to create a new original item...printed with my artwork."
INSTAGRAM : https://www.instagram.com/joymam.minori
FACEBOOK : https://www.facebook.com/joymam.minori
JENNIFER SHINKAI (UK)
Jennifer Shinkai is a British-born, Oxford-educated, Tokyo-based executive coach and facilitator...and since the pandemic kept her at home returning to her love of art. She has illustrated two children's books and is working on a third.
"Can Giraffes Swim?" is a whimsical adventure of Georgie, a Tokyo zoo giraffe, who travels to Australia in lockdown.
"Gus" is a poem for older children about a mysterious seven foot tall dog living on Larimer Lane. The illustrations bring to life a tale about the dangers of being a bystander
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: https://amzn.to/3zooYRe
BUY: Can Giraffes Swim? https://amzn.to/3gDYBA7
BUY: Gus https://amzn.to/3WbcjLm
THREE HOUSES DESIGNS (CANADA)
Three Houses Designs is a small Japan-based hand embroidery business creating beautiful PDF patterns and kits, many of which combine traditional 'wagara' patterns and Japanese motifs. Hand embroidery is a craft that can be meditative and soothing and can help you take a step back from a hectic day. Why not brew some tea, sit down in your favorite armchair, pick up a needle and thread, and begin stitching one of our unique designs?
GOURMET DESIGNS (USA)
Gourmet Designs started as a baking and cooking project but over the years has grown and brought the same creativity and playfulness from the kitchen into making unique home and living designs. I hope you enjoy Gourmet Designs' products and that they bring a touch of color and joy to your home and life.
For the 2023 Planner;
Who said planners were boring? With colorful graphics and witty humor, keep track of your schedule, set goals, find a few tasty recipes, or make your own notes with the 2023 Not Your Mother’s Planner. This 2023 Planner will help you do it all with style and a smile.
- Convenient size to fit into backpacks, tote bags, and satchels
- Sturdy softcover
- 12-month planner Jan – Dec 2023
- Monthly planning pages
- Generous space for notes, appointments, and reminders
- Year-at-a-glance pages for 2023, and 2024
- Extra pages at back for notes, goals, and lists
MELISSA FINKENBINER (USA)
Melissa Finkenbiner works in both jewelry and fine art, but everything is linked through recycled and sustainable materials with earthy elements.
Her jewelry designs are inspired by elements in nature with botanical designs including cherry blossoms and ginkgo leaves. She begins her jewelry fabrication with sustainable upcycled and recycled metal to minimize her impact on our ecosystem. She repurposes vintage silver and copper or uses milled brass, which is 65% - 100% recycled.
Melissa utilizes discarded surfaces from glass bottles to tree bark or sustainable papers created from bamboo and recycled pulp for her original fine art and prints. Her subjects in Japan range from flowers and small fauna to Japanese architecture and shrines.
RISING MOON CRYSTALS (FRANCE)
Rising Moon crystal was created in 2016 in the UK on Etsy.
After 3 years and reaching almost 5000 sales, the shop owner moved to Japan.
The handmade creations feature crystals and natural stones: necklaces, earrings, divinations tools and hair accessories.
The shop owner is a certified reiki master, crystal healer and pet reiki healer and is now training to become a certified hypnotherapist. She loves nature, magic and the healing energy of power stones.
This necklace features a natural rose quartz and a genuine garnet cabochon from Jaipur.
The chain is made of stainless steel, non-discolouring and skin-friendly.
It comes in 3 lengths : 18, 20 or 24 inches.
FACEBOOK: Rising Moon Crystals
OFF ON A WHIM (USA)
Off on a Whim is an independent small business in Japan, established and owned by Erinn LaMattery. Each creation is handmade in her small studio nestled in the hills outside Osaka, with a strong focus on nature and natural materials including metals, stones and gemstones.
Specializing in custom-made jewelry and gifts, Erinn works hand in hand with you to bring your dream to reality. Anniversaries, birthdays, memorials and sympathy gifts, Just Because and Let’s Celebrate, or simply Treat Yourself surprises, you’ll love your new Off on a Whim treasures.
Victoria Close is a jewellery designer and long-term resident of Shimokitazawa, Tokyo.
She is working to save forgotten kimono fabrics from the landfill one kimono at a time by repurposing these beautiful fragments of the past into one-of-a-kind jewellery pieces and accessories.
In recent years Victoria has been championing expat handmade small businesses in Japan by setting up Overseas Makers Guild as well as hosting a curated pop-up to showcase a selected number of makers working in Japan. The next pop-up is coming in Spring 2023.
I'm Victoria, the founder, designer and creator at Bikudesigns, a vintage kimono accessories brand in Tokyo, Japan.