We at Aiya Home love working with companies that put their heart and soul into their designs and creations. Here is where we will spotlight some of the artisans that supply us with the amazing products we offer to you.
Born in Japan, now living in Brooklyn, Sophia Chizuco is a rising star in the art world. Her art has been featured in multiple galleries to great response, and she has agreed to collaborate with Aiya-Home and let us sell some of her works. We spoke with Sophia to learn more about her craft and her inspiration.
"Those pieces are abstract landscapes, I used oil color on canvas. I transferred images of my memories into abstract shapes and lines. I painted following the energy flow of my imagination.
I was born and raised in the countryside of Japan surrounded by mountains, green tea fields, and the Pacific Ocean. Influenced by organic materials and nature, I draw lines and shapes mimicking natural elements and life such as the wind, plants, clouds and the ocean."
"Always feel good! I’m proud of my work. It’s like my baby is on a stage.
When I was 13 years old, I asked my private art teacher if I could show my piece at a gallery. She agreed with me and she included my piece in the group exhibition with adult artists. When I was 19 years old, I had another private art instructor, and I asked him if I could apply for the national juried exhibition in Tokyo. My work was selected and hung at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. The work looked very special but I thought I could have done better. When I moved here in New York, I joined the holiday show at The Art Students of New York, and my works were sold!! I was so excited and confident to stay here."
"Since I saw “Mona Lisa” at the Louvre museum when I was 5 years old, I wanted to become a painter. And I love painting A LOT! It’s like a small world in the window or on the wall. And I can create my own world! I started ceramics last year, just before the pandemic. Touching ceramic clay makes me so calm and soothing. And I always get a good surprise after firing ceramics."
"In 2020, I started to create ceramics and paint portraits. Because of the pandemic, I became more interested in people and life. I lost one friend probably by covid 19. On the other hand, my friends gave birth. I have mixed emotions, sadness, fear and happiness impacting my artwork."
"I work part-time, 3 days at a museum and 4 days at a studio. Of course, sometimes I take days off to go to the beach or do something fun!"
"The museum I work at is not focused on fine art, but my co-workers encourage and support my art activities. Museum workers love Art! Also I join the private group, Artists as “Museum workers” to connect and have conversations with artists in other museums."
"Nature. My hometown, Shizuoka, has one of the longest daylight hours. It’s by the Pacific Ocean and mountains. Mt. Fuji is the most famous mountain in our prefecture. When I was at school, I spent time with my father every Saturday afternoon. Usually he took me to the river or field to find fishes, insects, flowers, or plants. Also every long vacation, I went to my grandparents’ home in the middle of the mountain in Nagano. Neighbors lived half a mile away and there were only 1 grocery store at that time. My grandfather made not only compost but a system to recycle the excrement for soil. And we enjoyed the hot spring, too! I spent time by myself catching dragonflies, butterflies, and other insects and enjoying nature. I still remember the colors of leaves, sky, smell of wind through the green. I still have a dream about my hometown and my grandparents’ home."
"Nature is close to our life in Japan, compared to NYC life. When I create my works, I trace nature’s potential energy from my memory. I believe my color was especially influenced by Japanese culture, like Kimono patterns. They use traditional colors, and beautiful color combinations. Those names are based on nature, like cherry blossom for very light pink, fox for yellow ochre, fresh bamboo for light blue green, Lapis lazuli for deep blue, fresh grass(leaves) for golden green, Sunflower for deep yellow etc."
"My works have received comments, peaceful, positive, cheerful, whimsical, joyful and happy from the audience. Hope future audience feels positive energy from my painting."
Based out of Long Island, NY, Kate created her company Modern Mouse by Emma to channel her passion for crafting, skill, and desire for more activity time with her daughter. For years, Kate has sold her custom bags on Etsy, and has recently launched her new website, Modern Mouse by Emma. We sat down with Kate to learn a little more about what inspires her.
Modern Mouse was born out of a passion of Disney, a longstanding love of textile art and crafts, and a chance to work with my daughter on something. She’s more interested in the design side, and she’ll create product sketches and decide what products use what panels, or what silhouettes she wants, and I make it a reality. Most of what we do is very whimsical and has a nod to kids and kids at heart. So, we have a lot of Disney inspired fabrics we work with, and a lot of mouse ears! (laughs)
BAGS! Purses, backpacks, wallets and wristlets. Of course, you can’t forget the coordinating mouse ears!
My great grandmother used to crochet. She taught my mom and my mom taught me when I was about 10. I started with some lousy scarves and hats and over the years graduated to some beautiful and ornate pieces, like afghans, hats, baby blankets, and toys. I’ve always wanted to learn how to machine sew, so I invested in a machine and taught myself. My background in pattern reading helped me adapt quickly.
Ooooohhh, for crochet, it was a ginormous blanket that I made as a coverlet for my bed. And for sewing, hmmm, I think it’s a tie between the Star Wars backpack I made, and my Disney/Tiger King Hoodie (it says “hey all you cats and kittens” with a picture of Raja).
I’ve gotten so much use from Miss Mac fabrics. Backstitch has some great runs as well. For hardware I’m a big fan of Wizardry Stitchery. For vinyl I use My Punk Broidery. MK Designs, Hissy Fit, and Sweet and Charmed are some other great places for custom fabrics.
I’d like to dabble a little more in Cosplay, but there are a lot of heavy brocades and layers upon layers of tulle so I’m waiting until I get my second machine to start toying around with that. It’s an old Singer industrial, and the workhorse machines are the best for that kind of work. For crochet I’d love to have the patience to complete an entire granny square afghan.
I think just caring enough about our environment and knowing enough about the world I’m leaving to my daughter and future generations. It's become so easy to uses sustainable materials. There are some wonderful websites and stores in Manhattan that specialize in rescuing bolts of fabric, zippers, buttons, etc. from fashion houses and selling by the yard to the general public. As far as yarn, I try to stay away from anything sourced from animals unless its handmade. There’s some wonderful farms in upstate NY where they keep the sheep as pets and hand dye the yarns. They also upcycle yarn from tee shirts, which are great for chunky blankets. Somehow my house has become the local rescue for abandoned craft supplies. Any leftover project material finds its way to me, so I'm always looking for small projects that utilize every list bit of product. I have a whole pinboard of Stashbuster crochet patterns, as even the smallest amount of yarn can be used for something.