Interview with Momoko Tamura – Jewelry Artisan from Kyoto

By Mike Sullivan

Please introduce yourself and your background.

I’m from Kyoto, initially I studied fine art before I started making jewellery. While I was working as a jewellery designer in Tokyo, I dreamed about living abroad and came to London. My original plan was just to stay as a long holiday. After a few years of staying in London, I decided to study MA jewellery in Central St. Martins college of Arts. Then, I started to create my own line of jewellery.

Momoko Tamura

Please tell us about your work.

I design and make jewellery mainly in silver and gold.  I tend to create figurative animals and nature with innocent but twisted humour.  They can be seen as wearable sculptures.  I normally make one collection a year but sometimes I take commission works as well.

How did you start this line of work?

While I was doing my MA, I made miniature diorama scenery based on fairy tales for a window display competition. Since then I started to work on this style.


Where do your ideas for jewellery come from?

My ideas come from everyday life, such as reading a book, watching a film or talking to someone. While I am cycling, walking, or travelling, even when making jewellery, suddenly I come up with ideas and I make notes and start drawing the images until I come up with some final ideas. Sometimes I make models with piece of paper according to the drawings and see how it works, how it looks like. And decide the details while I am making the actual pieces.


Where do you find the inspiration for your jewellery designs?

It’s kind of similar to where my ideas come from. But the general theme of inspiration comes from my childhood and curiosity. When I was a child I read lots of stories like fairytales, folklore and myths. I want to bring excitement of the stories into my work. So I read stories, watch films, collect lots of visual images, and store them in me and link and mix them up with my daydreams which I get from everyday life.

Peculiar historical and antique objects inspire me as well. Things like we don’t understand for what reason they are made. Maybe they were made for certain reasons and they were common at that time but not any more in the present time.


How long does it take to design and make a particular work?

The designing process takes a lot of time as it’s uncertain when good ideas will come, sometimes in a couple of days, sometimes a couple of months. Although I am always conscious about finding inspiration and ideas even when I’m not working, once I come up with an idea, I start making it and finish it in around 1-2 weeks. But depending on the piece it might take longer and I need to make it from the beginning until I get it right.  For the commission pieces I normally ask the client to give me 1-2 months for designing and making.

victory pin brooch

To what extent do you draw upon your Japanese heritage for your work?

Whether I’m conscious or not, my way of thinking is Japanese as I was born and brought up in Japan. What I saw and experienced in my younger age are affecting my inspiration. So there is a lot of Japanese heritage that can be found in my work.

What do traditional Japanese crafts mean to you?

I think Japanese traditional crafts are a mix of beauty and high skilled techniques which have been handed onto crafts men and women who have determination to pursue perfection.

I respect their belief as well as the skills.


Do you have any exhibitions or events coming up?

I’m doing a few exhibitions in Japan. But I haven’t got the details yet. If you are interested please visit my website for updated news.

Finally, any last words for anyone interested in Japanese crafts?

I think Japanese crafts are the soul of the crafts men and women.  I hope more people appreciate and understand the value of crafts. Actually not only Japanese crafts but any other countries’ crafts and hand-crafted work. They don’t accomplish them in a day. The objects are the result and achievement of crafts men and women’s every day effort.

stolen heart rabbit necklace


snake catching a star ring





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