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Archives for February, 2009

“New Asian Textile Traditions” Exhibition at the Arts of Pacific Asia Show, San Francisco

February 25, 2009

Cavin-Morris Gallery’s Randall Morris and Mariko Tanaka co-curated a blockbuster exhibition, “New Asian Textile Traditions” at the recent Arts of Pacific Asia Show at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco.  Their beautifully curated exhibition included the works of contemporary textile artists Rowland Ricketts, Shihoko Fukumoto, Hiroko Takeda, Paola Moreno, Lidia Syroka and the katazome dyers Nobuo and Toshio Matsubara.

The two, large-scale norens prominently displayed in the center of the photo above are the work of Rowland Ricketts: they are dyed of indigo which was grown by Ricketts himself; a stencil resist method was employed to fix the design to the cloth.  The square format, dark indigo piece to the right of the photo is by Shihoko Fukumoto.

Above is another view onto Ricketts’ splendid, original norens.

Another of Ricketts’ norens hangs center in this photo, while in the foreground is a wool and paper woven piece by the New York-based Hiroko Takeda.

Above are two works by the esteemed Japanese indigo dyer and artist, Shihoko Fukumoto who is known for her deep sapphire-blue indigo which is at once dark and bright.  The vertical piece in the foreground is called “The Moon Shadow.”

Another stunning work by Fukumoto hangs to the left of a resist-dyed noren by Rowland Ricketts.

Centrally placed in the above photo are four silk obis by Nobuo Matsubara.  The obis are dyed in the katazome method; flanking the obis are tanmono, or full lengths of cotton yukata fabric: Matsubara resides and works in Chiba, Japan, and his work with katazome or stencil resist dyed technique is superlative.

Sadakichi Matsubara (1893-1955), the father of  the late Toshio Matsubara, the father of Nobuo whose work is also in the exhibition,  was awarded the distinction of “Living National Treasure” in his native Japan for his exceptional artistry in indigo dyeing.

All photos courtesy of Cavin-Morris Gallery and photographed by Mariko Tanaka.

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An Assortment of Antique Komebukuro or “Rice Bags”

February 18, 2009

Here is a corner of the Sri showroom with a selection of komebukuro, or rice bags, which date from the late nineteenth century to the early part of the twentieth.  Rice bags are so called as they were fashioned from scraps of cloth to create a “fancy” look as they were used to comport rice grains-and sometimes beans, etc.–to Buddhist temple festivals as tribute.

Komebukuro is a general term for these pieced bags, but the jury is still out if each of these was meant to bring rice to temple festivals.  It is my hunch that in certain cases they were also used for home use.

I love the bottom piecing of the komebukuro pictured center, above.  As well, the large, silk piece, below is really fabulous with its botanical dyes, chief among them are the orange/safflower, purple/gromwell root, blue/indigo.  Note the purple shibori pieces at “4 o’clock” and “7 o’clock” on this bag.  Really lovely.

One of the bags below is stitched “Zensuke”, the name of the owner.  I bought a group of these komebukuro which came from the same family, and they hail from Japan’s rural north.

On the photo below, the two bags on the right are not komebukuro: the far right bag is a fabulous, hand dyed and hand painted 19th century chirimen (crepe) silk bag, while sitting next to it on its left is a funny little early 20th century bag composed of indigo dyed kasuri overlaid with commercially produced lace!

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