The Softer Side of Kokeshi

I’ve just come back from a trip to Tokyo, Japan, and it’s been an overload for my senses. Some cities have left me bored in three days, but even during my sixth and last day, there was still so much to see and taste and do. Pair that with my growing obsession with fabric artist Mimi Kirchner, and you have my new work-in-progress: a kokeshi-inspired softie.

I’m sure you’ve seen those little wooden dolls with  intricate blossoms on their painted-on kimonos. I’ve learned that kokeshi dolls represent a wish for a healthy child, and it’s also been used as a charm to prevent fire since the wood used by the craftsmen literally translates as “water tree”. Still, others have noted that they’ve been used as massage tools in the hot springs where these dolls were first made.

Already I know I have to fix the eyes–right now she could pass for    Princess Leia; add some flowers in her hair. I’m quite excited about this one–especially at the thought of embroidering the kimono. It’s also the first time I will be integrating non-felt fabrics into my project. I can already see a series of  dolls, one in blackwork, and maybe even some 12-inch bookends…


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