The Design Story
I designed this beaded Kokeshi doll at the request of a student. She had attended my workshop to make a beaded snowman and went home to finish her project. She absolutely loves Kokeshi dolls. So, after completing the snowman, she thought maybe the same technique could be adapted to make a Kokeshi doll.
A few weeks later, she came to another workshop of mine, bringing with her a beaded Kokeshi doll’s head. She had made this by adapting the pattern, but she was struggling with the body, so asked if I could help out. Naturally, the snowman has a very round body, but the beaded Kokeshi doll needed something a little more elongated.
This lady had found a lovely polystyrene form around which to bead the body, but she had been struggling to work out how to do it. I took everything home with me and went to work on the project. I realised that if I just free-form beaded around the doll’s body, I would struggle to create a pattern from which my student could make more beaded Kokeshi dolls. So, I abandoned the polystyrene form and designed the body from scratch, fitting it to the existing head. I then added the parasol, the hair and found I had this beaded Kokeshi doll. I wrote up the pattern and decided that it would actually be a lovely idea for my website, so here it is!
About the Beaded Kokeshi Doll Pattern
The beaded Kokeshi doll is made using netting to cover wooden beads. This is then mixed with peyote stitch. I also used peyote stitch for the accessories. You will need delica beads in sizes 10 and 11, plus some round wooden beads. The pattern includes full instructions accompanied by step-by-step diagrams. The finished doll is around 4″ (10cm) high. You can also play around with the colouring. The lady who requested this pattern has now made several beaded Kokeshi dolls, all with different Kimonos and parasols. (One of these is shown in the gallery photos here – along with the beaded chicks and penguin that evolved from the snowman!). Once you have mastered the basic pattern, let your imagination really flow with this project.