17/05/2018

Exhibition Notice



FunaAsobi Gallery—Exhibition Notice
1st June to 10th June
Black is Beautiful—New pieces of Suzu ware by Takashi Shinohara
This exhibition of work by Takashi focuses on unglazed pieces of dark Suzu ware.  Black is the overall impression but each piece habours a sparkling universe of specks of colour.  The forms, too, bring out the colours and whether vases or bowls each has a distingtive Shinohara line.
6/1~6/10 「美しき黒のフォルム」~珠洲焼 篠原敬(Takashi Shinohara)~
珠洲焼 篠原敬の個展です。 釉薬を掛けず焼成によって出る黒は、宇宙のように様々な色合いを見せてくれます。 また、フォルムが現れる色です。花器や器を中心に篠原の美しいラインをご覧いただきたいです。 


Photo Copyright FunaAsobi Gallery

Do feel free to pass on the address of this blog to anyone you think will be interested.  Or share it on a social media site.  Should you wish to leave a comment, please do so by clicking on the comment mark at the bottom left of this or any of the other posts.   If you have found this blog interesting, why not become a follower.  Thank you.

08/05/2018

Exhibition Notice

Chrysanthemum Arabesque Pattern Nashi-ji inside  Cloisonne-Lacquering Maki-e Tea Caddy
International Antiques Fair 2018 Hong Kong

May 26th~28th    11:00am~7:00pm and May 29th   11:00am~5:00pm
Hong Kong Convention Exhibition Centre   5BC Booth: F5

Under the leadership of Takashi Wakamiya, the Hikoju Makie collective of true lacquerware artisans has taken on a new challenge—to create a piece of lacquerware with a strong “antiqued” appearance and character for the International Antiques Fair 2018 to be held in Hong Kong.  The effect is stunning and the tea caddy itself could easily have been made in the very early part of the 20th century.  A piece of high quality antiqued work.

One member of the Hikoju Makie team will be at our booth during the exhibition to demonstrate some of the time honoured skills and techniques without which Japanese craft culture would be lost.

Takashi will also be on hand during the exhibition to explain the team’s work.


彦十蒔絵が今月末香港で開催される「國際古玩展2018」
のご連絡を申し上げます。

会期:526~28 11:00am~7:00pm , 29 11:00am~5:00pm
場所:香港會議展覽中心展覽廳5BC Booth: F5

今年の出店に伴い、日本の漆芸文化をもっと身近に感じていただく為、
輪島から職人一人を連れて会場内で不定期の実演を実施する事を考えております、新しい作品の発表も予定しております。
添付資料に新作 「菊花唐草模様 内梨子地 漆塗琺瑯彩蒔絵のお棗」写真を付けました。
どうぞご覧くださいませ。

Hikoju Makie Photo © Copyright


Do feel free to pass on the address of this blog to anyone you think will be interested.  Or share it on a social media site.  Should you wish to leave a comment, please do so by clicking on the comment mark at the bottom left of this or any of the other posts.   If you have found this blog interesting, why not become a follower.  Thank you.

01/05/2018

Inspiration?



Wales and Japan
Ceibwr Bay—one of the many bays and inlets along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in Wales is rather special.  Reached along a narrow road from the hamlet of Moylegrove the bay is flanked by high cliffs.  Formed over millions of years the cliff folds are evidence of how layers of rock have been bent and folded by powerful movements of the Earth’s crust.

This exposed face of Ordoviian rocks is, of course, unusual.  It is the kind of example that might find its way into a geography or geology text book.  And, for that matter, it surely has been sketched and painted for its raw beauty and photographed as a seldom-seen phenomena.  It is nothing short of inspirational.

Near Moylegrove is the town of Newport Pembrokeshire.  Although it shares its name with the large conurbation of Newport on the southern coast of Wales, that is where comparisons end.

This small town lies on the coast road and is much favoured as a summer retreat for families from all over the United Kingdom.  The mountains rising up behind the town are thought to have provided some of the monoliths for Stonehenge and there are many burial mounds as well as archeological remains of settlements.


Close to the centre of this attractive town is this stone-faced road-side house.  Perhaps my comparison of its facade with the cliff face at Ceibwr Bay is fanciable but there are certainly similarities.

Clearly there are some structural benefits to the way the stones have been laid but was this done by a mason based on years of experience or could the folded strata at Ceibwr Bay have been an inspiration.  Who knows.

Many traditional buildings in Wales are built of stone and do not have any decorative features on their exteriors.  They simple resist the elements.

The same can be said of traditional Japanese buildings.  Their character is of a structure to fend off the elements—rain, snow and wind while providing shade from the sun and enough ventilation to make the hot humid summer months more bearable.  Such buildings are empirical as well as expressions of pure logic shaped by the laws of nature.

It is the interiors of some traditional Japanese buildings occupied by the wealthy and nobel that display patterns and objects inspired by nature and the elements.

Tokikuni House, Noto Peninsula—Typical of how some traditional buildings in Japan are all roof.

Bill Tingey Photo © Copyright


Do feel free to pass on the address of this blog to anyone you think will be interested.  Or share it on a social media site.  Should you wish to leave a comment, please do so by clicking on the comment mark at the bottom left of this or any of the other posts.   If you have found this blog interesting, why not become a follower.  Thank you.

17/04/2018

FunaAsobi Gallery—Exhibition Notice


28th April to 6th May
Made to Last—Recent Work by Hanpu Suda
Hanpu has a workshop in Tsukuba City where he makes these beautiful bags, which are asking to be used everyday.  They are robust, functional and really good looking, too.

4/28~5/6 「いつも持ちたいかばん」展 ~須田帆布~ つくば市に工房を構える、須田帆布の個展です。 毎日ガンガン使いたくなるかばん。 丈夫で機能性あるデザインが素敵です。

Do feel free to pass on the address of this blog to anyone you think will be interested.  Or share it on a social media site.  Should you wish to leave a comment, please do so by clicking on the comment mark at the bottom left of this or any of the other posts.   If you have found this blog interesting, why not become a follower.  Thank you.


20/03/2018

The Way In


Eaves and Gables
Both of these buildings stand close to the eastern shore of the Noto Peninsula.  Although they are not of any great age, they are both traditional in style and thoroughly Japanese in construction and layout.  There is nothing eclectic about them.  While they both follow regional patterns of vernacular architecture they have individual characters.  Their individuality is partly determined by where the main entrance is located relative to the roof.


Although both entrances are off centre, the building standing by a river sports a well defined and decorated entrance to the left of the facade.  The entrance of the other house is located to the right of the facade and is inconspicuous.  It is, however, recessed.  Doing so provides some shelter from rain and snow for those entering and leaving the building.

Despite having a rather characterless entrance, the wall under the gable end of the roof is full of character—the horizontal and vertical elements stand out against the areas of white wall between them and the lean-to at ground level is capped with a tiled roof as are the windows on the upper floor.  All of these features contribute greatly to the character of the building.

The ground floor lean-to is, in fact, a covered veranda, where washing can be hung to dry.  The generous eave of this roof helps to protect the veranda when the glass screens are drawn back to let in some air during the hot humid summer months.  The ground glass in the sliding screens provides some privacy and is augments by more shoji screens covered with paper flanking the rooms behind.

The building by the river, however, relies on the small hip-and-gable roof over the entrance, thus strengthen the character of the whole facade.

There is in fact another entrance to the left of the projecting, grand main entrance.  I can only suppose this side entrance functions as a backdoor, somewhere for the family to come and go as they please.

Both of these houses have shared features as well as exclusive characteristics.  But it is the positioning of their entrances—either under the eaves or under a gable—that is the key to how the plan develops internally.

Bill Tingey Photo © Copyright


Do feel free to pass on the address of this blog to anyone you think will be interested.  Or share it on a social media site.  Should you wish to leave a comment, please do so by clicking on the comment mark at the bottom left of this or any of the other posts.   If you have found this blog interesting, why not become a follower.  Thank you.

12/03/2018

Eclectic Developments

Hiding behind this European sash window is the plastered door of a Japanese style storehouse.  The weather boarding is done in a Japanese way and may actually be protecting a plastered wall.  The sum total is an eclectic mix.
Mixing Styles
Not long after arriving in Japan and starting my studies in architectural history at Tokyo University of Art and Music, I was taught the word wayosecchu (和洋折衷).  Literally it means a mix of Western and Japanese styles.  It is often used with reference to buildings combining indigenous architectural elements with some stylistic features of Western architecture.  Many of these buildings date from the latter part of the eighteenth century, although the style persisted well into the middle of the twentieth century.

This building in Wajima appears to be a good example of how Western architectural features were handled by Japanese designers or house carpenters.  The style of sash windows could quite easily be from the United States or Europe.  But, if we look more closely, beyond the glass there is a very traditional Japanese style storehouse within.

In the past timber-frame storehouses with heavily plastered walls became one way merchants tried to protect their valuable goods from being consumed by fire, which was endemic—urban conglomerations of wooden buildings were so vulnerable especially during the winter months when humidity levels are low and seasonal winds can fan the flames.

A simple country style storehouse with a mud and straw daub over what could be a bamboo wattle and a structural timber framework.  The walls need protection and the gable end of the roof is unusually deep for that reason.  The plastic lean-to is of course a modern addition.
In the countryside farmers had to make do with mud wall storehouse.  Thick plastered walls were beyond their budget.

It was in the big cities that such storehouses were common and it was there, too, that status could be emphasised by incorporating Western architectural feature.  This was also true of the interiors of such buildings.

This eclectic mix of styles was something of a compromise or a transitional phase of development of Japanese architecture.

Many examples of this eclectic style of building can be seen all over Japan but this example in Wajima is pretty much unique.  A traditional plaster-walled storehouse cocooned within a building boasting features that originated far across the sea.

Bill Tingey Photo © Copyright

Do feel free to pass on the address of this blog to anyone you think will be interested.  Or share it on a social media site.  Should you wish to leave a comment, please do so by clicking on the comment mark at the bottom left of this or any of the other posts.   If you have found this blog interesting, why not become a follower.  Thank you.

21/02/2018

Aesthetics of Tea


Respect is shown and respect is given.  Everything is in its place and all of our senses are tenderly touched in a way we will never forget.Jin Kitamura Bill Tingey Photo © Copyright
Dedication and devotion
Most people will have a complete understanding of the maxim “art for art’s sake”.  But what about “craft for craft’s sake”?  Is the meaning more or less the same?  I would say that in both cases a degree of indulgence is suggested on the part of the artist or craftsperson.

In the case of art the notion is one of a pure “art”.

A pure “craft” is, perhaps more than anything else, something extolling the skills necessary to make an object.  This may result in it becoming something to be admired rather than used, although that is not always the case.

Far less commonly heard is “art for life’s sake”.  In this case something of the purity of a work is compromised for a purpose—this could be political, decorative, or simply to enhance the experience of life in some way.

A “craft for life’s sake” is much easier to define as the function is clear and its aesthetic qualities are an added extra to enhance the enjoyment of life.  This, of course, is also true of a good piece of industrial design, itself a kind of craft. (See blog Japanese Industrial Art 22/12/2017)

As twilight deepens guests arrive at the bidding of the host.  The path is lit and anticipation is nurtured.
Jin Kitamura Bill Tingey Photo © Copyright
 In a collection of writings on aesthetics, Shuichi Kato (加藤周一1919-2008) uses these two maxims—“art for art’s sake” and “art for life’s sake”—as a way of trying to better understand the aesthetics of Tea in Japan.

He feels that neither of these maxims fully describes the artistic qualities and overall approach to be found in the culture of Tea.  Instead he attempts to describe Tea as “life for art’s sake”.

Kato maintains that when the practices of Tea were being refined in Japan before the fifteenth-century, the guiding maxim was “art for art’s sake”.  By the eighteenth-century, it was an “art for life’s sake”.  But in its heyday during the fifteenth-, sixteenth- and seventeenth-centuries it was, as he puts it, “life for art’s sake”.

This could perhaps be interpreted as being an example of a complete and utter dedication to the art and skill of tea ceremony, in which, incidentally, craftwork plays an important part.

The skill which is exercised in the making of the paraphernalia used in a tea ceremony is phenomenal.  And rightly so.  It needs to match the precision and care with which the host and guests move, behave and play a part in the whole ceremony, itself so natural and yet so programmed as to be an expression of “life for art’s sake”.

The dedication with which true lacquerware is made and decorated is staggering.  But not unique.  There is an envious commitment by the Japanese to the presentation of food, for example.  In modern life the Japanese can sometimes be totally focused on doing something “in the RIGHT way”.  I see nothing wrong in this.  Although I would have to admit that it may sometimes inhibit creative development.

The strict ritualisation of a tea ceremony can be off-putting.  However, in the hands of a skilled, sympathetic host and equally sympathetic guests, the whole experience is elevating, meditative and touches all of our senses tenderly and yet permanently.

Nevertheless, who would dare to completely pooh-pooh a maxim designed to foster perfection.  Long live “life for art’s sake”.  And “life for craft’s sake” too.

A tray or platter to match the stringent needs of a tea ceremony.  Made by Wakashima Senior.
Reference
Collection of Essays on Art—The Aesthetics of Tea—Two Hypothesis
Shuichi Kato (加藤周一1919-2008) 
Published by Iwanami Shoten, 1967

美術論集、茶の美学二つの仮説
岩波書店 昭和四十二年九月二十七日


Bill Tingey Photo © Copyright

Do feel free to pass on the address of this blog to anyone you think will be interested.  Or share it on a social media site.  Should you wish to leave a comment, please do so by clicking on the comment mark at the bottom left of this or any of the other posts.   If you have found this blog interesting, why not become a follower.  Thank you.