Since I was very young, I’ve found enchantment in handmade objects. Growing up in Shizuoka, Japan, I watched my grandmother craft beautiful dresses with her old-style sewing machine. Her creations seemed like magic: raw materials transformed by skill and imagination.

I discovered glass art—my own form of “magic making”—when I still lived in Japan. At first, I was mostly drawn to Tombodama, glass beads created through ancient lampworking techniques and incorporating two or more colours. By taking various workshops in this traditional Japanese glassmaking style, I developed a life-long passion.

When I moved to Canada in 2006, my style evolved, and I began to blend traditional designs with my unique impressions of “west coast modern.” I was captivated by the confidence of Vancouver’s women, the urban glass skyline, and the incredible ocean, forests, and mountains right at the city’s doorstep. By fusing my traditional Japanese techniques with modern Canadian inspiration, I developed a new style of “wearable art.” Adding to my repertoire of beadwork, my jewellery pieces now also feature chains, including some made from translucent glass. I form these necklaces and earrings by linking handcrafted glass circles into one another, fashioning pieces that seem delicate but are actually resilient—solid loops that gleam radiant in the light. With these forms, my glass art reminds me of the magic I used to watch my grandmother work—from raw substance emerges a new, poetic creation.

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Born in Shizuoka, Japan, glass artist Minori Takagi began studying Tombodama (glass beads created through ancient lampworking techniques) in 1997. Since moving to Vancouver, Canada in 2006, Takagi has been incorporating new elements into her ancient style. Her jewellery uses soft glass as well as borosilicate glass, a substance more durable than the typical soda-lime variety of glass.

Takagi’s glass jewellery is widely acclaimed. It won Vancouver Magazine’s 2019 “Made in Vancouver” style category, and it is featured in articles by The Georgia Straight, the Canadian craft magazine Studio, and the book 1000 Beads by Lark Crafts. Takagi works from her studio on Granville Island in Vancouver, BC.