Maika Kokubo, a Craft Planner

She can change the simplest of items into something delightful! Let’s take a look at an interview with Maika Kokubo, a craft planner. What tips do you have to make crafting more enjoyable?

Everything is Useful!

—Just looking at some of your creations, it’s incredible that these everyday items have been changed by your ideas into something we simply couldn’t have imagined. It’s all so simple, but mind-bowing! Where do you get your ideas?

I was brought up in a small town that only had a few shops. Going shopping was no simple task! I was always thinking about how I could make something using any items we had in the house, anything easy to get, or nice and cheap. Now, when I look at things around the house, I still think "What could I make out of this...?" Just like I did when I was a child. To me, all goods and products are material to my crafting. Think about a transparent folder...it's not just a thing for storing paper or documents, it's "a colored polypropylene sheet". I guess when I look at things, I don't have any preconceptions or fixed ideas of what they are.
As for tools, I had to learn how to use them from the very start. I was probably using them all wrong back then. But that forced me to find new, and creative ways of using the tools. We didn't have the Internet back then to look for anything and everything! I had to rack my brain, and think that sort of brain-training forced me to be flexible in my ideas.

Craft Recipes and Workshops

—Could you tell us a bit about what you’ve been up to lately?

I don't create and sell craft work, what I do is come up with ideas for how others can create their own craft work. Mainly creating designs to promote goods for stationery manufacturers and post them on the Web. Creating designs for the NHK TV program "Girls Craft" is one of them. Using those designs, I often open craft events and workshops at commercial facilities to promote those goods.

"Easy and Cute" is Important

—There are so many ways to enjoy crafting, so how do you plan to excite people about everyday crafting?

It’s not really in my nature to spend a huge amount of time making giant craft works (laughs). For me, crafting is making use of anything, making it in a snap of the fingers, and making it nice! That's the point.
But I get the feeling a lot of people worry a lot before they even get started, like "can I do it right?" or "do I have the right tools?", and they just can’t move on. And honestly there’s no right or wrong way of crafting. We’re using paper, so if you get it wrong you can just start again. If I can get people thinking "I can easily start crafting", then I’ll be happy.

Enriching Your Life with a Little "Something Extra"

—Your craft work looks so good, and we're like "is there any way we can do this?", but then your explanations show us how simple it can be, and it makes us want to try, and we can really fun when we actually give it a try.

I really hope that’s the way everyone will feel. Like, "OK, just try it because it looks easy", and then "actually, that was fun" after you try it.
There are, of course, things you can live without, but it can really make you happy if you do have it. Imagine you receive a gift that comes with a handmade message card. I'm sure that’d make you happy. Having these ideas in your mind and knowing how to make them can really enrich your life.

Saving Memories with a Scanner

—Let me ask you something about our products. Are there any products or features that you think might be useful for your craft work?

Scanners have great possibilities. You can scan your favorite pictures. You can scan something that doesn’t last long, like autumn leaves. Then print them, cut them out, and stick them to a gift. You can scan fabric or another material and print it on paper. Or you can scan knitting, and suddenly something with a limited use, becomes much more flexible. Scanners are definitely the most useful and enjoyable tools.

Paper Feels Familiar

—Talking about material, you use a variety of materials in your craft work such as paper, fabric, and plastic. What characterizes good paper for you?

Paper is the easiest material to use, the most familiar thing from my childhood, and the most inexpensive that allows us to start over easily even it all goes wrong!
Paper is the most affordable material in every respect. Nice to cut and easy to stick. If you want to use fabric, you need to sew it, but by scanning and printing it on paper, you can use it for whatever you like without any hassle. Paper makes crafting easy to try. Just print it out again if you fail.

Fun with Printers!

—What would you like to see printers, or printer manufacturers such as Epson, provide for people who want to enjoy craft work?

Users can enjoy using printers in whatever way they want. Now, printers are mainly used for printing photos or documents. If users can imagine a variety of other usages, such as using it for crafting and the like, they might think of printers as an inexpensive tool. And you know what? It's pretty easy! I've tried printing from my smartphone and was happily surprised at how easy it is. There are a bunch of nice features available, such as collage print.

Try Crafting a New Year's Card

—Do you have any recommendations for using printers to celebrate the end of the year and welcome in the new-year?

It'd have to be New Year cards. Next year will be the Year of the Dog. So how about printing out photos of your dog and then decorating them with design paper and masking tape. That’d be great fun!

About Maika Kokubo

Craft Planner. Promotes sales of stationery and other varieties of products, as well as creating craft instructions for books and websites.
Organizes small art classes called "Otona no zuga kosaku" (art lessons for adults), as well as a number of large workshop events at commercial facilities making use of her experiences of working at a theme park for kids. Provides instructions and an experience that everyone can enjoy.
An organizer for the Monozukuri project "Kufunotamago".
http://micke.co.jp

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