Thursday, August 27, 2009

Making Japanese paper dolls

After a long absence, I'm back! Been busy making my Japanese paper dolls, teaching, maintaining my daughter's clothing stocks inventory, and trying to create a website ( . This latter one is devoted to selling off my excess Japanese papers (washi, yuzen washi, crepe chiyogami - origami papers, etc), which my Japanese son-law said I wouldn't be able to use in my entire lifetime.

Through my paper dolls posted in my flickr site (www., I have acquired a number of new friends, swapped paper crafts with two of them, found new interesting hobbies and new interesting websites devoted to Japanese paper dolls.

My three favorite girls on the left have flown to Scotland, in exchange for a large, beautiful quilled card created by my friend Janet. I miss them because they are so colorful and cute and they were the favorite of a number of people, including myself.

On the request of Janet again, I made 2 dolls by special request. She wanted a tall doll this time, with a different kind of obi, and another one that is turned to one side, wearing a jacket over an evening wear kimono. Both of them have flown to Scotland and will be used by Janet for her creations, as yet unrevealed to me. Janet is a multi-talented lady, an expert in quilling (been doing it for 20 years), a painter, and a photographer. These are the two dolls I made and sent to her, in exchange for an exquisite quilled polystyrene egg. The 3D appearance of the green obi is evident at the back.

Making the kimono of a paper doll is an enjoyable hobby - just like creating fashion for real people. You start with an idea in your head - a vision of what kind of doll you're going to create and how she would look like. A geisha? A peasant? Somebody from royalty? A shogun or samurai? A girl with her mother on a shrine/temple visit? Next is the choosing of the paper pattern, color, and texture. Which will be the inner robe? The outer robe? The obi? How will the position of the doll be? The last that I do is the hair - the length, the style, the accessories. By positioning the hair, you can create a head that looks forward, is turned sideward, looking up, looking down. One of my favorites is the doll only showing its back (which you glue onto a shikishi board or a greeting card), where you can focus on the hair and the obi. The one below is a greeting card entitled "The First Snowflake".