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This is a paper mache daruma I made several years ago (around 2002 or 2003, I think). It's about 3" tall. It was one of several I made in a batch.

I used to work in the Japanese American National Museum’s Store. Every year, I organized an appreciation potluck in January to thank our many volunteers who put in countless hours to help us survive the busy holiday season with checking in merchandise, pulling items for catalog and online orders, packing the orders, and a myriad of other tasks. Without them, we would never have been able to keep up and still have time to get some sleep.

I wanted to present “awards” for the volunteers who had put in the most amount of time during the busy holiday season and throughout the year. Unfortunately, we didn't have any budget for such things. So, I got creative and decided one year to make something. I got really ambitious and decided to make my own paper mache daruma.

It was my first attempt at paper mache ever, so I looked online for instructions. The process took much longer and was a lot more work than I had anticipated. It took kind of long to dry because I made them in winter time.

In the end, I forget how many I ended up with. I think there were about 5 to 7 of them. Each was a little different in shape and how I painted them. They weren't the best-looking, but I think that the recipients appreciated the effort at least.

In the end, the satisfaction that I got was well worth the effort for me. This one was an extra one that I kept for myself as a reminder of my years working with the volunteers in the Store.

vkm — Last modified May 01 2012 10:24 a.m.

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My Collection of Daruma

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