In conversation with Momoko Hatano

Before launching your namesake brand you worked under iconic brand Dinosaur Designs as well as exhibited work in various galleries such as Object, Gaffa and 2017. I’d love to know a little more about your background and what lead you to Jewellery making.

I was studying a Bachelor of Fine Arts, majoring in Drawing at COFA. That’s when I dappled in jewellery as an elective. It felt really natural to me and I picked it up fast because jewellery making is quite similar to drawing - it’s technical, laborious but super fun. So after I graduated I saw a job opportunity in a jewellery workshop, and I knew I wanted to be there.  

“Jewellery should be designed to last a lifetime, so it can be repaired and re-worn, passed down the generations as mementos and then if the time comes, melted down to create something new. If a piece of jewellery cannot be treated this way then I believe the designer has failed”. How is sustainability woven into your practice and what considerations are taken when designing a new piece?

When I’m designing a new piece I abide by those 4 main questions - Can it be made in recycled materials? Can it be worn for many years? Can I repair it? And can I eventually melt this down? If the answer is no, then I really can’t bring myself to make it, because I feel that I am being an irresponsible designer and manufacturer. So my design and aesthetic decisions are informed by those questions. For example, my latest collection Oei features Swarovski crystals. I intentionally chose Swarovski not only for its beauty but also because I know they are manufactured in Austria and that crystal glass is recyclable.

Stocked in Bassike, Well Made Clothes and Sorry Thanks I love You your pieces are timeless, simple and contemporary drawing on your travels, everyday objects, the simplicity of Japanese aesthetics and the free spirited nature of Australian culture. What do you think makes your collections unique in the industry and where do you see your practice going in the future?

I think the combination of each piece being handmade by me, and my cultural identity brings a unique story and aesthetic to my collections. But I still try to create pieces that are accessible and speak all kinds of women.

In the future I would love to see my collections overseas and I’d love to eventually open my own store.

 
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As per your website, your most recent collection Lan, is inspired by traditions where flowers are interlaced into daily rituals. Taking the name of the Japanese word for orchid, the hand made pieces in this collection reference the delicate anatomy of flowers, echoing the curves of blossoms, and capturing the delicacy of petals. Can you share a little more about this concept? And any details about your upcoming collection launching soon?

The Lan collection was inspired by my trip to Indonesia and how flowers are part of their everyday life and rituals. And Orchids are very visible there, different varieties in full bloom. I have always loved how sculptural and even other worldly orchids are, so it just felt like the perfect theme to design a collection around.

Describe the woman who wears your jewellery

I think she is a conscious woman. She knows her own style and is always searching for designs that reflect her values.

What’s your favourite piece from your archive and why?

I would say the Large Arch Hoops. They are light yet full of presence. I love that you can dress it up or down and wear them on any occasion.

 

“When I’m designing a new piece I abide by 4 main questions - Can it be made in recycled materials? Can it be worn for many years? Can I repair it? And can I eventually melt this down? If the answer is no, then I really can’t bring myself to make it.”

 
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When it comes to your personal jewellery collection what are the pieces you wear everyday?

I wear my Arch Envelope ring everyday. It fits so ergonomically I don’t even realise I’m wearing it and it becomes a part of you.

What does an average morning & evening look like for you? Do you practice any routines or rituals?

My average evening ritual involves cooking with my partner, hot teas and cuddling my cat.

Finally, I’d love to know a woman who inspires you

There are so many women that inspire me I can’t single one out, but if I have to it would be my mum. She migrated to Australia with me at 35 as a single parent, she didn’t know anything about the culture or language but she decided to give it ago. She is the ultimate hustler.

 
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