I’m Noriko Matsubara – I’m a mum, artist, and children’s book author.
I practice a traditional Japanese art form called chigiri-e, in which pictures are created from hand-torn Japanese paper. My Japanese heritage influences my work, but the material used is newspaper; adding a contemporary dimension to the work. I use no paint, no scissors, just newspaper torn by hand. Find out more about my chigiri-e here.
Alongside chigiri-e, 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 ‘Bocchi & Pocchi’ series has been published in the UK and translated into six languages including Spanish, Catalan, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Japanese. You can see my children’s books here.
When I began creating children’s books, it was simply to make me feel happy. When I was doing my master’s degree in Fine Art, my work focused on issues surrounding nuclear power (View my Nuclear Project). I’m from the area in Japan where a nuclear waste reprocessing plant was being built and its landscapes were rapidly changing. I felt compelled to face the nuclear issues through my art. But this nuclear theme started weighing heavy on my mind and made me feel depressed and powerless. I felt I needed to shift from it and create something lighter and simpler I can feel at peace with. So I began writing and illustrating children’s book – a tale of two socks.
Now I’m a mum of two children, I believe in power of children’s books. I love reading to my children at bedtime. It helps us unwind and deepen our bond. I hope my books will offer toddlers and young children the experience of kindness and warmth and foster awareness of caring for the world.
I have recenlty worked with BBC Children’s for their Storytime App. I illustrated one of ten stories on the app called “Olanna’s Super Senses” written by Destynee Onwochei.
Download CBeebies Storytime App (UK only) and meet the amazing Olanna and her super senses! (You can find “Olanna’s Super Senses” is under the “Bedtime Stories” category.)
When I’m not working in my studio, I love working with people sharing my stories and skills. All my workshops are suitable for both adults and children. Many parents and children have enjoyed my workshops together. I have worked with various organisations as well as individuals to help them explore Japanese art and the world of picture books.
I give talks and workshops in libraries, schools, festivals, galleries, and other venues. Below are the services I offer:
I spent much of my childhood daydreaming about imaginary worlds and doodling in notebooks. When I was in Year 3, I drew cartoons in my ‘homework’ notebook and submitted it to my teacher everyday (although I stopped it in Year 4 when my teacher told me to do ‘actual’ work rather than cartoons). 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.