The color of the ocean changes from white to cobalt blue. The color of green leaves in soft sunlight. The gradations of color before the sunset. The blue sky and the clouds when you look up from a deck chair. Miyako Island is full of natural color and there are a couple of people there who make bags and crafts using the Island's palette.
Yuki and Yukari Kanai, the owners of Soramoyo moved to Miyako Island because they fell in love with the ocean. Their leather crafts are made with colorful Island colors.
The first thing I noticed upon entering the shop was the Sakana (“fish”) Bag.” As the name suggests, the bag is made with lots of little fish-shaped leather pieces – that were actually originally used for their price tags.
“I was just making stuff in the beginning,”Yuki said. “On the airplane from Tokyo to Miyako Island one day, I realized that I am a craft artist living on and island so I started making leather crafts in island colors such as white, blue or green instead of ordinary leather colors like brown, red or orange.” Then, he started making crafts with embroideries of fish and hibiscus designs. At the same time, he started expressing the Island's unique atmosphere with cool designs to match summer in Miyako Island.
That's how they started. One day they made a bag out of the fish shapes and it turned out so nicely that they decided to put the design in their product line.
The couple are both scuba divers. They love the ocean and Miyako Island, and that is why they decided to move to the island. They used to work at a well-known fashion company on the mainland but neither had any leather crafting experiences before moving to Miyako. They began by assisting a leather sandal maker and from there, their talent and skills blossomed.
After three years of making leather crafts many small pieces of leather accumulated. “It's kind of wasteful to throw away remnants,” Yuki remembers thinking. “I wonder if I can make something useful with them?,” Soon he came up with an idea of his Uroko (“fish scale” )Bag. The fish scales are shaped like clouds and the bag's soft outline is charming.
As they blend into their new life on the island, their the number and variety of their designs is increasing. T-shirts and key cases are now available. They even apply goya (bitter melon) patterns on T-shirt design using real cut goya as stamps. I think it is very unusual to make T-shirt designs this way. They also have begun to make some reasonably-priced souvenir items, such as hair bands and bookmarks.
soramoyo’s motto is “we make things we want to use, amd they must have island flavor.“ The couple tries to take two days off every week, that can be difficult in the busy summer season. They try to take it easy and enjoy nature on the island. “We can’t go back to the big city,” said Yuki. “We enjoy caring for our plants, relaxing without worrying about anything. In summer we go to the beach during day and gaze at the stars at night.”
For the colors of island life... The sky, land and ocean, I recommend this as a place to collect memories of your trip to Miyako Island.
Address: 1F West, 572-3 Hirara Shimozato, Miyakojima City, Okinawa
Hours: 10:30-12:00, 14:00-19:00