KYOTO--Yukiko Morita eats bread for meals, snacks on bread and still can't get enough.
The 26-year-old corporate worker, who lives in Kyoto, has turned her fixation for her favorite food into an art form.
She creates "Pampshades"--lighting fixtures made from real French baguettes. The name is a play on the Japanese word for bread--“pan.”
“I think loaves are really cute," Morita explained. "I love their round curves. I wanted a bread display in my room so I could admire it all the time. That’s how I came up with this shape.”
She had the inspiration when she was a junior majoring in prints at the Kyoto City University of Arts.
One day, Morita was in the studio at her school mulling over an art project. She was pulling out and nibbling on the soft parts of a baguette that she had brought with her from the bakery where she worked part time.
Morita loved bread so much that she would take home all the leftover bread from the shop and didn’t mind eating it for her daily three meals. When she had eaten her baguette down to a hollow “shell,” on a whim, she held it up toward the sunlight that was streaming in.
Instantly, her loaf was transformed into a beaming planet. The baguette caught the light and became an image that might have been captured with a high-powered astrophotography camera.
“Wow! It’s so beautiful.” She tried placing an incandescent light bulb inside the bread. The effect was “Nice!”
But it did not last long, as the bread became scorched by the heat. But Morita now knew what she wanted. She continued to work on her unfinished work of art, off and on, during her free time. It was a long process of trial and error.
Working on some 300 prototypes, Morita perfected her Pampshade. First she hollowed out a baguette made from flour, water and salt. The shell was thoroughly dried out, and she applied a resin coating to prevent mildew. She managed to eliminate the scorching problem by switching to LED bulbs. She completed the baguette-cum-lampshade in January.
It started as a hobby, but people began noticing her work at a crafts fair. Now there are some shops in Kyoto that carry Morita’s unique lighting fixtures, and she has quite a few fans.
“I hope to keep on doing this and keep on having fun,” said Morita. Her motto is to never waste her material. She eats up all the bread that she hollows out. She uses the bread to make crunchy croutons, which she sprinkles on soup and lines a baking pan with to make pizza. As long as her life is filled with bread, Morita is in heaven.
For inquires on her creations, contact Morita at email@example.com
Pampshades are on sale at the curry restaurant Shinrin Shokudo and the crafts shop "para lucirse" in Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto. Prices range from 2,800 yen ($35) to 5,000 yen.
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