Saturday, September 15, 2018

Making Glass Kokeshi in Okinawa

Kokeshi are handmade wooden dolls originating in Northern Japan. My kokeshi are handmade out of glass at my tiny workshop in Okinawa Japan. I drew my original pattern in 2010 when we lived in Okinawa for the first time. Moving back has given me the opportunity to create these little cuties again.

Kokeshi Japanese Asian Ornament Handmade Glass Fused Sharon Warren FluterbyButterfly FlutterbyFoto Bullseye Finished
My finished kokeshi.
Kokeshi Japanese Asian Ornament Handmade Glass Fused Sharon Warren FluterbyButterfly FlutterbyFoto Bullseye Blue
A kokeshi with a cherry blossom on her skirt.

Creating each kokeshi begins by transferring my pattern to sheet glass. I use hand rolled glass made by Bullseye in Portland, Oregon. Each piece is hand cut and then shaped with a glass grinder.

Kokeshi Japanese Asian Ornament Handmade Glass Fused Sharon Warren FluterbyButterfly FlutterbyFoto Bullseye Sheet
Bullseye sheet glass ready to be scored.

I carefully layer the cut glass and include a hook so she can easily be hung later on.  Tiny glass eyes and a petite mouth are added to her traditionally round face. The cherry blossom on her skirt is adorned with bits of crushed glass in assorted colors.

Kokeshi Japanese Asian Ornament Handmade Glass Fused Sharon Warren FluterbyButterfly FlutterbyFoto Layer
Layers of glass stacked carefully and decorated.

Each stacked glass kokeshi is transferred to my kiln where it is heated so the glass layers will bond together. These girls were fused to 1400 degF so the finished ornament will have nice rounded edges and lots of depth and texture.

Kokeshi Japanese Asian Ornament Handmade Glass Fused Sharon Warren FluterbyButterfly FlutterbyFoto JenKen Kiln Fire
Glass kokeshi heating to 1400 degF in my kiln.

Opening the kiln after it cools is like opening presents on Christmas morning! Seeing each little kokeshi complete just makes me smile.