Welcome to our second Sweden post! If you read our last blog, you know how excited we are to share our day with the Japanese origami hat maker. That’s right: we went to Stockholm and found ourselves at work with a Tokyo based artist making hats. Crazy, but we don’t make this stuff up!
Wandering around towns often allow our best experiences to pop up. We were about to walk in the Old Map Shop near our hostel in Stockholm when one of us said, “Hey, hats!” and we darted across the cobblestone road. We could see through the gallery window that these weren’t regular hats…they were hand-crafted, really cool, literally origami, hats. The artist, Atsuko Fujii, has designed a technique of folding material this way and that – then running a few seams here and there — and **poof** a really super cool hat!
Walking in we were greeted by the owner of Galleri Yamanashi, and her guest artist from Tokyo, Atsuko Fujii. They were both lovely and invited us to try on all the hats we wanted. Ohh, we wanted! “Try this one!” “Wait, what about this one?” It was awesome. As we were looking around, Aaron remembered the poster outside and took the initiative. Our motto is: “If you don’t ask, the answer’s always ‘no’” – so Aaron asked if they’d do a special private workshop for us and they suggested 2:00pm the next day…unless we wanted to start immediately.
For the second time in as many weeks we took up sewing and this time Aaron joined me. Atsuko speaks very broken English, but was quite high energy and used a folded piece of paper to show us what was going to happen with the cloth. Then we got the fun of picking our material — already cut to size and with a basting line on it so we barely had to think about where the fold should go because most of the measuring was done for us! Aaron didn’t have the benefit of growing up with a dad who sewed his clothes, so he was new to the sewing machine as Atsuko used pantomime to teach him. I just leaned over and said, “It’s just like your scroll saw, put the pedal to the metal and let ‘er go!” and like that he was off and sewing! We pinned, we pressed, we made some very warm and funny hats.
I wanted to make sure there was video proof of his sewing education, so here’s 30 seconds of Aaron sewing, all on his own:
Aaron’s mom loves textile arts and we were so proud of our pieces we went directly home and called her on Skype. The second the camera focused on us she let out a squeal about our fabulous hats! Guess we did ok.
As we pack up and head to Iceland, you can know our ears are warm and artfully covered!
HATS: STEP BY STEP
THE ARTIST and HER HATS