Paper Talk with Phoebe from Hong Kong/Japan

Featured image Paper Talk with Phoebe in TPC Magazine

Phoebe is inspired by shapes, colors and textures when she works with paper. As an Mixed Media artist she was more leaning on the grungy, aged and torn atmosphere, while today she is creating delicate and positive vibes through her paper projects. Her crafting journey has been more challenging than most, but now she is designing for Mintay Papers and her work is both inspiring and beautiful.

Phoebe Tonosaki in TPC Magazine

Who are you? Can you tell us about yourself?
Hello! My name is Phoebe Tonosaki, I am very honored to be invite to introduce myself in TPC magazine. Let me tell you something about myself. I am a Hong Konger, moved to Japan after getting married to Japanese on 2004 and now a permanent resident. I live in a rural distant town 2 hours away from Tokyo. The whole environment is exactly the opposite compare to where I was raised; life is slow, inconvenient, bored and dull. One day one of my facebook friends showed her mixed media project in youtube, I was immediately mesmerized and fell in love with it. That was the new starting point of my creative journey.


When did you start with paper crafting? Why did you start with paper crafting?
I came from a city that has hardly any information, resources and education about crafting. Everyone in HK was so busy trying to get through each day and the harsh lives, hobbies is hardly a high priority in the society. We were not encouraged or supported to invest our time, effort and money on hobbies. Though I have always love crafting, even though the only means I had was going to the library and borrowed books (which translated from Japanese) of origami, easy DIY craft when I was a child. Then I would go home and started creating according to the instructions, my mother didn’t like my work at all and usually she threw them away after I went to school.
Fast forward to around 3 years ago, I found out some gorgeous Christmas paper collections by Mintay Papers. So I bought a few sets and created some beautiful Christmas home decoration and applied for Mintay Design team. I was chosen. Later, I was invited by a scrapbooking store in Peru to do a paper album online class. That was the turning point where I jumped from mixed media world into the paper crafting playground.

What is the best thing about paper crafting?
It is very fulfilling. Once I have a vision or plan I want to create, I gather materials, draw up drafts, and start work on it. Then when I look at the finished work I feel like a gardener who sees her flowers bloom. It is especially amazing when the public responds and reacts to the message you wanted to deliver through a specific project.

Have you made any mistakes when papercrafting and would you like to tell about it?
Oh I did! I am a very impatient person, when I was a beginner, I was unable to create crackle effect successfully because for the first few times I used it, I didn’t want to wait and use a heat gun on it, well, end up it didn’t crackle at all (though I know some crackle paste are able to crack even using heat gun)
The other time I used a heavyweight cardstock to create hinge for a mini album. The cardstock was too thick and my pages were not able to open and close easily. Though I tried to hide that fact as much as I can in my flip through video lol that was a great lesson!

What kind of paper projects do you make?
After I dived into the world of mixed media, I started with off the page altered art project, mixed media canvas and mixed media layout. Years have passed and now my major interests are paper album, junk journal and pop up techniques. Paper is like water, it has endless shapes, and endless emotions depend on how you wield it. Paper can create zero to anything.

How often do you craft?
I try to space out a few days between projects, so that it won’t feel like a chore. A few years before I used to craft everyday but now I realized the importance of taking rest of both my body and mind so basically I craft 2 or 3 days a week.

Can you describe your style? Have your style changed since you started?
The two main signatures of my projects are carefully built multiple layers and intricate details. I love to spend time to build up the layers and add details to the important parts of the project. I want my project to be filled up with lots of visions, information and feelings inside instead of a one side image.
When I was doing mixed media art, I was more leaning on the grungy, aged and torn atmosphere. Now I work more on creating the delicate yet positive vibes through my work.

Show us 3-5 of your favorite projects. Why are these your favorites?
Here let me show you a few of my favorite and most proud projects. I put a lot of efforts to create them and they came out exactly the way how I envisioned them. I love using different colors to express different emotions. Sometimes we can be soft and delicate, sometimes vibrate with energy and freedom, sometimes elegant with flowers and details.First one is 4 pop up cards I created as a set. It is amazing how paper can move so smooth to create such surprises!

The other pop up project I want to show you are this pop up album with 4 pages of different mechanisms.

I love making boxes from scratch! Here is an exploding box in hexagon shape. I have created 4 layers of them and they open like a beautiful flower!

Speaking of box, I cannot not show you my stationery box set! it is huge with size 8” x 6.5” x 2”. Inside you can find mini album, folio, tags and more!


I also love doing some stampings! I stamped with PaperArtsy various stamps on a white wrapping paper, and then colored with distress ink pads. Finally I turned them into a bag with gussets and envelope.

What inspires you?
I am extremely sensitive to shapes, colors, lines, curves and texture. These are the elements stimulate me the most. Sometimes I use colors to express my mood, a unique shape to create dramatic compositions. Sometimes I use lines and curves to highlight beautiful paper images (e.g. pop up cards).

You do know of any Scandinavian paper crafters and what is your impression of Scandinavian paper craft?
I have to admit that I am not familiar with the Scandinavian paper crafting community. Here in Japan, paper crafting is very isolated mainly because most Japanese do not speak English, so any information about other area of the world is very restricted and limited. I am really hoping this will be a chance I will be able to meet new friends from Scandinavia!

Is there anything in paper crafting you would like to learn?
I would like to spend more time learning pop up techniques, and more about making album. Like I said above, there was no education about how to do paper crafting from where I came from, so I learnt making album only from free youtube videos. But those videos hardly tell you the “whys” and “how”. Album making is a very deep art and I definitely want to learn more about it.

Can you mention five products/tools you cannot live without?
I love my WRMK magnetic mat! It is a must have especially when I have to cut irregular shapes. The magnet on the ruler will make sure the paper stays where I want it to be. My WRMK lighted reserve tweezer is my newest bestie! I have very bad eyesight so I cannot see very well but with this tweezer lighting up, I see everything! Cutter Bee scissors is absolutely essential when I do my fussy cut. It doesn’t make your palm or fingers hurt even after hours of cutting. My Fiskars trimmer with scoring blade is also very important to me. I like that I don’t need to have a trimmer and scoreboard back and forth on my very small craft area. Lastly, my Fiskars fingertip detail knife is so amazing I cannot live without it! I often cut my fingers or the wrong side of the paper whenever I do any cutting, but this tool ensures my safety is secured!

What is on top of your wish list right now?
Right now I am hoping to buy some vintage grungy steampunk related paper collections for my paper album projects.

Who in the paper crafting community would you like to meet «in real life»? Why?
I really hope one day I would meet my craft bestie Anat Weksler . We have been great friends for years and her works constantly inspire me and encourage me.
I also would love to meet Mintay Papers Owner Karola Witczak. Joining the Mintay Design team has dramatically changed my paper crafting life and I want to thank her in person and also see how she creates.

Can you describe your craftroom?
We are living in a very small flat in a very small apartment. So I don’t have a room for myself. I only have a very messy craft area but oddly I am comfortable with it. It is filled with all kinds of mediums, paper, stamps and stationery, and my finished projects all around me.

Other things you would like to mention in the presentation?
I am very grateful for Marit to invite me to do this interview. Through answering these questions, I am able to review my own crafting journey. Thank you so much. I sincerely hope you enjoy reading about my stories.

Where can we find you? (Blog, website, social media etc.)
I would really love to meet readers from the TPC magazine, please come and say hi!!
Phoebe Tonosaki: Phoebe Yonosaki
Instagram – phoebetonosaki
FB Page – Phoebe Tonosaki
Youtube – tonosaki phoebe
Pinterest – phoebe tonosaki