29 June 2012


Online sales are open till the stock lasts.
Following Japan’s devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in March 2011, I set up HELP JAPAN 1000 BIRDS PROJECT to raise money by selling my handmade ceramic birds through this blog. With many contributors’ support from all round the world, it has raised nearly £5000, which was donated to Japanese Red Cross. Although the news has faded away today, in fact their recovery has just started and they are facing a long journey. My visit to one of the devastated areas last September (you can view here) made me realise the importance of ongoing support. 
HELP JAPAN PROJECT 2  is my second fundraising project and is aimed to raise awareness, support and mostly hope to those affected people and the future generation.

What one can do might be small, but together we can build bigger and stronger hope, I truly believe. HELP JAPAN PROJECT 2 needs YOUR support. Every Little Helps. Thank you! 

You can view the result of this project (firsth phase) here.
Where does money go to? 
The donation will be delivered directly to Minamisanriku Cho in August. This town is one of the most devastated areas in the North of Japan. The majority of the town was wiped out by the tsunami. They face an unimaginable struggle and hardship towards their recovery, but people are striving today literary from zero. You can see more images (before & after) and the story of this town from here.  
How long does this project open? 
Online sales is open throughout July and it closes on Tuesday 31st July due to the administration prior to the visit to Japan in August. The online sale is reopen in September and continue until the stock lasts.
Who can help?
YOU! The project is open world wide through this blog, so anyone who can access to this post can contribute. 
How can I help? 
There are many ways that you can help. You can choose one or more, but hurry, some are limited numbers only. 
way to help ① Buy ‘HELP JAPAN Bird’
You can help by purchasing my little ceramic bird(s) and 100% proceeds will go to the donation. Last year 1000 limited edition of HELP JAPAN Birds were sold, the work inspired by the Japanese story of 1000 origami cranes (you can read more details here), wishing for their recovery from the disaster. Following many requests since the end of last project, the birds are back and ready to fly to a new home. 
‘HELP JAPAN’ logo was embossed on its body instead of wings, hoping for the affected people to be able to fly again for a new life. It can be used as a chopstick rest or a good luck charm for children, and adults alike. This would be the last time HELP JAPAN birds are available, so don’t miss this chance!!! Each bird was hand built and decorated individually, so please accept there may be a subtle difference to the image shown. (Please note that they are not numbered individually this year.) You can view a video of ‘making 1000 birds’ from last year here
way to help ② 
Buy ‘The Light of Hope’ candle holder
The original ‘Light of Hope’ is one of my recent work that was showcased at my Degree Show. (you can view here) I have made 60 limited edition (numbered each) of hand-thrown porcelain candle holders specially for HELP JAPAN PROJECT 2. Unglazed porcelain provides a distinctive matt surface and emphasises the translucency. The surface decorations indicate a number of teardrops shed last year, along with an ever-lasting message of keeping the light of hope to the future and the next generation for their long journey of recovery. 100% proceeds will go to the donation. Each piece was hand thrown, pierced and embossed individually, so please accept there may be a subtle difference to the image shown. 
way to help ③ Simply donate!
If you are happy to just donate without any purchace, or would like to contribute additional donation to your order, please do! No matter how small, it would be great help! Remember Every Little Helps!! Thank you. 

way to help ④ Spread the word! 
Friends, family, colleagues… please spread the word. Online sales are world wide, so use social network site such as Blog, Facebook, Twitter or maybe your mailing list, whatever the way you can share the information are welcome! If you would like to use the images in your blog, please only copy from this post (HELP JAPAN PROJECT 2) and make sure you share this link. I would appreciate if you could also let me know. Please do not use the other images without my permission. Thank you so much. 
way to help ⑤ Come to POTFEST in Pens
Why not visit Britain’s beautiful Lake District? I will be holding a stall at this ceramic show on 3rd, 4th & 5th August in Penrith, Cumbria. A range of items including my new work are available to purchase. 5% of stall proceeds will go onto the donation. HELP JAPAN Birds will also be on sale (whilst stock lasts). For more information of this event, please click here
How much are they?

‘HELP JAPAN Bird’ is £4 / bird
‘The Light of Hope’ candle holder is £30 / each. 
100% proceeds of both items will go to the donation. 
Package & Post fee will apply to each order. The details are below. Please note that P&P charge includes basic PayPal surcharges. This is to maximize the contribution to the appeal.
  • The order will be sent via Royal Mail small packages service or standard airmail. 
  • If you wish to be sent by special tracking delivery, please request me when you place an order. There will be an additional charge.  
How can I place my order? 
You can order via email. Once your order has come through, you will then receive a PayPal payment request in £/GBP on the same email address. You can pay by following the payment instruction, which should allow you to pay via your PayPal account if you have one, otherwise you can use credit card / debit card. PayPal is a safer, faster and easier way to purchase online and setting up is very easy. Please DO NOT send me cash or cheque
If you are local to my studio, direct purchase can be arranged. Please contact me first. I will also be selling HELP JAPAN Birds at POTFEST in Pens on 3rd, 4th & 5th August. For more information of this event, please click here
When do I receive my order? 
Your order will be posted AFTER the payment confirmation. Please allow 3-5 working days within UK, and 10-15 working days for oversea delivery. You will receive an email notice from me when the item has been sent out. If you require special delivery, please indicate when you place an order.
Can I refund or exchange? 
I’m afraid not. This is a non-profitable fundraising project to raise donations and in order to provide smooth administration, I will not be able to accept any refund or exchange once the order is received. Please make sure all the information is correct before you send your Email.
Any questions? 
If you have any questions prior to the order, please feel free to email me. 

Please email me <subject:> HELP JAPAN, and state the followings in your order. 
1. Please indicate clearly which items / how many you would like to buy.
for example;  Bird x 2 , The light of hope x 1

2. If you would like to donate (just donate or additional), please indicate the amount in £ / GBP. It will be added to the total payment request. 
3. Your name
4. Your full postal address (Please include name of country & post code)
You do not need to calculate in your order. Once your order has been placed, you will receive the payment request of the total amount (items cost, P&P, extra donation) via email. 
(If this does not work, please email me to makikohastings@gmail.com)

Thank you everyone!!! xm

20 June 2012

sending our hope to Minamisanriku-Cho

Minamisanriku’s beautiful sea view before sunrise

Hello all. Some of you might remember last year's HELP JAPAN PROJECT. It was my fundraising project to support Japan’s recovery from the devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. Although news has completely faded away today, their recovery is only starting and in fact they’re facing a long journey. 
I am currently preparing for the second fundraising project. This August my husband and I will be visiting a town called Minamisanriku-Cho to deliver our HELP JAPAN donation directly. We are also aiming to do some voluntary work during our visit. Today I would like to write about Minamisanriku Cho prior to launching HELP JAPAN PROJECT 2

So why this town? 

Well, this is my thinking. Last year all the donation was sent to Japanese Red Cross, but I was rather frustrated after hearing the fact that lots of donations were pooled without distributing soon enough because of the slow administration of the authority and the government. How typical! So this time, I have decided to choose one affected area and donate directly. Minamisanriku-Cho is one of the most damaged areas and the majority of this town was washed away by the tsunami. (click images to enlarge or you can view some videos of 3.11. here)

peaceful minamisanriku-cho before the tsunami
Tsunami reaching to the centre of town and sweeping houses and evacuees on the roof. 
Building behind is the 5 storey hospital I visited last September,
 tsunami reached to its forth floor and many lives have lost.
Town after the tsunami on 11th March last year
Who had imagined this view...

Do you remember I visited this town last September (view here)? I cannot forget the face of tsunami surviver who told me he could not imagine living somewhere he cannot see the sea with a tear on his cheek. I have been researching about this town since then, their beautiful land, people and community that used to exist. The sight of town has totally changed and many people have lost almost everything, I mean 'everything'. But people haven’t lost their heart. Despite the unimaginable damage and sorrow, they are now striving to live and move forward from ‘literally’ zero. Their strength, spirit and smile. I admire and respect their humbleness. I know my donation will be tiny comparing to what the town needs for the recovery and what I can do may be small, but I also know it is worth doing what I can do, which is to continue support, to spread the message to as many people as possible and to deliver the light of hope to them and the next generation. This is what HELP JAPAN PROJECT 2 is all about. 
Before I go, I would like to share a part of written message from the town. If you are blogger and are happy to share this in your site, please do. Every Little Helps! 

‘Minami-sanriku in our hearts’
….. We overcame tsunami disasters in the Meiji and Showa eras. 
Even when the tsunami caused great damage, we were able to raise up time and again to return our former lives. 
We put together our heads and strength, never giving up. 
Always keeping a smile on our faces, we built our town. 
We have shown our children how to live our lives and they will follow in our footsteps. 

town before 3.11.
The mountains provide us with rice, beans and apples. 
In anticipation of the harvest season, the sounds of drums from the Harvest Festival echo throughout the mountainside. 

surrounded by beautiful nature
Everyone is excitedly awaiting the mikoshi portable shrine decked with flowers and marchers dressed in colourful costumes. 
Our fishermen plant trees in the mountains and cultivate the sea. 
At the end of a long trip covering great distances, the salmon come all the way back to the sea of Minamisanriku. 
Other sea creatures that call this sea their home are the smooth lumpfish, grant sculpin and a new type of starfish. 
You can actually feel the people and fish living together in harmony. 
This indeed is Minamisanriku!

town with full of community life, culture and spirit before the earthquake
Memories of our town remain vivid in our hearts. 
Will these memories someday fade? 
Such fears sometimes cross the back of our minds. 

We know the dangers as well as the bounties of nature. 
This is why we are always humble because we realise that we are alive only through the generosity of Mother Nature, in the same way our ancestors did. 
Always believing in tomorrow, we will never give up. 
If we walk together hand-in-hand, we can achieve anything. 
Our sea will surely be blessed again. 
Our town will surely become happy and vibrant again. 

No matter what trails or tribulations we face in the future, we will tackle them head on with a strength and vitality equal to the sea. 
We will create new ties with people who visit this town and add their strength to ours. 

The tide rises and tide falls in an endless cycle. 
With this in mind, we live in this town today, looking at the sea with pride in our hearts. 

all images were referenced from 

photo letter from minamisanriku by Shinichi Sato (view his wonderful video on this!) 

will be on next post! 

See you all very soon. xm 

16 June 2012

washout uk

Rain Rain Go Away, Come Back Another Day… (DID NOT!)

It’s June and supposed to be summer in England, but it was another washout! Nevertheless, thanks to all those visitors who generously turned up to the craft fair despite this bad weather, we raised £300 for HELP JAPAN today. Thank you so much for your contribution. 

the weather 
(The image this time round last year. Where the heck is our sunshine??)

Next post, I will come back with more information about Minami Sanriku, the town I will donate to, then hopefully kick off HELP JAPAN PROJECT 2 ONLINE!! See you all soon. Bye for now. xm 

12 June 2012

This Saturday...

I will be holding a stall at CRAFT FAIR at Henshaw’s Arts & Craft Centre, Knaresborough, at 10am - 4pm. A MASSIVE discount on my stock, so if you are local don’t miss this chance! Plus, HELP JAPAN Birds are back on sale. Did you miss last year? Why not come and get your birdie for a great cause? Looking forward to seeing you there. 
View last weekend’s press release, click here

Dear bloggers, 

HELP JAPAN Project 2 will be starting online shortly after the fair. All information will be followed, so please do pop back. xm 

7 June 2012

making and moving

I cannot believe it’s June already! The summer is only around the corner, which means there are lots coming up that I would like to tell you about, but firstly...
thank you so so much everyone for viewing the final show work and leaving positive comments here and via email. A few people on emails mentioned that they want to see more details and the construction of The Light of Hope, so today I would like to share some images of ‘making’ the light of hope. (please click the image to enlarge)
The background collage was made with Japanese newspaper cutouts. A huge thanks to my folks for collecting them since March 11th last year. I originally wanted them for researching appropriate donation information. As the final show approached, I thought I could use them to raise people’s awareness precisely because of the fact we don’t see or hear anything about it today over here. My biggest concern was the potential impact on Japanese people, especially for those who were directly affected, because I never wished to offend them by using those images that may be shocking as part of my art piece. I have mixed striving words and the images of people, particularly children (the next generation), who are shining despite the devastation, trying to focus on their humbleness, which I so admire and respect. Although those Japanese words may not be understood but hopefully you can get the gist of it. 
*  *  *  *  *
For those who may like this work… here is a good news. I am currently working on the smaller version of the light of hope (limited edition) for the next fundraising project. Plus...
T H E    B I R D S    A R E    B A C K ! 
Yes, my HELP JAPAN birds are on their way to fly for new homes.
Those who missed out last year, this will be the last chance to get your bird for a good cause. HELP JAPAN PROJECT 2 will be starting from this blog really soon. This time I will be donating Minami Sanriku-cho, the town I visited last September (click here to view), one of the most devastated areas. So please stay tuned. 
Another wonderful news. I will be setting off to POTFEST in Pens this summer. Remember how much I wanted to join this ceramic festival from this post? My dream will become real soon. Many ranges of my work that have been showcased here for the last two years (yes my blog has just had a second anniversary this week!) will be available.  
So that’s that! Back to more work now… Thank you for visiting my blog. See you very soon. xm