Friday, January 9, 2009


It's the first class of the year and of course I had to create the New Years' Baby. I've called her 'Rini" meaning " little bunny " in the Japanese language." Oh rabbit on the moon, What are you leaping for? I shall leap, I shall leap soon, at the large full moon". (
Yes, I sing when I create. Tra-La-La... but, I just couldn't help noticing, that this little dolly seemed to be crawling all over the place, getting stuck in the glue, rolled up in the cottons strips and tangled in the wire, which was a hefty 20 guage. So, I stopped singing and concentrated on the work at hand. ( Focus)Creating Baby was a challenge with all the teeny, tiny poses to chose from. I bent the wire this way and that way, crushing the washi garment to feel and see some authentic form. However, this little cherub was really testing me, but don't all children. They're all basically, a divine work of art in one form or another. Rini was no different.There seemed to be alot of giggling, ooing and cooing going on as this tiny spirit evolved and was transformed into an ( almost live) Washi baby.Suddenly, I started to laugh... because, the best thing about this wee one, is ZaaArt of not having to change diapers. She's already potty trained.. So , I call her my " Miracle Baby".

Monday, January 5, 2009


So , I'm in a restaurant watching people picking their teeth, but they are covering their mouths. It's a custom here in Japan. My food arrives and I pull my chopsticks out of a beautifully folded rice paper envelope and there I spy a toothppic Geisha. HMMM ..I love it. Well I search the net lookingfor instructions. I asked my friends for help, but none of them know anything about these little lovelies. So I started experimenting with the washi paper and toothpics.. I never knew that there were so many different kinds of toothpics. Well there are fat ones, round ones, skinny ones, short and tall ones. I'm stumped, but not defeated. A year passes and I stumble across a little shop in the Kokura market and quess what I find? The perfect toothpic.( Doesn't take much to excite me.) It's five cm long and has a circular nick around the top part of the pic. Now, I'm happy..... It took alot of practise but ,Tah Dah ... I'm creating my own little Toothpic Geisha's. Infact , they have become my New Years' inspiration for a "Paperdoll Craft Book" that I'm working on ...No , I don't pick my teeth with them . Toothpic Geishas are fiddly, but in ZaaArt world, time and patience is what it's all about. There's no paper stuck between my teeth..( Ha Ha)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Crane Lore

Have you ever wondered what to do after a Christmas dinner ? This year we made Origami Cranes for the New Year celebrations. Of course some people were better at the folding than others, especially in Japan where they learn paper crafts at an early age, in kindergarten. Surprise, surprise, we had alot of fun doing it.
In Asia, the crane is know as the " bird of happiness" and is often referred to as, thee , 'Honorable Lord Crane"... Myths tell of a legendary warrior who conquered his foes, to heroically, extend the borders of ancient Japan, and upon his death, his soul took the form of a crane and flew away. ( I'd love to illustrate this)
A 12th century legend, tells the story of Yorimoto, who attached labels to the legs of the cranes and requested that the people who captured the birds, record their location, put it on the label and then re-release the birds. This was a very early program, of bird banding.( Amazing isn't it) Infact some of Yorimoto's birds were claimed to have still been alive several centuries after his death.
( Ha Ha)
Yet , another, 12th century, myth retells the tales of Kakamura, a Feudal Lord who celebrated a Buddhist festival . After a successful battle, he freed many cranes, as a thanksgiving gift . Each had a prayer strip on it's leg, to convey a special prayer for those, killed in battle. This appears to be the first recorded association of the crane with celebration of peace and prayer.
Inevitably, the cranes reputation for a long life and prosperity, has became a symbol of good health. Origami cranes have become a popular pastime and a special gift of offering.. So far I've made one hundred small cranes for an origami mobile. I would like to hang it in my new/old Canadian house as a fond remembrance of Japan. It will symbolize the ZaaArt of being Happy and at Peace during 2009.