We’re excited to introduce Yuko Umeda who runs her own design studio called Hummingart Studio. She used to live in Hawaii and now resides in Northern California. She is one of the designers that we work with and our collaboration with her includes Linen Fish Crew Socks, Waikiki Beach Tabi Socks, Hawaii Map Tabi Socks and Surf Wagon Tabi Socks. Her designs have a plenty of welcoming and relaxed feelings, so I have always been curious what’s behind her design and lifestyle.
April 9, 2018
1. Where did you grow-up and how did it shape who you are today?
I was born and raised on the seaside of the beautiful city of Kanazawa, Japan.
My grandfather was an officer in the Japan Coast Guard – this meant my family and I went to the ocean often.
When I was a child I loved swimming and skiing as well as creating and painting.
2. What inspired you to create and paint when you were a child? How did you feel when you did so?
I am not sure when I started to love painting.... but I remember my parents always praised my drawings and paintings.
(Oh, maybe that's the reason my younger sister also loves painting!)
For creating things, I think my grandparents inspired me a lot.
Since my parents were both working, I spent a lot of my childhood with my grandparents.
My grandpa was very good at carpentry and he often created something for me such as a desk or bookshelf.
Likewise, my grandma was very good at sewing and she often made the same clothes for me and my favorite Barbie doll.
So creating something was very familiar to me for a long time ago.
3. What’s the most important thing about creating your designs?
I would like to make people happy through my designs. Both clients and end-users, as well as myself!
4. Which situation makes you feel happiest?
I feel very happy when I get some positive feedback from my customers and they become repeating customers.
5 . What would you like to try or design in the near future?
It's a difficult question....I have many things I want to try in the near future.
For example, I want to design some more stationery, I want to sell my design products world wide, and also want to open a pop-up store during one of design festivals in Japan. I also wish to meet people who often buy my designs online.
These are just a few things from my want to list.
6. Could you tell us about the location you chose for the photo shoot and why it holds a special place in your heart?
One of the photos with a yellow surfboard was taken at the Half Moon Bay State Park Beach. This is my favorite beach because the beach is very beautiful and not very crowded. My husband and I often go surfing there. I also take many pictures there, so that I can post my product designs on SNS or websites.
7. What are your favorite events or places to visit in California and Hawaii? How do they make you feel?
My favorite place in Hawaii is Waikiki Beach.
I learned how to surf for the first time at Waikiki Beach. I paddled out on the water everyday before and after work.
It was a very precious time for me to touch the silky ocean water and to spend time away from land where noise, technology, responsibilities and other distractions filled my busy life. My surfing habit inspired me to transform this passion into the arts and drawing that I had loved so much earlier in my life.
I moved to Northern California in 2016 and started “Hummingart Studio” as a result.
I draw what I love and a lot of my inspiration comes from life by the ocean.
Drawing for me is like surfing – exciting and challenging while bringing about a meditation-like form of relaxation.
Also Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is special for me.
When I was 15 yrs-old, I visited the United States for the first time as part of an exchange students program from my hometown.
I still remember I was very impressed by the beautiful red bridge as much as many unique people in the city of San Francisco.
Now I’m back at the Bay Area, which I was not expecting at all.
8. What is your favorite quote to live by and how does it make you feel?
"If you can't stop thinking about it, don't stop working for it."
I don't like to give up what I want in my life. I believe there are so many things we can if we never give-up.
9. What does "#LiveYourColor" mean to you?
I accept being myself and enjoy being myself as well as accepting others at the same time.
As I mentioned earlier, I was born and grew-up in Japan where people have been educated to "get along with others" or "to learn cooperation" are one of the most important things about being Japanese.
I still remember thinking “I don't want to stand-out in front of others" when I was a teenager in Japan. However, when I came to the United States, especially in California, I thought many people were very unique and they enjoyed just being themselves.
Thereafter, I decided to free myself.
Even now, I still forget sometimes each day to just being myself, but I always remind myself, "Live Your Color!".
Shop Yuko’s look at NARASOCKS.com!