The Story of kokeshi dolls

We are delighted to welcome the new Cohana Kokeshi Doll pincushions to Beyond Measure this Spring!
As you may now, the Japanese Cohana brand is committed to working with established suppliers and manufacturers in Japan who uphold traditional craft traditions, working in metal, ceramics, wood and textiles. Their collaborations over the last few years have led to the creation of the most beautiful and collectable range of sewing products we have ever seen!
It is thought that kokeshi dolls were originally created as small souvenirs and gifts for visitors to the hot springs of northern Japan.They were made by skilled local woodworkers -  kijiya - who also made trays and bowls.  Other theories around their origin include them beings charm to ward off fires and evil spirits, or being the embodiment of mountain spirits and protectors of children. The name 'kokeshi' itself is thought to derive from various words associated with their manufacture, translating into 'small wooden doll'.
Traditional kokeshi
Traditional kokeshi are only made in the Tohoku Region, which is the northernmost part of Honshu, Japan’s main island, and it consists of six prefectures: Aomori, Iwate, Akita, Miyagi, Yamagata, and Fukushima.  Each regions would have it's own distinct style of kokeshi form and decoration.
Modern interpretations of kokeshi dolls
Kokeshi are traditionally made from cherry or mizuki wood, are created as a simple form without limbs and hand painted with stylised features. Traditional kokeshi are usually a straight cylinder with a simple round head, but from the mid 20th century, more 'creative' or 'art' kokeshi have been developed with rounder and more elaborate features.  Every kokeshi should be hand painted therefore making their expression, hair and clothes unique.
The Cohana kokeshi pincushion is a collaboration with the Tsugaru Kokeshi Museum in Aomori Prefecture, to immortalize the region's wood crafts, as well as to spur innovation and development on existing themes of the traditional kokeshi doll.  Cohana is supporting local manufacturing and traditions whilst bringing the history of kokeshi to a wider international audience.
You can find out more about the Cohana Kokeshi pincushions and purchase them here. I hope you love them as much as I do!
Thank for reading,
Grace x

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