While visiting Kyoto we made paper lanterns. The shop – Kohima Shoten – has been in existence for ten generations and is only one of two in Kyoto still building lanterns using traditional methods. The gentleman who taught our session left the petrochemical business to come back to Kyoto and make lanterns. His Father and Grandfather taught him all he knows.
We sat in their workroom around a folding table in the center of the space. The instructions were simple and easy to understand, once he finished explaining the process then he let us do our work, We each chose different papers and worked diligently to do things in the proper order. He dried our work under a heated fan then gave each of us a battery operated votive to show off our work.
For a few moments during our time in the shop we were connected to the hundreds of artisans who lived before us who paved the way. They lived their lives to create these and countless other designs which served as lanterns to light untold adventures and events. As we sat and experienced the same process we could feel the tradition and majesty with each touch of our hand to paper.
No matter who you are or what you do, someone went before you to pave the way to make what you do possible. They worked out the kinks, smoothed out the process, developed the tools and techniques and left behind a legacy from which you are able to build your own life. Let these lanterns serve as a reminder that what you are doing today will serve that same purpose for future generations. Give thanks for those who went before and work hard to leave your own mark for those who will follow.