Noriko Matsubara launched her website this month to reveal her Japanese Chigiri-e art. Noriko’s picture book series ‘Bocchi and Pocchi,’ stories about a pair of socks, have been captivating preschool children with her soft colour pencil illustrations. Yet, few people have known about her other personality as a Japanese Chigiri-e artist until now.
Chigiri-e is a traditional Japanese art created using hand-torn Japanese paper,” Noriko says. "I started practicing Chigiri-e because I wasn’t successful finding a publisher for my picture book. I thought my coloured pencil illustration wasn’t unique enough so I decided to try something else.” So she began creating Chigiri-e art. But there was a problem. “I couldn’t afford to buy Japanese paper. So I started using newspaper instead,” Noriko says.
“I was teaching Japanese language in London, and often on the London Underground picking up newspapers people left behind. Newspaper is a great material. It’s easy to tear, and you can find all sorts of colours and patterns in them,” Noriko says. Despite the modern, industrial material, Noriko’s newspaper Chigiri-e portrays nature and animals in a warm atmosphere using soft edges of torn paper.“Creating Chigiri-e art is a slow process but therapeutic and satisfying. I get so absorbed in the process of tearing newspaper and layering it piece by piece,” Noriko says.
Two years after starting Chigiri-e, Noriko found a publisher who liked her original picture book. Her first picture book Bocchi and Pocchi: A Tale of Two Socks was published in 2013, followed by 2 sequels currently sold in the UK, Spain, China, South Korea and Vietnam. After getting published, she was busy with raising a young family and couldn’t promote her Chigiri-e art. But this changed when a visiting friend spotted her Cihgiri-e art on the wall.
“She loved it, so I gave it away as her 40th birthday gift. Soon after she bought another Chigiri-e picture, and another, then another… I was so pleased and this made me want to share my Chigiri-e art with a larger audience,” Noriko says.
This month Noriko launched her NorikoArt website to promote her Chigiri-e art. It features an online shop selling her personalised art prints. Noriko also runs Chigiri-e and Origami workshops and children’s book reading/craft sessions that can be booked online. For further details, visit https://norikoart.com/