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Post Date: September 17, 2007
Post Title: Kokeshi 101
Kokeshi is the name for a traditional Japanese doll usually representing a woman or girl. Made from wood, they are originally believed to have been created for tourists visiting hot springs in the Tohoku region of North Eastern Japan. There are two types of Kokeshi, “Traditional” (Dento) and “Creative” (Shingata). “Traditional Kokeshi” production has been handed down from teacher to pupil, from the Edo period (1603–1868) to the present day. A set technique in creation and painting style is what sets it apart from the “Creative Kokeshi,” which is based on the artist’s creativity. These are one-of-a-kind pieces, inspired more from the imagination than tradition. Creative Kokeshi become popular after WWII.

Post Date: September 19, 2007
Post Title: My Favorite Mino
One of my favorite Kokeshi reminds me of the little boy in Yannick Puig’s animation “I Lived on the Moon.” The artist’s name is Muhitsu Yokige. The outer wrapping of the doll is called a “mino.” Sometimes actual straw is used, and other times, as in the example above, the wood is carved as a separate shell.

“[The mino] is an article of clothing worn to protect the farmers and rural peoples of the mountains from rain and snow.” — Kokeshi: Wooden Treasures of Japan

[This is] the only English language book on Kokeshi. I hope to change that by having my own book published with all the the art from the Kokeshi group art show I’m curating.

Post Date: October 30, 2007
Post Title: Vinyl Pulse & Designer Toys
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I am an admirer of the designer toy scene. Honestly though, most of the pieces are created by and for men...and I prefer more sugary sweet stuff. So I have been rather picky on what I collect, and only buy pieces that really impress me. Artists whose toys I tend to be most drawn towards are: Nathan Jurevicius (Scary Girl), Rolitoland, Tim Biskup (older stuff), Gary Baseman, Tara McPherson and J. Neth. The designer toy market is what inspired me to put the custom Kokeshi show together; I wanted to influence the scene with a little more femininity, something a little softer. But don’t worry, some manly pieces managed to work their way in there... something for everyone. Vinyl Pulse just posted about the Kokeshi event and I’m quite thrilled. They have tons of updates about designer toys. Check them out.

Post Date: November 8, 2007
Post Title: Kokeshi Art Opening @ Subtext
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE THAT CAME TO THE OPENING!!! It was a fabulous night and I am very proud of this incredible show. My warmest thank you to all those that made this project possible!

Post Date: November 9, 2007
Post Title: Insight to Kokeshi Project
A while back I was interviewed by Hoa Quach, a journalist for a local Asia-based newspaper. These are my answers, unedited and off-the-cuff. Enjoy!

What made you decide to get into this?

I have been slowly collecting designer vinyl toys for the past several years, and have always wished there were more feminine, positive images and varied art styles being applied on the toys. I grew up loving Hello Kitty back before you could easily find items with her image. Now it’s everywhere, I’m a bit more grown up, and I want to surround myself with items that have a deeper value than just a cute character. Something you don’t see every day. Don’t get me wrong; I still appreciate “cute.” :) I’ve always been a fan of tactile art, and especially love work that is straight from the artist’s hands. The Kokeshi is a perfect combination of the two.

The inspiration for working on the Kokeshi was from my personal collection (a whole TWO dolls), and wondering why it hadn’t been done before. It’s the ultimate “designer toy.” The Kokeshi group show came about when I approached a local gallery, Subtext, with my idea.

Have you done exhibits at such a large scale before?

Originally, I thought I might have around 30 artists in the Kokeshi show. But the response was so positive, I quickly saw that I could start getting many more artists if I wanted...When Subtext Gallery proposed making the show an annual event, I could relax about not being able to include everyone I wanted this year. At final count, we have 78 artists and 85 custom Kokeshi dolls for the show. I already have a list of over 60 new artists I want to invite next year. This is the largest show I have curated, but really, I have only worked on a couple before this one, and so I do not have too many to compare it to.

Post Date: January 26, 2008
Post Title: Kokeshi Today
Sorry for the serious delay on the update to the Kokeshi show from Subtext Gallery. All the unsold dolls have moved on to Nucleus Gallery and Munky King Melrose, both in the greater Los Angeles area. You can find the Kokeshi being displayed and available for sale in both shops. They are truly incredible to see in person; don’t miss this second opportunity to view these mini-masterpieces. I continue to find my Kokeshi project in the news... seems artists are being inspired to create their own, and every day more and more people find images from the show on the Net. Well, in the very near future you can find a sweet article and pictures in a more physical form! Hi*Fructose magazine has put together a little somethin’ for your reading pleasure outside of the Internet. Yay! I’m so proud! Also, I was just told that the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles has approved their very own Kokeshi show, with me playing curator. I’m thrilled to bits and bits.

Title: Twinklings | Address: 2winks.blogspot.com
Author: Christina Conway | Blogging from: Hillcrest | Blogging since: September 2007

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