Bebe Taian: Atelier Kanawa, Professional Kanzashi Maker

April 12, 2011

Atelier Kanawa, Professional Kanzashi Maker

Most people who are really interested in hana kanzashi (maikos' flower kanzashi) are also crafty people and scour places like Amazon or Ebay for books on how to make cute little flowers for stuff. However, the quality with these can drastically vary from people using glue guns to hold cheap fabric together, and some very well-adept person actually using the silk and rice paste techniques to make something inventive and fun.

Atelier Kanawa, run by Kanawa Kuniko, however, is in a class of her own. Kanawa is not a hobbyist, but a professional. She was trained as an artist by one of only five (then seven, I believe) remaining traditional kanzashi makers in Japan. Today, none of the five remaining artists are accepting apprentices- she is truly lucky to have found someone willing to take her. Although, I heard her master has since passed...

I have been watching her for about as long as I had been on Etsy, since around late 2006. Until now, I've never put aside the money for something beautiful. My hair tends to be an unruly, easily-torn mess, so I didn't think kanzashi would be for me, outside of something simple like tama kanzashi, which are harder to get tangled up in. Now, however, I think it's time to try to wear something small and cute. ^_^ Apparently, I'm just in time!

Image (C) Atelier Kanawa
Normally, the ume or maple designs I love run about $30- a bit much for me to spend on hairpins, regardless of quality. Because of financial circumstances, I really budget every dollar these days. But due to the recent disasters in Japan, Atelier Kanawa has released several $5 Hinomaru-design plum blossom pins and keychains! I suggest everyone get one. The proceeds go to JRC (Japan Red Cross) to help rebuild the lives of millions affected by the series of earthquakes, tsunamis, and nuclear disasters of the Kanto-Tohoku regions. This is one of two that I've purchased. They are already on their way! I can't wait to see them!

You can get yours here. ^_^ Anyone who knows about Atelier Kanawa knows that she ships quickly and makes excellent work. You won't have to worry about something falling apart, so long as they are treated well, and that you can expect high quality. Even the most expensive things really are fairly priced. It can take forever just to cut precise tiny squares for each piece, and she even dyes her own silk sometimes! Buying from her is well worth the cost, so spend freely knowing that you'll get what you paid for.

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