Vancouver Crafters Use Their Talents to Help Japan


Vancouver is known for its creative talents and it is only appropriate that many are using their craft to help Japan recover from one of the greatest natural disasters in history. The March 11, 2011 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami tore through the country destroying everything in its path and taking thousands of lives. Japan continues to make headlines today about its aftershocks and nuclear power plant worries. As election issues dominate the news, I wanted to remind readers about ways they can contribute to Japan relief and support crafters.

While attending last week’s Make It! craft fair I passed an unmanned table with buttons and stickers with a sign prompting for donations for Japan relief in exchange for the goodies. It’s quite simple really, crafters using their powers for good and it motivated me to reach for my wallet faster and more generously to buy the goods. As an artist, I know how hard it is to make a living using your craft and I wanted to know more about why some talented Vancouverites are contributing to this cause. After hearing their stories, I was touched as to how each had their own special connection to Japan and reasons for contributing. Hopefully their stories will encourage you to devote some time or money to a cause close to you.

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Hine of hine

“I was born and raised in Japan, and my friends and family live there, so I simply would like to do something to help people in Japan.

Many Artists/Crafters in around the world are helping Japan, as a Japanese person, I am very grateful. There are still after shocks everyday and the problems of the nuclear power plants in Japan. People who lost their families, houses and jobs are still living in evacuation facilities such as gyms and they suffer enough both physically and mentally. My knitting/crocheting friends in Japan just started to donate their handmade scarves and hats, and also supplies and tools (yarn, knitting needles, etc.) to evacuees. I think it’s a great idea. I’m still thinking what else I can do for Japan with my skills, and will continue to support.”

Hine donates 50% from all sales to the Japan Earthquake Fund. Currently she has donated US$201 to the Canadian Red Cross & Voluntary Architects Network.

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Shirley of wear+thou

“I used to walk by the window displays of Japantown on my way to Strathcona Elementary and admired the quiet strength and beauty in a Japanese lamp or flower display, in the tea cups with its beautiful details. One of my favorites was the sakura blossoms in a mini bowl set that was given to me a few years ago. It was in the afternoon a few weeks after the earthquake/tsunami disaster that my husband came home to tell me of an encounter he had at the local shopping center. Coming out of a bustling T&T supermarket, he saw a row of Japanese people that had held a few boxes to collect donations. He approached them with a donation, encasing the money in his hands in the Japanese traditional way (he has learned some of these customs being in the martial arts world for many years) and placed the donation in the box. He bowed; silently sending his sorrow and hope. All at once, the entire row of Japanese returned his bow, honoring his donation. As I heard this story, I blinked back tears and thought of how I could use my talent to create something that would come from my heart to share with others – to help those in need. I went to work creating the Sakura necklaces.”

wear+thou currently donates 100% of proceeds from the limited edition Sakura necklace and 15% of proceeds of selected items towards Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief.

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Yumiko of helloyumiko

“For the past month, I’ve been selling prints of a drawing I drew for Japan, titled “Nippon! Makeruna!” (Japan, Don’t Give Up!). I initially drew this drawing because I felt quite distraught and useless in the days following the disaster in Japan. Drawing surprisingly made me feel better as it expressed how I felt from the other side of the Pacific Ocean.

After posting the drawing on my blog, I suppose this drawing resonated with a lot of others who felt the same way. Requests for prints turned into a fundraising effort that has lead me to many other local individuals who are showing their love for Japan through their own unique and personal talents.

I think it is a lovely stage to be in one’s craft or hobby where one feels he or she can create something with the purpose and intent of giving back to help another person or cause. If one is moved to help someone or something, I would say act on it and use whatever gift you’ve nurtured to make a difference.”

Currently 100% of helloyumiko sales go towards the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief via the Canadian Red Cross. With the help of her friends, family and a generous donation from the Financial Literacy Counsel Inc. for her printing costs, she has raised over $3000 for Japan so far.

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Kiyomi of  KsGlassPendants

“Japan is my country and Sendai, where the big earthquake hit, is my hometown. I just couldn’t believe that happened to my hometown when I heard this news. Fortunately all of my family and relatives are safe and their homes weren’t damaged from this disaster. But I am heartbroken to see these area that I have been to, were washed out and the people who survived are still experiencing hardship after the disaster. Since I am Japanese and I am from Sendai, I was looking for something I could do for Japan. I have donated my own money and collected donations from other people for Japan relief, but I wanted to do something more to help Japan. So, I decided to use my pendants to help Japan. “

KsGlassPendants is currently donating 50% of its profits from selected items to the Canadian Red Cross.

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Jessica of momijistudio

“I fell in love with Japanese textiles shortly after I started quilting over twenty years ago, and much of my quilting and sewing, including my Etsy shop, revolves around traditional Japanese kimono fabrics. It was only natural for me to use some of the proceeds from my shop to help victims of the terrible earthquake in Japan. Now there are quilt-making efforts afoot, and I will soon commence work on a quilt to send to Japan, in the hopes of helping to lift someone’s spirits. Japanese textiles and their exquisite beauty hold an important place in my life, and in the aftermath of the earthquake’s devastation, I feel a special responsibility to try and provide something in return.”

momijistudio continues to donate a portion of its profits to the Canadian Red Cross “Japan Earthquake Asia Pacific 2011” relief fund.

If you know of a crafter spreading good karma through their craft please post in comments below so we can spread the love!