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Mom for every day, sometimes as craftworker Stenciler: Ms. Sato Fujii

Published : November 14, 2016
Production area :
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Hello, I’m Kanako from SUNCHI editorial desk.
Hello, I’m Kanako from SUNCHI editorial desk. On this running story “Mom for everyday, sometimes as craftworker”, we introduce people who support crafts with making use of what they are good at. Lovely goods that you pick up unwillingly might be made by somebody’s mom working at home. Who made it? How is she affected toward her job? The first story was about a seamstress and this time for the second will be about “someko” or stenciler.

When I opened the door which says “Atelier”, several oversize paintings hanging on the wall caught my eyes. Two low tables were put side by side and surrounded by shelves stocked with tools for Japanese style painting. On the floor were works by children.

“About twice a year I draw my piece. Three times a month I teach children how to draw a picture. Those pictures there are by children.”

The woman who speaks with reserve is Ms. Sato Fujii living in Kyoto. She’s been working as a stenciler making picture cards and tapestry for 18 years. When I asked her to have an interview at her usual work, she led me to a prefabricated room in the garden not to her house.

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She works here for painting class, her own creative activity and her job of stenciler. Just as the display says, it’s actually atelier where various works are created day by day.

“Originally we had built this for our kids but they said it was scary as being away from house. Then, I thought I would use it.”

She’s a mother of two teenage girls, too. She’s majored Japanese painting at college. It was 18 years ago when she started this job through her junior in college. Soon later she became pregnant and took childcare leave for a few years. And she got back in 2006 when she’d reached a certain stage in bringing up her children. She started from making small pieces as picture postcards and gradually became in charge of big tapestry. While doing it constantly it’s passed 10 years.

Stencil is a method of coloring through a water proof paper mold with a design cut. When we visited her she was working on a “Hina Doll” tapestry for “Girls Festival” which was as tall as adult’s height. She was about to put color on a plain unbleached hemp fabric.

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Hina Doll tapestry what she was working on when we visited her.

Hina Doll tapestry what she was working on when we visited her.

She said, “I draw doll’s face longwise but when I use a mold I basically do sideways.” I see. That is exactly efficient way as she doesn’t have to move a cloth.

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She asked me if I didn’t mind to see her work from the second mold out of seven. On stencil work, a different mold will be used by color and part and the coloring will be made in some layers. If the pattern is complicated, the number of mold will increase. A piece will be done by following the mold’s number.

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“Roughly it goes like this.” While I was gazing in wonder she finished the mold #2 for one piece. The mold #1 is for white parts of the face and clothes. The mold #2 is for red parts. When she peeled the mold paper from the tapestry, all the crew members cheered. A pair of doll looks three dimensional more than earlier.

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“Roughly it goes like this.” While I was gazing in wonder she finished the mold #2 for one piece. The mold #1 is for white parts of the face and clothes. The mold #2 is for red parts. When she peeled the mold paper from the tapestry, all the crew members cheered. A pair of doll looks three dimensional more than earlier.

“I put one color of one mold to all pieces to make at a time not to work out one by one. When the color dries, I go on to the next mold. If it allows me to do in concentration, I will be able to finish in a day.”

I’m impressed with her efficiency and steadiness. In a room anything else but patting sound of sponge occupies, her own “molds” what she’s acquired exist.

[caption id="attachment_3144" align="alignnone" width="560" class="--560"]_mg_0483The mold of Sakura in later number. I learned the gradation work requires higher technique but still it’s amazing that it tints from that bright red color.

Under the desk, there is a variety of sponge dyed in colors from her work. Colors, her familiar trays and thin brush for hand drawing are beside the sponges. She even uses ice candy bar.

“When I put a color on their cheeks I use a new sponge unless it doesn’t look soft.”

She seems to use different tools depends on a pattern.

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To see us gazing at her work without a breath, she offered us a cake for tea. When we enjoyed it she said in a smile it was a recommendation from where she works for. Do you work for a company, too?

It’s only twice a week, she said as if it was nothing, but she’s in charge of housework, motherly duty, moreover her daughters are test-takers, teaching at a drawing class, stenciling and working for a company. She plays 5 roles. With doing all these multi task, how can she make this kind of fine things, I wonder?

“I think they doesn’t buy on impulse but give it a deep thought for this kind of thing. If I buy it myself I will pick up a prettier face.”

I felt like taking off my hat to her. I thought it was tough but she said all the more the work at home was good.

I felt like taking off my hat to her. I thought it was tough but she said all the more the work at home was good.

She broke into smile.

Her children used to come to see her work when they were smaller.
How did you tell them about your job? I asked.

Her children used to come to see her work when they were smaller. How did you tell them about your job? I asked.

When we were chatting, her younger daughter grown up came back home. It had become dark and it was about the dinner time. We apologized for our long stay and then she told us she was going to make Udon noodle in a hot pot, in a motherly smile.

Writer: Kanako Ojima
Photographer: Masashi Kimura

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