Monday, June 22, 2009

Tatebanko . . .

I had to go to Blick Art Supplies today to pick up airbrush supplies, and I fell prey to one of their impulse buys. Of course, their impulse buys are not like other store's impulse buys; whereas a regular store might have gum or candy near their checkout, Blick had this: a Japanese woodcut diorama you can make yourself;)

Most people who know me know of my passion for all things Japanese; I have an entire wall in my bedroom devoted to Hiroshige and Hokusai prints. Yes, that is a kimono on the wall.

So, when I saw this, I grabbed it. I then proceeded to spend the next hour and a half cutting it out and gluing it together . . .

Tatebanko is apparently the lost art of Japanese paper dioramas; the company that made this one makes several others as well, based on ukiyoe and the art of Tezuka (who created Astro Boy).

The package came with several pages of heavy card-stock, on which was printed the tabbed pieces you needed to cut out. The edges were all rounded, and there were very few fiddly bits that made cutting difficult (this made my hands happy!). Even the background of the sheets was pretty, with a purple pattern on the parts you discarded.

Each piece had tabs that got glued down to the base in numerical order; then the sides and back were glued into place. The directions were very simple, but I really only needed to reference them a few times.

The finished diorama is now sitting on my desk. I found, as with most Japanese crafts (origami as well), that the act of making it was part of the exercise and to be enjoyed as much as the finished product. It is almost a meditation in paper; you cannot rush, you must slow down. A little oasis in my day; if you find yourself regularly stressed and rushing around, I recommend
taking up the art of tatebanko;)

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