Bejeweled: Interview with Jewelry Designer, Yuko Ebina
YUKO EBINA is doing what she loves and does best—designing and handcrafting jewelry. After realizing what her lifelong passion was and with the prodding of family and friends, Ebina decided to run with her dream and turn it into a career. Her jewelry designs are reflective of her globetrotting experiences. As a kid she remembers visiting lace shops in Belgium, seeing the colorful tulips at the Keukenhof Gardens in Holland, shopping for trinkets in Germany, and being influenced by each of those small, but memorable moments. Ebina’s designs are infused with a bit of Japanese inspiration juxtaposed with nature, resulting in pieces that are delicate and feminine. Read on to find out more in her own words…
CM: So you have your own Japanese-inspired jewelry line–how did it start, how would you describe it and where can people find it?
YE: Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved jewelry! My first memory of being enamored with sparkly things was when I was in kindergarten when one of my classmates brought in a crystal necklace, broke it up, and gave a crystal bead to each one of us! I loved that crystal like the way most people love their dolls! At the time, I was living in Belgium, and I remember my mother taking my sisters and I to this one bead shop where it was wall to wall brimming with crystals and beads. I was so excited I could hardly contain myself~ I felt like a kid in a candy store! That sparked my love for jewelry! In highschool and college, I made pieces for my friends and acquaintances and loved being able to create something unique with my hands. I used to read about other designers in InStyle and Lucky Magazine and how they got started, and I’d daydream about one day having my own line. Shortly after moving to LA, I worked for a few months for a few designers, and those experiences gave me the confidence, reassurance and encouragement to go out on my own.
My jewelry has been described as very feminine and delicate. I aim to design pieces that can be worn casually with jeans, paired with a pretty sundress, or dressed up for special occasions. I personally favor pieces that are subtle and feminine so I gravitate towards that style naturally.
My jewelry can be broken up into two collections – semi-precious and fine jewelry. The collection I started out with is my semi-precious line and is made up of wire-wrapped pieces using semi-precious stones (hence the name!) and mixed metals. I love using an assortment of stones, some of my favorites being green amethyst, labradorite and chalcedony.
A few years ago, I was looking for cherry blossom jewelry for myself, but when searching for the style I was after proved unsuccessful, I decided it’d be easier to create something myself! Cherry blossoms are very delicate and beautiful but are only in bloom for a short while. My father used to describe my mother like a cherry blossom, and it was that loving sentiment that inspired me to create my sakura fine jewelry in her memory. All the pieces are available in rhodium plated sterling silver, yellow and white gold, with the addition of diamonds/precious stones. I love both collections equally, but my sakura jewelry holds a very special place in my heart.
My jewelry can be found in select boutiques in LA, OC and Boston.
CM: Favorite place to eat at the moment?
YE: So many places I love so it’s hard to narrow it down.. but I love Le Saint Amour in Culver City. They serve traditional French bistro fare in a cozy, relaxed atmosphere. Their escargot, pâté and moules frites are amazing, not to mention, their service is always wonderful!
CM: What is your favorite scent or flavor?
YE: I’m very much a sensory type of person so I have many!
My favorite scents: peaches, satsuma oranges, grapefruit, Escada’s Island Kiss & Ferragamo’s Incanto Dreams – my favorite perfumes, fresh brewed coffee in the morning, men’s cologne – they all smell good:) , cake batter- reminds me of my mom baking our birthday cakes when we were young…
My favorite flavors: mango, lychee, matcha green tea, chai lattes, coffee, almond milk tea, moscato, dark chocolate, passion fruit, blackberries…
CM: What are the top 3 things you are passionate about?
YE: Family & friends, equal rights for everyone, anything relating to the arts
CM: What traits do you value the most in a person?
YE: An open mind and heart, honesty, strength but knowing when to ask for or to accept help, strong work ethic, a gentle and caring nature.
CM: Who or what inspires you?
YE: My family inspires me. My parents gave my sisters and I, a wonderful childhood and family life, and taught us to work hard, aim high, and never give up on your dreams. I’m also very lucky to have two wonderful sisters with whom I have a very close bond. They’re the ones I turn to first when I have happy news to share, or when I need cheering up. They’re my source of strength and happiness.
In regards to designing jewelry, I’m inspired by anything and everything… all the colors and textures found in nature, fashion, art, and other jewelry. It’s the day to day things that catch my eye… the colors of a sunset, the delicate petals of a flower, or the way a piece of fabric drapes and folds…Being around other creative people, whether they’re painters, entrepreneurs, chefs, musicians, graphic designers, photographers or people who are just simply passionate about what they do inspire and motivate me.
CM: What are your favorite websites and top news source?
YE: Style Me Pretty, InStyle Magazine…I don’t have one particular source. I meander randomly from site to site.
CM: Any tips or advice for aspiring designers like you?
YE: Never lose faith in yourself and never give up hope if you have a dream. There will be days when you question yourself, your ability and whether you have the strength to see it through, but you just need to remain positive and believe in yourself that you can make it happen. I’ve made mistakes along the way and learned through trial and error, but that’s how you grow and figure out what works best for you. Sometimes I doubt myself and overthink things, but during those times, I just tell myself, “you can do it!!” I don’t want to live thinking “what if” if I never try.
To see her work, visit www.yukoebina.com