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Monday, February 18, 2008

In Pursuit of Arts & Crafts

Yesterday, in speaking to the concierge at my hotel, the Righa Royal (pronounced--of course--Liga Loyal), she was kind enough to show me two pages in a visitor guide that had information about hands-on handicrafts in Kyoto.
I poured over that document like I would find enlightenment within. Hemming and hawing over WHAT activities I wanted to do most. In the end, she picked the activities for me, based upon geography, but oh gosh how can you not love a city that is such an active promoter of arts & crafts.
My first stop was a fabric dyeing course. This is sort of the Japanese version of COLOR ME MINE. Pick the item you want to color, pick the pattern, and off you go. I dyed a purse, painting some fish on one side, and a crab on the other. (Then I made my mom a birthday present, a table runner with a bird on a bamboo.)
My next stop was on to a papermaking course. I entered the store and immediately felt like I'd come HOME. Home-made paper everywhere. (You should see the stuff I bought here, sigh, I've blown my food budget for three months, but it was totally worth it.) The class here only cost $4, which is a tremendous bargain. It was a little simplistic, and at first I was a little disappointed, but later I figured out the guys were nervous about their English. Once I started bugging them with every kind of question, "how do you do this technique," "how do you get this color" I started making some cooler pieces of paper

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