February 8th, 2012
09:05 AM ET
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Some sushi lovers are extending their passion for Japanese cuisine into the world of arts and crafts. From clothing to candles and jewelry to children's toys, rice rolls and sashimi are inspiring all manner of crafty marvels.

Giulia Negro, a 24-year-old Italian, fell in love with sushi years before she tasted it. “I love sushi’s elegant shape and vibrant color. I decided to explore making bracelets,” she said.

Sarah Worley lived in Japan, but only when she returned to her native United States, did she find sushi that she had never seen in Japan - uramaki with rice outside the seaweed. Now, her handmade "inside-out" sushi earrings seem to have almost as many fans as the rolls themselves.

Canadian artist Sophia Molnar has lived in Japan for nearly 14 years and became inspired by the presentation of food in her adopted country.

“When I first saw tiny plastic food replicas that only the Japanese could do so well, I had an ‘Aha!’ moment,” she says. Molnar borrowed the concept and makes rings featuring sets of mini-sushi, complete with tiny chopsticks.

Kate Heffer’s knitted sushi first started as an experiment, but soon she was selling her woolen California rolls when a mother purchased half a dozen as a Christmas present for her sushi-loving daughter.

Embracing sushi and arts and crafts helped Cheryl Murakami start a business in 1996. She had an idea of rolling beeswax to make candles that resemble sushi - her favorite food. Using sushi-making techniques learned from her Japanese mother-in-law, she began selling the candle sets in bento boxes. They were the first product she started selling from her Hawaii-based candle business.

Among all the quirky things that sushi has inspired people to create, Carolyn Caffelle’s hand-made sushi onesie may still be the most outlandish. Or, at least that’s what her husband said after seeing their baby dressed as a raw salmon and rice nigiri.

"I wanted to eat sushi all through my pregnancy so it seemed fitting to dress her up in the one thing she didn't let me have," jokes Cafelle. The creation later proved to be one of her most popular, with over one hundred costumes sold last Halloween.

sushi baby

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Filed under: Asian • Feature • Japan • Japan Eats • Japanese

soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Stuffed Sushi


    Check out my homemade sushi roll pillows and other fun stuff!

    February 9, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  2. TobyMaMa

    Jumbo felt sushi set is here http://www.etsy.com/listing/81685388/jumbo-felt-sushi-set

    February 8, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  3. Kawaii Culture

    Sushi Earrings Pictured are here -> http://www.etsy.com/shop/kawaiiculture

    February 8, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  4. Cass Woods

    knitted sushi is here http://www.etsy.com/listing/86607988/knitted-sushi

    February 8, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  5. Cherries

    That baby is so darn cute!

    February 8, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • ForReal

      what baby? That looks like a big tuna nigiri to me

      February 8, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • crazycatman

      Yeah, he is cute, but dressing him as a sushi roll is just wrong in so many ways.

      February 9, 2012 at 3:10 am |
  6. MashaSobaka

    The first time I had sushi I was in St. Petersburg, could barely make out the Russian that was being thrown at me, and ate it to be polite. Raw salmon wrapped around dill-choked rice and smothered with cream cheese...I had to fight not to puke. I said I liked it, again to be polite. Big mistake. I had to eat it another three times. Had I tried it of my own accord I might have liked it a bit more. Now I can't look at it without being nauseated. Therefore I'll pass on the sushi bracelets. Cute idea, though, for someone who enjoys the stuff. I know a lot of people who were thrilled that Petersburg appears to be the sushi capital of Russia. Maybe they'd like one.

    February 8, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  7. czerendipity

    Isn't sushi bad for you during pregnancy? Something about the mercury. Hope she just craved it and didn't eat it unless it came from a high-end reputable place, not one of those gross merry – go – round places.

    February 8, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Buck

      It's a common mistake to think that sushi means raw fish or fish of any kind. Sushi just refers to the rice used in making a sushi roll or whatever sushi creation. They have for example sushi rolls made with nothing but veggies. If you're worried about mercury poisoning, you really only have to worry about larger fish like Swordfish. You should be more worried about the potential for bacteria and viruses in raw seafood especially if you're pregnant. Personally, I love well prepared raw seafood when it comes to sushi rolls. But if I were pregnant, I'd avoid it altogether because of the risk of getting sick.

      February 8, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  8. Yumi

    Yet another bastardization and commercialization of a traditional culture. Schlock.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Sophia

      The Japanese themselves commercialize plenty of their own traditions already. At least these folks hand-make their crafts out of their delight in and passion for this food.

      February 9, 2012 at 2:38 am |
  9. Mildred

    I have a friend who makes tiny sushi and other tiny food out of clay (sculpey?) and turns them into earrings and necklace pendants.

    February 8, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • LinSea

      Yes, Sculpey is a popular kind of polymer clay. I've made sushi beads out of it, too, but not as fancy as the one in the picture here. Polymer clay is wonderful stuff, it's just amazing what you can do with it.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  10. sofia

    Here is the link to the sushi ring http://www.etsy.com/listing/92510644/kawaii-sushi-ring-tobiko-miniature-food

    February 8, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  11. Giulia Negro

    http://www.hoshichanshop.etsy.com if you're interested in my sushi bracelets :D

    February 8, 2012 at 11:18 am |
  12. Truth™@Whoever Wrote This Article

    The picture of the young'un is depicting her dressed as a piece of maguro tuna, not salmon. Salmon is more orange, tuna is the reddish-purple like in the picture.

    February 8, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • randoid1234

      You definitely see salmon that reddish-purple color.

      February 8, 2012 at 11:01 am |
      • Ian


        February 8, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
  13. susan

    Here is the link http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheWishingElephant found for those adorable sushi costumes and more.
    These are the perfect gift for new babies and toddlers. Love them

    February 8, 2012 at 9:40 am |
  14. Sarah Worley

    Opps... Guess if you wanted those sushi earrings you would have a hard time finding them... Here's the link http://www.etsy.com/listing/91896506/sushi-earrings-avocado-and-crab

    February 8, 2012 at 8:20 am |
  15. empiremonkey

    The United Upstarts of America

    February 8, 2012 at 3:54 am |
    • @empiremonkey & ultraviolette

      fixed now.
      all better!

      We are still holding your appointments to get those hairs removed. Don't forget.

      February 8, 2012 at 10:36 am |
  16. ultraviolette

    Does CNN have something against proofreading? Or is there a new country called "United Starts"?

    February 8, 2012 at 3:19 am |
    • nutley

      Yep, for Wichard's stands

      February 8, 2012 at 11:48 am |
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