Atelier La Mano
In a 90-year-old townhouse standing in a quiet, semi-rural area of Machida City, on the outskirts of Tokyo, we run Craft Studio La Mano, a place where people with disabilities and people without work together to create things. The studio was established in 1992 as a workshop for people with disabilities. In 2009, we launched a Type B Support for Continuous Employment initiative under the Services and Supports for Persons with Disabilities Act. The “La Mano” part of our name means “the hand”; since our founding, we have undertaken activities focused on forging links to society by creating appealing products, primarily by hand. We currently engage in two main activities, broadly speaking. The first is the production of craft items, such as dyed, woven and embroidered items. Using yarn and cloth dyed with indigo and other plants, we create products that provide a palpable sense of nature’s warmth, including hand-woven scarves, embroidery created with plant-dyed yarn, and indigo-dyed koi-nobori (carp-shaped streamers for the Boys’ Festival) and cotton hand towels. Our second focus is artistic activities, which we launched in 2006. These provide each participant with the opportunity to express their abundant individual creativity using various art supplies in our small studio. Now in their 11th year, these activities are steadily helping to forge links to the community.