Name : Vivien Hoffpauir

About: I'm a clothing and accessories designer living just outside Washington DC.

I started making tsumami kanzashi in 2002. I had seen kanzashi in photos of geisha, and fell in love!I spent weeks looking up what little information I could find about them, and after learning that they were made from fabric squares, I cut up some old clothes and began to experiment in an attempt to find the right shapes.

My first ever attempt was this pink, yellow and white kanzashi. Made from things I wasn't going to wear again, some scraps of fabric from an old project and some glass beads. Anything I had laying around, I couldn't wait to get stuck in! From there I tried out more and more things, almost obsessively and began to find the right path to making tsumami kanzashi.

The effort paid off, and I started selling kanzashi under the name Gaijin Geisha, which grew to become my first clothing label.

Since then I have made hundreds of kanzashi, some traditional and some not. I love creating new designs, and enjoy all the new lessons I'm still learning with each new kanzashi I make.

kanzashi are traditional Japanese hair ornaments, they come all shapes and sizes, in precious metals, resins and silk. It's the silk ones this site is mostly about.

Called tsumami kanzashi or hana kanzashi these hair pins date back as far as the edo period in Japan over 200 years ago.

The name tsumami kanzashi comes from a traditional technique of pinching folded squares of silk to produce is single "petal" or "knob"

The "petals are assembled onto an array of bases to produce the finished piece.

Now a days they are mostly worn by the Geisha, or by young girls on special occasions like Coming of Age and New Years. Some young people even like to mix these traditional items with their very modern street fashion.


I hope I can bring a few people through this site to fall in love with this art form as I did, and that the kanzashi masters and these beautiful ornaments can continue on for a very long time.

Long Live the kanzashi!

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