About Noriko

I’m Noriko Matsubara – I’m an artist, children’s book author and mother of two children.

I write and illustrate picture books about a pair of socks. Bocchi and Pocchi : A Tale of Two Socks is my first picture book. The inspiration for the story came from my childhood as I would watch my grandma regularly darning socks and wondering what might happen to them. Bocchi and Pocchi and the Bird and Bocchi and Pocchi’s Big Surprise are the sequels. I am going to continue with this series as there are so many adventures these woolly socks could have together!

While I illustrate my books with coloured pencils, I currently practice paper collage called ‘chigiri-e’. Chigiri-e is a traditional Japanese art form in which pictures are created from hand-torn Japanese paper called washi. Instead of traditional washi I use newspaper, which adds a contemporary dimension to the work and creates a unique contrast between subject (they are often inspired by the natural world) and materials. My process begins with finding different colours and patterns on newspaper. Then I tear and glue the newspaper pieces onto paper. Every single piece on my chigiri-e is from newspaper, with no added colours and no use of scissors. I like tearing paper instead of cutting as it gives the picture soft edges thus warm feeling.

I spent much of my childhood daydreaming about imaginary worlds and doodling in notebooks. While art was my passion, I became a Japanese language teacher and taught Japanese in Lebanon, Canada and the UK. A consequence of my travels was my decision to follow my passion, and I went on to study visual arts at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada and completed a MA in Fine Art at Central St Martin’s College of Art and Design in the UK.

I currently live in Consett, County Durham with my husband and two children.

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