While studying at an art university, I visited MOMA (The Museum of Modern Art) in New York. I saw an item in the museum's souvenir shop that sparked my interest and changed my perception of gifts and souvenirs.
After graduating, I became involved in sales promotion planning and developing new products for a shop in Tokyo's Mori Art Museum. I've been involved in creating original goods for exhibitions in the museum and collaborated with many artists to produce unique products to support the museum. Working in such a place is like a dream come true. I gave my best every day, and a sense of mission in craftsmanship grew in me. However, sometimes I was wondering if I was creating something that the world actually needed.
I somehow quit my job at the museum and eventually got married and became pregnant. As my husband's work requires him to work overseas, we lived in Hong Kong for a few years. Ever since I became a foreigner in the country, I recall the feeling of souvenirs like how I felt back when I was visiting the MOMA store in New York. That's when I decided to create my own artwork inspired by traveling or living in another nation.
The value of a product often differs from individuals as it is defined by a unique set memory that is attached to it. Even if it's the same product, each person might value it differently. This has inspired me to start my own crafting business in creating a much meaningful souvenir than just a postcard or a photobook. The "Farewell My" series is a new kind of souvenir (or gift) that will bring back a nostalgic feeling of the city's scenery in where you previously lived or traveled.
The production of "Farewell My HK" series started in April 2013. Although there were many obstacles along the journey of starting my own crafting business, I am glad that I overcame them and finally released the "Farewell My HK" series in Hong Kong.
As I returned to Japan in 2017 after seven years life in Hong Kong, I moved the whole production back with me. After realizing the importance of high-quality materials and craftsmanship, I approached a handcrafted frame factory to produce "Farewell My Tokyo". Each packaging is made out of recycled cardboard according to the requirement of FSC certification. We continuously improve and focus on providing sustainable and high-quality craftsmanship to our customers.
My greatest motivation that keeps pushing me forward is the happy voices and feedback from my customers. They give me the strength to continue crafting and make each artwork unique and meaningful.
I started my own art business, 'Ciaolink,' when I lived in Hong Kong back in 2013. The word 'Ciao' was adapted from the Chinese word for bridge, whereas 'link' means 'bridging' or 'tsunagu' in Japanese. Ciaolink's aim is to act as a 'bridge' that connects customers through meaningful artwork.
How "Farewell my" Began
In 2013, while still living in Hong Kong, I developed a series of unique gift for my friends who announced their plans to relocate to another country or return to Japan. At that time, the focus was on divining them souvenir to help them remember and cherish their precious memories of the city.
Inspired by the name of my favorite Hong Kong movie, "Farewell My Concubine", I came up with the phrase "Farewell my HK" to evoke the feeling of sadness mixed with nostalgia that we have when leaving a place we had come to love. Hong Kong truly is a special place.
Most of Ciaolink's works are made using 'Pachica,' a special kind of paper produced by Takeo Corporation in Japan. It's unique in that it becomes transparent under hot stamping. 'Pachica' was also used in creating the pamphlet for the 1998 Nagano Olympics. A Japanese foil stamper will first apply heat to a copper plate, then pressed it onto the paper to create a delicate embossing.
It requires advanced craftsmanship in controlling the temperature, pressure, and time to develop dense and complex yet uniform embossing transparency on this delicate paper. We work very closely with the craftsman from the printing factory to ensure that the perfect transparency effect is met.
As for the frames, we work with a shop in Kochi prefecture to create an original wood material, color, and the hook at the back. Our packaging is made from recycled cardboard according to the requirements of FSC certification.
We try to minimize the amount of packaging to allow the protection of each artwork during shipping. All deliveries are handled by DHL with speed and care. Today, our customers are not limited to those in Hong Kong and Japan but also include people from around the world.