Meet the Maker

by Taryn Miller

Yukiko Tomishima


If you have been inside Grassroots Eco Store then you have probably stopped to admire one of Yuki's incredible handmade creations. People are always struck by the imagination, beautiful natural colours and perfect hand-stitching that every one of her pieces displays.

Can you introduce yourself and tell us what you do? I was born in Japan and we immigrated to Australia twenty years ago for my husband’s work.

I enjoy raising children while crafting and gardening.

Can you tell us a little about your family and your connection with Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School? I have five children, who attend Glenaeon. I became a Glenaeon parent when my first son was in kindy fourteen years ago, he graduated from Glenaeon last year.

And the question everyone wants to know - how do you manage to be such a profile crafter with a big family to look after? I don’t specifically set myself time for crafting. Instead, I usually do most of my crafting in my car or at a park, while waiting to pick up my children. Currently, I have been enjoying crafting while sitting beside my younger children while they do their online lessons.

Have you always been creative and how did you learn to sew /craft? I always enjoyed crafting as a child, including, sewing, crocheting, knitting and origami. My mom taught me to sew, knit and crochet, she also loves crafting. She was always making something for my family and during childhood, my house was full of her creations.

What do you like most about the materials you work with? My favourite material is wool. I enjoy working with it because it can be used for many different types of crafting, including felting, sewing, knitting and crocheting. 

You dye a lot of your wool felt with natural plant dyes. Could you tell us a bit about the process that you use and how you learnt to use natural dyes? Firstly, I simmer vegetable skins, seeds or leaves in a pot for 20-30 minutes to make the colour come out and then I remove the scraps (skins, seeds etc). I then put the wool felt and mordant (such as alum, iron, vinegar or baking soda) into the same pot and simmer for 20-30 minutes. It gets left overnight and then you wash and dry it! It's an easy process, which I always do while cooking in my kitchen.

The most exciting part of the process is washing the felt the next morning and seeing what colour has appeared, which is always a surprise! 

My mom taught me how to dye using onion skins when I was a child. Since then I have refined the process by reading books and searching techniques on the internet and dyeing many, many times!

"Natural dyeing doesn't have “mistakes”. The results are always a wonderful surprise. I think everyone should give it a try!"

How do you start one of your creations and how long does it take you to make them? Once I have an idea to work from, I begin by making a pattern. Then I use my self-dyed fabric to create the project.

What are your favourite items to make? It is very difficult to decide because I like making all of the items, but if I was to choose my favourite it would be felting pictures.

What are the most complicated items to make? The most difficult item to make are the felting pictures because I need to designate a time specifically for it, and it also requires me to be at home to work on it.

Where do you look for inspiration? I have been inspired by nature, my children’s artworks, their main lesson books from school and picture books.

What is the most enjoyable part of your creative process? The most enjoyable part of my project is at the end because it gives me a sense of satisfaction.

What are some of your other passions besides crafting? I love gardening, especially succulents and indoor plants. I also like woodworking, however, I have injured my shoulder, so I’ve been having trouble using heavy tools at the moment.

What items have you thought about making but haven’t yet made? I have a few projects I’m interested in, but right now I’m looking forward to making my children an advent calendar, which they have enjoyed in previous years.