It is our great pleasure to bring to you an exclusive interview with Matin Sensei of Atelier Matin. Here is his Japanese blog – どすこい!お人形小物製作道. (Sensei is respectful way to address someone as a teacher or a master of a skill)

Matin sensei is the maker of many cool eyewear and accessories for a great variety of dolls, notably Love Beam Gun and the wonderful Sofa kits which is only available in Japan at the moment. The brand Atelier Matin has graced many different Doll shows in Japan with limited hand made items for sale, and Matin sensei had held some work shops for doll owners to make their own customised doll Sofa and Couches.
You may also wish to check out the Atelier Matin Flickr group with many photos submitted by others who own his wonderful creations.
We have been very lucky that Matin sensei had made some of his hand made with love items, occassionally available thru the internet from ebay to etsy, more information is at Yahoo group.
Imagine during our last trip to Tokyo for the Blythe beauty contest, when Matin sensei asked if we were interested to get a sofa kit… The answer is of course YES!!!
Interview start:

1) puppy52dolls: Konnichiwa Matin sensei! Thank you for taking your precious time to do this interview with us! First question, when was the first time you were inspired to create accessories for dolls, and do you remember what is the first item you made? (Do you still keep it?)

Matin sensei: Hello Chun-san. Thank you for giving me such a nice opportunity. The encounter with me and the doll is five years ago. I got to know with a new friend then. She was a fan of Takara Jenny. When she found out that crafting is my hobby, she suggested that I try to make sofas for dolls. I came to put sofas, closets and doll size torsos on Yahoo Japan Auction in a few months. It’s the beginning of it all. I didn’t understand anything about dolls in those days. They were merely models for my works.

I don’t keep most of my works. Because I love making them than using them, and the pleasure of the customer is my main motivation of making them.

2) puppy52dolls: Do you have a favourite character or doll in your collection which you like? If yes what is it and why?

Matin sensei: I like Blythe the best. An encounter with Blythe was a turning point for me. Blythe has many characteristics unlike all other dolls as you know. I was attracted to this mysterious doll. But my interest went to the gimmick of eyes and knees rather than the charm of the doll itself. An encounter with Blythe brought me an encounter with the resin casting that I have never experienced.

And it brought me an encounter with the many wonderful dolls person like you.
puppy52dolls: Ahh! Domo arigato ^o^! We are glad that blythe brought us all together!
3) puppy52dolls: I remember seeing some photos on how a sofa is made on your flickr, the method where fabric is inserted is inspired by a traditional Japanese craft?

This is the image and a link I saw from one of your comment Making of KIMEKOMI dolls Have you made Kimekomi dolls before? It is a brillant idea to convert it for use of something modern — a Sofa!

Matin sensei: Yes, the method of sofa making is an application of KIMEKOMI method that is Japanese traditional craft. But I have never made KIMEKOMI dolls before. I got the skill of sofa making after repeated trial and error through the practice. I think the design is more important than the skill of sofa making. Shape of sofa and choice of fabric are the most important. Especially, nice choice of fabric maximize the charm of doll. In my workshop using the kits I provided, a student is able to make his/her “own sofa” by using their choice of fabric.

4) puppy52dolls: How did you learn to make doll accessories? Is it self taught/self study or is there someone you learnt from?

Matin sensei: I learned most skills from my experience. I made small things with paper, wood, stone, metal, glass and various material since before having made the accessories for doll. I was able to apply many of the experience to the making of accessories for doll. We can learn know-how from a person and a book, but can get a skill only by own experience.


5) puppy52dolls: Do you think you will sell sofa kits internationally in future?

Matin sensei: I do plan to sell the sofa kit on my etsy. But the kit will be very limited in number because it is completely handmade. In additional problem is that shipping cost is high. I think two solutions will solve those problems. One is to mass-produce sofa bases with Styrofoam. The other is to disclose how to make sofa bases as an open text. There is a plan to do the sofa base making workshop as the first step.

puppy52dolls: Wow that is very generous of you to consider disclosing what you have found thru your experience! I personally hope maybe I will be able to try to design a sofa by inspiration from your works :)

6) puppy52dolls: If you made a mistake when you make a test, what happens to the “mistake”?

Matin sensei: I always make mistakes. I sometimes make an unbelievable stupid mistake and wasted much money and time. Because I have no skillful hand, I can get a skill only by learning from mistake. But I think that it is a good point of hobby.

puppy52dolls: I think Matin san is very humble, but I agree that we often learn a lot from mistakes made :)

7) puppy52dolls: Is there anything you wish to say to your supporters/fans of your work?

Matin sensei: Thank you for seeing my works and leaving nice comments on my flickr. I always hope to accept all the people who want to buy or order my works. But I couldn’t and I’m sorry. I will make a lot of mistake to be able to make a lot of works, Thank you!

puppy52dolls: Thank you so much for your time and please keep up the great work! :D