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Soulportals.com
KokeshiVillage.com
Founder: Madelyn M.
e-Mail: KokeshiTrends at gmail.com
Facebook Groups: @KokeshiVillage
Twitter: @KokeshiVillage
Home Base: CA

Before there was a Kokeshi Village, there was Soulportals.com a gift that a friend gave me in 2002 for a group that I managed on an old internet relay chat server. It was my 1st domain and I was excited to learn all about creating a website. It would later develop into a home for my many eclectic collections and poems. On September 15, 2011 I registered my 2nd domain, KokeshiVillage.com (KV) and it was then that I decided to remove much of the content on the site and focus solely on my Kokeshi collection which had been growing exponentially, at the time I had roughly over 500 Kokeshi in the collection.

KV was where I would begin to share my learning journey about Kokeshi. It wasn’t until May 14, 2014 that I decided to create Kokeshi Village Group on Facebook. The group much like the website was created with the purpose of sharing information on Kokeshi. It was a challenge to find resources in English to learn about Kokeshi and as I came across information I thought, it should be shared and that maybe there were others that collected Kokeshi that were facing my same challenges.

I remember vividly, a member of a doll group I had found on Facebook said to me, “there is not enough interest in Kokeshi your group will fail, others have tried with little success”. All my brain said to me was, “Challenge accepted”. We are now 1300+ members strong with a very active international community that share their passion and love for Kokeshi. I’d dare say it has been successful.

I shortly after, on February 3rd 2016, registered my 3rd domain KokeshiTrends.com (KT) after a suggestion from one of our KV group members to create a newsletter. As it typically happens with me, my brain took that suggestion and ran with it. I have been publishing Kokeshi Trends.com since, and now with an amazing group of contributors and volunteers.

The Journal features artist who are inspired by Kokeshi to create works of art depicting these amazingly intricate dolls. It also features Kokeshi doll crafts people (Kokeshi-Kojin), shops and collectors alike. Of interest to us are the stories, inspirations, traditions and love of the Kojin for their art. As well as the people who, not only in Japan, but also internationally, have learned to love and appreciate the craft.

The goal at KT is to continue to give a voice to Kokeshi in the world of dolls by providing a place to exchange knowledge, to both new and old generations, who are fascinated by their existence. The aim to connect people, not only to the dolls by providing information, but also to their makers. Folkcraft is a labor of love by common people who share their talents, time, and passion through their work. They often produce masterful works of art that sometimes go unnoticed. While some works cannot be attributed to their original makers, we want them to be appreciated and loved for their origin stories. Kojin (craftsmen) Michiaki and Masaaki Hiroi said they often didn't sign their works because Kokeshi was about the experience and the human connection. A connection to the artist, to the material, to the design elements. A Kokeshi should speak to the person who would provide them a home. We love this idea and hope that through raising awareness and sharing information many Kokeshi will connect with people all around the world so that they can continue to bring that sense of connection to everyone who encounters them.

KV is an amazing international Facebook community where a shared passion connects us and friendships blossom as we share our collective knowledge. Many new collectors have sprouted from the information seeds we have planted, and we are extremely proud of that because that means kōjin can continue to create and a wonderful craft form continues to exist for future generations. KV has also birthed KT which has connected us to artist, collectors, ceramist, authors, and so many people from all walks of life I am truly humbled for the experience and honored to be a part of the Kokeshi community.


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