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Archives for December, 2011

Some End-of-the-Year Details–and a Wish for a Happy New Year!

December 31, 2011

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メリークリスマス from Sri

December 23, 2011

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Grandfather’s Envelopes at The Douglas Hyde Gallery in Dublin

December 20, 2011

I think many of you already know of the remarkable Japanese book, Grandfather’s Envelopes, which has something of a cult following around the world.  The book, which shows a carefully edited selection of the envelopes hand made by Kouzaki Hiromu during the last 15 years of his life, is a beautiful elegy to the quiet and unintended artwork left behind by this simple man.Kouzaki’s granddaughter, Fujii Sakako, was the force behind this book, a labor of love in memory of her grandfather and his quiet, epic accomplishment.  The Douglas Hyde Gallery in Dublin is now showing the envelopes–thousands in all–for the first time outside Japan.From The Douglas Hyde Gallery’s website:

Kouzaki Hiromu, the grandfather of the exhibition title, was born in 1902 in Japan. He learnt carpentry at the age of 15 and eventually became a master builder. As an elderly man of 80, partly to keep his hands busy, he began to make envelopes from used paper that he found around the house, and soon this activity took over his life. He made envelopes almost incessantly. When he died, at the age of 95, the family put paper into his coffin so he could go on producing them.

The envelopes, made from used and unwanted materials…are not artworks, but neither are they exactly everyday objects for use. What is most remarkable about them, apart from the silent, diligent, and obsessive manner in which they were made, is their wonderful simplicity and humility – qualities that are not much in evidence in our materialistic world.

**Note: to the best of my knowledge the book, Grandfather’s Envelopes is out-of-print and no longer commercially available.  To find a copy you may want to do an Internet search.**

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A Small Paper Hinagata: Backlit

December 15, 2011

Last week I offered this paper hinagata, or practice kimono on the webshop and as it’s hanging here in the showroom, and as I like the way it looks on this dim December day, I thought I’d post a few photos.It’s a child’s kimono rendered to size in repurposed ledger paper; the actual seams which construct the shape of the kimono are stitched, but the horizontal seams that you see in the backlit photo, below, are glued.When seen with light streaming through it, I think the perception of its beauty is altered–and maybe enhanced.As I said on the webshop posting, this piece is most likely from the Meiji era (1868 – 1912) or just slightly later.Oh, and I like my little raw cotton fiber arrangement shown above, so I thought I’d offer a quick view onto that, too.

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A View into Sri Showroom

December 8, 2011

I just received my work back from the Mottainai exhibition at the Portland Japanese Garden and I was inspired to hang some of these pieces at my Brooklyn showroom.The boro noragi, or work coat, that is floating above the table in the center of the photo, above, and shown, below, was not in the show.  I hung it in a prominent position to show it off: I think it’s an A++ piece.I’ve never seen a jacket with this many patches of this small size: some of them are as small as a postage stamp. I apologize for the poor photos; the light was not cooperating with me.  I wanted to show this noragi, so I figured a bit of a tease in the form of poor photos is better than not showing the piece at all.The inside of this coat, shown here,  is like a mosaic with its tessellated surface.   This is an extremely beautiful boro noragi.

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A Group of Beautiful and Complex Shibori

December 3, 2011

Today I’m showing a group of very beautiful, very sophisticated late 19th, early 20th century shibori–all dyed in botanical indigo on hand spun, hand woven cotton.Maybe in the future I’ll highlight individual pieces from this group as each is worthy of a closer look.  Today, though, I just wanted to leave an impression.

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Only in New York, Folks, Only in New York

December 1, 2011

“Curbside Haiku,” is a new safety education and art campaign instituted by the New York City Department of Transportation.  Apparently there are 144 of these haiku signs posted around the city, aimed to help us with pedestrian traffic safety.

I don’t know about you, but I think there’s  more of a likelihood that I’d get hit by a car as I stop to unravel the meaning in these  haikus than if there was a direct message.

I like that the DOT is using art as a medium, and I like the graphics, but as for these haikus in high volume traffic areas promoting safety…..what do you think?  Helpful?

See them large, here.

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