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Archives for November, 2011

Mottainai Catalog: Available Now

November 22, 2011

Copies of the catalog that accompany the show Mottainai: The Fabric of Life, Lessons in Frugality from Traditional Japan at the Portland Japanese Garden are now available on the website.  Click here to buy a catalog.60 pages, full color, soft cover, in English and Japanese
8 1/4″ x 8 1/4″, 21 cm x 21 cm
Published by Gallery Kei, Kyoto

-Before Cotton, by Kei Kawasaki
-Cotton and Japan, by Stephen Szczepanek
-with an introduction by Diane Durston, Curator of Culture, Art and Education at the Portland Japanese Garden and an afterword by Kei Kawasaki

with brief sections on:

Before Cotton:
Ohyo/ Elm
Shina/ Linden
Fuji/ Wisteria
Shi-fu/ Paper
Tafu/ Paper Mulberry
Kuzu/ Kudzu
Bahsho/ Banana
Asa/ Hemp and Ramie
Okuso/ Hemp Waste

After Cotton:
Sashiko Kotatsufuton
-Zanshi-ori Futonji
-Boro Futonji
-Boro Yogi
-Sakiori Hanten
-Boro Noragi
-Boro Momohiki
-Boro Maekake
-Sashiko Zokin

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A Paper Hinagata or Practice Kimono: Meiji Era Ledger Book Pages

November 19, 2011

I really love this.  This is a hinagata, or a kind of practice kimono, that is glued together from Meiji era (1868-1912)  ledger book pages.The kimono is a scaled-down adult one: it measures 45″ x 43″ or 114.5 cm x 109 cm.When the sun illuminates this kimono from behind, it becomes a lantern of sorts, and its character is completely different than what I am showing here today.

I’ve never seen one like this before I found this one.  There are two others, smaller.  Maybe I’ll show them on a later post.

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Mottainai: Japan

November 13, 2011

Far away from Portland, OR, where the Portland Japanese Garden is hosting an exhibition on the subject of mottainai, the ever-inspiring  Amy Katoh has created an exhibition on the same subject in Tokyo, in an extremely picturesque, reconverted printer’s shop,  a perfect backdrop for her collection of boro textiles and objects.Amy has been an enduring personal inspiration to me, and her ability to mentor others to see the beauty of simple things is one of her many alluring characteristics. Certainly Amy’s encouragement and guidance regarding my mottainai show at the Portland Japanese Garden was one of the richest voices I heard while planning the show.I wish I could have been in Tokyo to see Amy’s show, MottainaiIt was shown at the Fukagawa Bansho Gallery and ran from 16 through 30 October.  Here are some glimpses into her fabulous collection.
Fukugawa Bansho Gallery, above.

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Mottainai The Fabric of Life: Lessons in Frugality from Traditional Japan

November 6, 2011

The exhibition at the Portland Japanese Garden, Mottainai, The Fabric of Life: Lessons in Frugality from Traditional Japan opened on 4 November.  Here are some installation shots.
I’m exhibiting with my friend, Kei Kawasaki of Gallery Kei in Kyoto.   Kei and I decided that I would show indigo dyed cotton boro pieces and she would show bast fiber and paper pieces.  The items I have contributed to the show can be seen below.Above and below is a large, woven cotton boro mosquito netting or kaya.

Above and below are sashiko stitched pieces.  Centrally place above is a large, sashiko stitched kotatugake.  To the left and right are garments from Yamagata prefecture.Stitched aprons and zokin can be seen above.

Above and below are sakiori garments.

Above is pictured a boro yogi or sleeping kimono, while below you can see noragi or work coats.Below is a fantastic boro futonji or futon cover.This piece, below, a shinafu or linden fiber tsunobukuro or horn bag is filled with balls of shredded indigo dyed cotton yarn and twisted paper yarn.   Kei brought this to the show to act as a transition between her bast fiber textiles and my indigo dyed cotton ones.  It’s an amazing object.  Kei’s other textiles can be seen in the images below.

Above and below are some woven paper garments.  On the photo, above, situated on the right is an okuso zakkuri or a coat made of woven hemp waste.  Below, seen in the middle, is a fujifu or woven wisteria garment and a shinafu or linden fiber garment to its left.

Below are two elm fiber garments: to the right is a traditional Ainu attush, to the left is an unusual dochugi or traveling coat, made from ohyo or elm fiber.  Since this dochugi is made from traditional Ainu cloth, we can assume that the cloth was traded with the Ainu by a merchant from Honsu island.

A marvelous, resist dyed ramie kazuki from Yamagata prefecture can be seen above and below.  A kazuki is a kimono-shaped veil which was worn on the head by upper class women.Below are repurposed paper items. A splendid bashofu or banana fiber kimono from Okinawa can be seen below.All of the pieces are for sale through the Portland Japanese Garden.  If any are interesting to you, please let me know and I will put you in touch with the Garden.

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Behind the Scenes at the Portland Japanese Garden

November 2, 2011

In my previous post, below this one, I wrote that I’m having a show at the Portland Japanese Garden on the subject of Mottainai, a Japanese philosophical concept that assigns value to all resources and cautions not to waste even the smallest remnant or leftover.On this misty morning, yesterday, I snapped the two photos, above, while in the garden, where the maples are at peak color–and where you think you have been teleported to Japan.…and here’s a sneak peak behind the scenes during the installation of the show at the Garden’s pavilion. I’ll show installation shots of the finished show in a few days.

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