Each year, the Washi Ningyo Japanese Paper Dolls Group selects a special theme for their dolls to be showcased at the Cherry Blossom Festival. The dolls are intricate, gorgeous, and entirely handmade!
One of the groups leaders, Yurie Nakamura, shared the following message this year:
“I think it is great that the committee is able to put together a virtual Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival during this difficult time. We will all miss the festival and the feeling of excitement the festival gives us. After the shelter in place order was announced, I felt the urge to make a doll related to this situation. I made a doll named ‘Pray’ or 祈り (inori) and Rochelle Lum made a doll named ‘Hope.’ Praying and hoping this world pandemic will slow down and we can all go back to our normal lives as soon as possible.”Yurie Nakamura
Washi Ningyo Classes at the JCCCNC
Rochelle Lum and Yurie Nakamura teach washi ningyo classes at the JCCCNC on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month (when we are not sheltering in place). The Washi Ningyo classes have been hosted at the JCCCNC since 1986, when the Center was established!
In the class schedule, there are 33 basic dolls and 22 advanced dolls to learn. Usually students finish one doll in one three-hour class. After students learn those basic skills most of them create their own styles.
The group currently has ten regular students and about four to five graduate students helping for the Cherry Blossom Festival every year. The Washi Ningyo classes have been exhibiting the dolls on the first weekend of the Cherry Blossom every year at the JCCCNC. As you attempt various hobbies and attain new skills while sheltering in place, add this exquisite art form to your future hobby list to attempt!
There is uniqueness to the art of Japanese Paper Doll making. One could learn Japanese history and culture through the making of a single doll and at the same time see how the paper/dolls come alive through simple hand manipulations. There is a certain unexplainable beauty in this process.Rochelle Lum