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Archives for June, 2009

Translucency, Paper and an Interior of Restrained Elegance

June 9, 2009

A little over a week ago I posted an entry on the beautifully translucent shoji panels at Kastura-rikyu, the 17th century princely retreat in Kyoto.  That posting got me thinking of another few photos of translucent washi which I photographed at Kyoto’s famous ryokan, or traditional inn,        The Tawaraya.tawaraya1

These photos were taken in the Tawaraya’s first floor library, a magnificently beautiful suite of two rooms overlooking an impeccable garden.   Mrs. Toshi Satow, the owner of the 300 hundred-year-old inn, has an amazing eye, and her unerring sense of design is the heart of the beauty of the famous inn.  For generations, The Tawaraya, one of the jewels of Japan, has hosted luminaries in the fields of politics, the arts, and entertainment.


The doorway between the ante room and the library is very low, and you have to bend down to enter the library itself.   Notice the beautiful, kasuri zabuton (cushions) and the rug.  These are the work of the textile artist Jun Tomita, the acclaimed Kyoto artist whose work was shown at the Museum of Modern Art‘s now-famous 1990 “Structure and Surface” exhibition which surveyed the best of Japan’s textile artists.




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June 4, 2009

I was completely taken by the beauty of Joan Bankemper’s assembled vases, below, at Corinne Gilbert’s magnificent home store,  mc&co. nearby me in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  mc&co. is  clean, light-filled and high-ceilinged—a perfect backdrop for the hand-chosen home design items presented there.


These vases are among the beautiful items for the home you’ll find at mc&co., and the artist, Joan Bankemper has done a line of original ceramics for the store which she has fashioned from vintage ceramics molds from the 1950s through the 90s.corinne1a1

Just stunning, aren’t they?


Make sure to stop by mc&co. when you are visiting New York or if you make a trip to Williamsburg–and stop by the Sri showroom, as well!

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An Intact Kaya: A Tent of Hemp Fiber Mosquito Netting

June 2, 2009

Japan’s summers are brutally hot and humid, and with muggy weather comes mosquitoes, as we all know.  Kaya, or mosquito netting, has been a staple of Japanese life for centuries, and for as long, it was woven from hand plied bast fiber, usually hemp, and fashioned into a tent-like structure of varying sizes.


This one probably dates to the 1950s or so, is made from hemp cloth which is dyed a gradient blue.   I’m offering this beauty for sale on my website on June 3, 2009.


I’m thrilled to offer this, and I’m very pleased to be able to show an intact kaya.  I’ve sold many single panels which have been removed from the entire tent, so I hope these images provide a better understanding of kaya. Note that this piece, above and below, is in great shape, down to the steel rings on each, top, corner.  They are still very sturdily attached.


Here’s a wonderful website showing great, historical images of kaya–and discusses the languid, hot summers of Japan.



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