This mesmerizing video, produced by tetotetote, introduces us to Yasuo Okazaki, an artisan working in Sendai, Japan who transforms spinning blocks of wood into exquisitely beautiful Kokeshi dolls, a 400-year-old Japanese artistic tradition.
Traditional Kokeshi dolls are entirely handmade and have an enlarged head that sits atop a simple, cylindrical trunk with no arms or legs. Just a few delicate lines of paint define the face and their bodies are painted with a floral design. The bottom of each doll is signed by its artist.
Okazaki’s “Naruko” style of making the dolls was passed down to him from his father and features stripes at the top and bottom of the body and bangs with red headdresses.
Watching Okazaki’s extraordinarily skilled hands at work is nothing short of hypnotic. With his kind permission we could easily stand outside his workshop window and watch him for hours. One gets the feeling that he’s revealing dolls that he alone knew to be hidden beneath the surface of each wooden block.