I mentioned previously that Kristofer’s parents met us in Japan. They were in Kyoto for several days and it was great fun to show Kim and Ron a few of our favourite spots in and around Kyoto. One of these places was Nara.
Nara is home to Todaiji a temple complex and home to the world’s largest wooden structure and a massive bronze buddha or Diabutsu. People take a lot of pictures at Todaiji and so did we…
A final note on the deer of Nara. There are a lot of them hanging around the city begging for shika sen-bei (special crackers that can be purchased around Todaiji and elswhere in Nara).
According to official Nara signage these deer aren’t as cute as they first appear and “occasionally attack”?!
Even with all this bad behaviour it was a comfort to see that even the surliest of Nara’s deer have friends.
More on Nara tomorrow…
Next to the GalleryGallery main space are two rooms with approximately 100 showcases featuring small works created by internationally renowned Japanese masters and emerging artists and designers. This is the Showcase Gallery.
For someone interested in Japanese textile art in particular it is a treasure trove. Each time I visited my exhibition I would spend a little time in the Showcase Gallery exploring.
I will share a few images of the artists’ work here and encourage you (and especially my students) to click on their names to see more of their work.
Frequency closes today (In Japan it is March 8 already) and I thought the best way to mark the end of the exhibition would be with a BIG thank you to gallery director Keiko Kawashima. Thank you Keiko-san for all of your assistance, encouragement and on-the-fly translation that made my first exhibition in Japan a memorable experience.
A few days after the opening reception for Frequency, I had the opportunity to visit textile artist Jun Tomita’s studio. This visit was instigated by felt artist and one-woman Kyoto welcome wagoneer Jorie Johnson (thank you Jorie!), who accompanied Kristofer and I into the mountains west of Kyoto…
Jun Tomita’s studio is located in a renovated greenhouse.
Recently, the artist has been working on a series of obi using a painted warp technique. The warp is drawn off the loom and stretched across the space so a design can be painted onto the appropriate places. Two reeds (one with a removable bar at the top) keep the spacing during dyeing and help with registration.
Pattern is added only to places on the textile that will show when worn with kimono. Well known for his exquisite kasuri hangings, weaving obi is an exciting new venture for Tomita.
Tomita’s studio has a variety of looms including this one (below) constructed by the artist using perforated angle-iron and an old Jacquard punch-card device.
Tomita took the tension off this piece in progress so that we could see the hand-painted pattern more clearly. In this and the other obi, he is using silk in both warp and weft.
The view from the entrance to Tomita’s studio.
On the way back to Kyoto we stopped at Fushimi for a beautiful meal in the sake brewing district. A slow walk back to the train provided the perfect end to a marvellous day.
Thanks to Jorie and Kristofer for taking some of these images.
Kristofer filled almost two sketchbooks on our trip (including a few drawings of Jun Tomita’s studio) and has started posting them on his website.
While in Tokyo I visited Tokyo Sky Tree. In the lobby of the Sky Tree plaza entrance is Super Craft Tree designed by Yukio Hashimoto. I couldn’t help but notice that each of the programs in ACAD’s School of Craft + Emerging Media were well-represented…
Gallery EX is GalleryGallery’s experimental space where I was able to install the textile pieces and some images created for Air over land. This was a good opportunity for me to show these artifacts from this project and give a Japanese audience some context for my work.
What I did not expect was that these forms would be recognized as koi-nobori or carp flags typically flown for Children’s Day in Japan.
I am currently working on a video work related to this project and will be posting excerpts to my website. It is my plan to produce a larger scale projection/installation of this work sometime in the future.
Soon Kris and I will be leaving Kyoto and cannot believe we have already been here for almost two weeks! I am trying to catch up on posts and will be posting more over the next couple days. In the meantime Here are a few shots of the Frequency in the main space.
(Professional quality documentation will be posted to my website in a month or so.)
Frequency and Air over land in the EX space continue at GalleryGallery until March 8.
On Sunday, I visited Nobuko Hiroi at Gallery Keifu to see her exhibition 切り、、、結ぶ (Cut , , , Tie). Proving that the world of textile artists is a bit like pleated cloth, Nobuko and I realized we both know Naoko Furue, my MFA studio advisor at NSCAD University!
Nobuko Hiroi’s weaving in 切り、、、結ぶ (Cut ,,, Tie) was exquisite and meticulous. With its embroidery, off-loom-woven details and spare use of dip-dyeing, the largest piece in the exhibition (shown here) astounded me more than once. The apparent simplicity of this work dissolves when one realizes that Hiroi’s minimal approach is grounded in a deep knowledge of cloth. Thank you Hiroi-san for discussing your work with me!
Last night Keiko Kawashima hosted a reception for Frequency at GalleryGallery. In a single evening I met some of Japan’s most respected, international textile artists and reconnected with a few I met on my last trip to Kyoto. The experience was a little overwhelming as I have been following the careers of many of these artists since I learned to weave in 1994. Thank you to everyone who came to see the show and talk about textiles with me this evening including: Machiko Agano, Yasuko Fujino, Shihoko Fukumoto, Nobuko Hiroi, Jorie Johnson, Yoriko Murayama, Chiyoko Tanaka and Jun Tomita (apologies to anyone I may have missed). I also want to thank Kim and Ron Kelly (Kris’ parents) for joining us at the reception – it means a lot to have you both here in Japan! Following the reception we had a delicious Chinese meal just down the street where Kris received fermentation tips from Fukomoto-san and Agano-san. The whole thing was a little surreal actually, an evening I won’t soon forget.
For textile (and flea market) lovers only…
Kris and I finished most of the installation of Frequency yesterday. I am showing work in two separate spaces; the GalleryGallery main space and GalleryEX. Here are a few more images from the installation.
The entire install took only five hours (thank you Kris). Later this afternoon we are headed back to the gallery to finish lighting etc. The opening is tomorrow night. More soon…
On our last trip to Japan we naively thought that we’d be allowed to visit the top of Tokyo Sky Tree – the month they opened – with no luck. This time we were determined to make it to the top. We arrived very early after discovering the Tsukiji Fish Market was closed on Wednesdays. (Kris to Mac, “When the guidebook says closed they mean closed?!”
All was not lost however as there were opportunities for fisherman drag…
…and vending machine breakfast.
Then it was off to Tokyo Sky Tree, the world’s tallest tower at 634 metres!? We were able to visit the observation decks at 350m and 450m.