Tag Archives: Japan

For lovers of craft, indigo and textiles: an exhibition

If these words inspire you: textiles, crafts, traditional and inherited skills, and totally dreamy indigo blues patched over and over: then don’t miss the Boro: Threads of Life exhibition at the East Wing Galleries of Somerset House this April.

Focusing on the ancient Japanese textile tradition of Boro, which means ‘rags’ in English, the textile exhibits on display include bedcovers and clothes made by the poor, rural population of Japan who pieced and patched old pieces of discarded clothing onto and into new items, with fisherman’s jackets morphing into futon covers and on and on, as the pieces were passed down through families and generations.

With their beautiful colours, these humble works of art prompt the viewers to consider the act of ‘mending’: could it be considered an old-fashioned skill? Or, as we continue to embrace traditional crafts at home; and are more aware of the damage caused by excess waste (and/or simply feel the pinch financially) is it becoming more current to embrace repairs, so we can keep our possessions for longer?

Boro exhibition at Somerset House via findthedetails.com

Boro: Threads of Life, 2-26 April, free admission, Somerset House.

Located just off The Strand, Somerset House has to be one of the most hard-working arts and cultural venues in London; changing with the seasons, you’ll discover it hosting al fresco music gigs and giant cinema screens; a multitude of fountains; the latests frocks (it’s home to London Fashion Week) or a beautiful ice rink….

From this….

Somerset House via findthedetails.com somerset house via findthedetails.com

To this….:

Somerset house via findthedetails.com Somerset House via findthedetails.comfindthedetails.com

Somerset House via findthedetails.com

[images, Somerset House

The line up of their Summer Series of gigs (10-20 July) has just been announced: tickets go on sale this Friday 21 March, with the cinema screenings to follow later in the summer. To to learn more about the architecture, join their free guided tours (every Thursday and Saturday), taking in the Tudor and Georgian history to the modern-day, including the new Miles Stair created by Eva Jiricna. Enjoy! Jx

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Lovers of blue and white, part IV: reinterpreting Japanese ceramics

Continuing my love of blue and white, (see previous posts here, here and here) I’ve just come across this new concept by Japanese design studio nendo, which has worked with Gen-emon to create a new series of porcelain tableware. Gen-omen is one of Japan’s most respected and long established traditional porcelain kilns, and nendo has taken some of their classic motifs, from small florals to geometric shapes; keeping the signature (and much loved) blue/white colour combination but playing with scale and the elements of the patterns to reintrpet the designs for today’s living:

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[all images, Designboom; products by nendo and gen-emon

By playing with the possibilities of pattern to plain; blue on white to white on blue, and using traditional motifs, the porcelain is beautiful both individually and as an eclectic group of several pieces. From plates to bowls, pots to spoons, this collection is definitely on my wish list!

Beautiful fish; blue & white, part III

I read somewhere wherever you are in the UK, you are never more than 50 miles from the sea* and it may be this proximity to the seaside which provides our affinity with it, and likewise the inspiration for so many of our talented artists and designers.

Just as the with Sardine Run china from Jersey Pottery I wrote about here, these beautiful blue and white fish prints below share a love for the sea together with Japanese creative processes.

For her original artwork featuring locally caught Cornish fish, artist Susie Ray adapted an 18th-19th century technique called Gyotaku (fish rubbing) created by Japanese fishermen to visually record the fish they caught. Whilst the fishermen used ink and rice paper, Susie worked with oil paints and cotton cloth, so giving the paintings a wonderful textural depth that conveys a sense of movement and life.

Now she’s released beautiful prints of these originals, using pigment dyed light-fast inks and archival papers:

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All prints come in several sizes, and are produced, named and hand-signed by artist Susie Ray,  from The Padstow Mussel Company

If you haven’t discovered it yet, Cornwall-based The Padstow Mussel Company‘s shop and website itself is worth a look for its beautiful ceramics, photographs, artwork and tableware.

*(although according to this BBC article, it could differ between 45 and 70 miles depending on what your definition of ‘sea’ is….)

Baskets and Bowls; rural Japanese kitchen

This image, from The Selby‘s recent feature on Nancy Singleton‘s Japanese farm included this inspirational image….

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Reassuring for those of us who think we have too much kitcheware! I want to reach out, touch and steady the stacks of bowls, baskets and steamers, all jostling for space on the floor as the cabinet behind bursts with more. And a ready-made colour palette for spring 2013 too: think of all those blues/greens/aquas combined with the warm neutral woods and bamboo.