At the end of June 2014 my 82-year-old mother-in-law travelled to France to participate in a nine-day Japan Expo at some Paris convention center. In her life she has only travelled outside Japan once, to Canada for my wedding to her daughter. So this was her first and probably only visit to Europe, and specifically to one of the great cities of the world brimming with history, historical monuments, art and famous sites. She wasn’t alone. It’s not like grandma suddenly took it into her head to go to France all by herself. Grandma is a Japanese doll maker specializing in hand-made “ichimatsu ningyo” dolls. On this occasion she went abroad with a group of craft artists to give a live demonstration of “kimekomi” doll making, another kind of hand-made doll. In addition, my sister-in-law and nephew accompanied her. Grandma packed no camera or dictionary in her luggage. I offered to lend my film camera and also my digital camera to her, but instead the sister-in-law had the camera.
1. Owl (“fukuro”)
2. Cat (“neko”)
3. Ball (“mari”)
4. Good weather sprite (“teru teru bozu”)
- Figurine parts: paulownia wood sawdust mixed with rice paste
- Japanese patterned silk fabric
- Double-bladed modeling knife
- Sewing scissors
- Sewing pins
- Sewing needles
- Repeat. Apply more fabric to each segment of the figurine’s body.
- Glue eyes onto the figurine’s face.