I am never tired of kokeshi dolls. They are handmade wooden dolls without limbs, mostly found in Tohoku, Japan.
They are generally 11 types of kokeshis nowadays, and they are very popular among Japanese office ladies now. I am not Japanese but I just never get tired of them. They are not simply “kawaii” to me, but a very soothing face to look at, a calming effect especially after a hectic day. Since I bought them from different parts of Japan, these kokeshi bring back good memories. I have carved these stamps 2 years ago and have used them on a book wrap. The ones in the box are re-make.
These stamps are custom made name stamps from a teacher who plans to use them as a gift to each of her student. Viewing the pictures of each student and drawing their smiley faces were so much joy. Sometimes I wish I could see how they react when they open this gift of love from their beloved teacher. ” You are unique and you are important to me.” The message behind the gift is so so powerful.
Once in a while, do not forget to have some fun!
Chiyogami paper is a type of traditonal Japanese paper with repeated patterns which is printed by woodblock or silk screen. Beautifully presented in rolls of handmade washi paper, I remember how I always overspent whenever I visited traditional Japanese stationery shops like Kyukyodo ( http://www.kyukyodo.co.jp) or Itoya ( http://www.ito-ya.co.jp/sp/). I marvelled at each chiyogami paper’s design, colouring and details, and of course, the expensiveness. Yet, each chiyogami paper represents rich creativity, Japanese artistry and lots of work! Woodblock carving, for one, is no easy task.
I carved these eraser stamp boards two years ago. They were used in a lot of different situations ever since. One good thing about them is you can use them as background of your stamp object. My stamp board preference is the grey coloured Seed eraser board from Japan, which is harder than most Seed boards and therefore more durable in the long run.
When I was in Japan, I loved attending different kinds of flea markets. There were quite some flea markets in Tokyo, where shop owners would sell not only food and fresh greens, but used kimono cloths, toys and dolls. A kokeshi lover, I would always stop by shops which sold second-hand kokeshi dolls.
It sounds crazy, but I had heartache whenever I saw kokeshi dolls being abandoned. I never had enough money and space to buy them all, but I would always observe them and hold them one by one, even lined them up properly to make sure they would be found, bought and taken good care of by their next owner.
It takes a kokeshi master at least ten years to master their skill to make kokeshi dolls. Every kokeshi smile is unique. Learnng to appreciate art is more important than buying it.
I got to admit, stamp maniac like me sometimes underestimate the power of stamps. When I receive a stamp order request, I am usually dealing with the person who plans to give the stamp to someone as a gift. As a result, I seldom am able to see the stamp receiver’s reaction when he or she see the stamp. So when I see a happy face in front of me when they see my stamps in handicraft event, I am happy but in fact very surprised by the power of them.
This time I received this project of carving 47 kids with their faces and names on. I have not met any of them, but looking at their pictures already made me happy. When carving, I imagined how they would react when they see the stamp gift. After all, the stamp is very likely to be their ever first name stamp!
I wish what I carve is not merely a product, a decoraton or another toy. For the most part, I wish to present a gift alternative to my customers, who choose to use stamp to show their love and thoughts to their important ones. And that makes all the difference.