This past spring I lived in the isolated mountain town of Shinshiro, Japan as the final apprentice to Hiroko Harada, a world-renowned shibori artist and all natural indigo-dyer. I tended to the indigo dye vats and practiced shibori techniques day in and day out. Everything I did was rooted within tradition—done exactly like it was practiced hundreds of years ago. But one day Harada-Sensei said something peculiar:
Tradition. Tradition is the passing along of knowledge and skills to the next generation, but the fact is that tradition will die if it remains stagnant. For it must continuously be modified to be relevant in the present.
These words have stuck with me as I develop the NellieRose Collection of silk clothing and accessories. While using traditional shibori techniques, I team up with my mother, Laurie Gundersen, to explore color, texture, and work that flows from the hands.
Please join us at The Barn Swallow! The show opens this Saturday, November 2nd with a reception from 4 to 6 pm and will remain there until November 23rd.
Hello creative folks and thinkers a like and strikingly different! Join me at the CreateWV conference in Richwood, WV October 24th-27th. Creative minds will be taking over the town, artists like me will be setting up shop in old storefronts, and discussions will be held concentrating on pertinent issues such as diversity, entrepreneurship, quality of place, technology, and education. To be a part of the conference, register (and get earlybird discounts today!) at createwv.org or just come wander through the storefronts to see all of the wonderful locally made art and craft!
" 'So what do you have to do? Dance... Just don't let your feet stop' said the Sheep Man"--Haruki Murakami (Dance Dance Dance)
For those of you familiar with Murakami's novel 'Dance Dance Dance', Harada-Sensei is like my Sheep Man. But not in a creepy, damp and dark sort-of-way.These past two and a half months together was an absolute gift of a lifetime. It is good-bye for now, but I know that this is just the beginning. I will keep dancing as long as the music plays.
With Hiroko Harada-Sensei; Studio Aikoen, Shinshiro, Aichi Prefecture, Japan; May 2013.
Top: hand-puckered shibori silk habotai; Bottom: silk organza. All natural indigo.
Thank you, Hiroko Harada-sensei for without you my world would be grey, lacking in this rainbow of indigo. And thank you, Machiko Sakai, for it was you who allowed this rainbow to dance.
Studio Aikoen x Machiko Japan Design Studio, Aichi Prefecture, Japan; March-May 2013.
Here comes the time when I must say goodbye. I made a trip over to Arimatsu to give my heartfelt thanks to Kozo Takeda Sensei and his family who have been nothing but so incredibly kind and openhearted--always opening up their home to me and always ready to answer any and all of my questions.
With Kozo Takeda-Sensei. Outside of Takeda-shoten, Tokai-do Road, Arimatsu, Aichi Prefecture, Japan; May 2013.
Believe it or not the aliens have not landed. But if they have, they sure left something beautiful and mysterious in their wake. It can't be explained, you just have to take a peak for yourself inside. You won't want to come out for hours.
Teshima Art Museum, Teshima Island, Japan Inland Sea, Kagawa Prefecture, Japan. April 3013.
Last spring I had the pleasure of wandering my way the through the 2500 lanterns that decorate the walking path that leads to the foothills of Higashiyama, the eastern mountain of Kyoto, during the annual Kyoto Higashiyama Hanatouro night illumination. Starting in the north, the path leads you through Shoren-in Temple and Maruyama Park, and then through Yasaka Jinja Shrine to Kiyomizu-dera Temple in the south. Maruyama Park feels like it is somewhere straight out of a storybook with the artwork of students from six art universities and colleges in Kyoto on display. I couldn't help but fall in love with this playful paper lantern. If only I could take it home with me.
Kyoto Higashiyama Hanatouro, March 2012; Maruyama Park, Kyoto, Japan.
Studio Aikoen, Shinshiro, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. April 2013.
Flying carp (koi no bori) in celebration of Boy's Day, May 5th.
Teshima, Japan Inland Sea, Kagawa Prefecture, Japan; April 2013.
Tomorrow I finally get to meet up with Rieko, my Japanese oneesan (aka big sis). The stars alined last June when we were in the Kozo Takeda Kimono Show at the Furukawa Art Museum and we knew it had to be fate. We will be baking cakes and stuffing our faces until our bellies beg us to stop. All in early celebration of my 24th birthday.
Photo: Kozo Takeda's Arimatsu Indigo Shibori Kimono Show, June 2012; Furukawa Art Museum, Aichi Prefecture, Japan.
And yes, yes I did rock a double bouffant.
The construction of the dress is really coming along, thanks to Machiko Sakai-san! For the past couple of weeks I have been commuting to her studio in Higashi-Okazaki, where she is teaching me the ins & outs of clothing design and construction. Today was full of progress balanced with great fun with her family and friends over delicious meals. Once again, thank you, Machiko and Yasuyuki!
Machiko Japan Design Studio, Higashi-Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture, Japan; May 2013.
Yep, only two weeks left in Japan. Here's to a little wishing for everything to wrap up smoothly.
Photo: Philosopher's Path, Kyoto, Japan; May 2012.
Yippie ya yayyyy! I love May!
Miyajima Shrine, Hiroshima, Japan; CLS Travels, Summer 2011.
The skirt is coming along!
Studio Aikoen, Shinshiro, Aichi Prefecture, Japan; April 2013.
Naoshima, Japan Inland Sea, Kagawa Prefecture, Japan; Setouchi Triennial, April 2013.
Teshima, Japan Inland Sea, Kagawa Prefecture, Japan. Setouchi Triennial, April 2013.
If you haven't experienced Turkish Icecream, I urge you to get on that. I always go see these guys whenever I find myself in Namba/Shinsaibashi with a sweet tooth and needing a laugh. They have the best facial expressions and their tricks never get old. And look at how stretchy that ice cream is! It is like getting the best parts of Disney Land for only 350 Yen. Yummmmmmmmmm.
Turkish Icecream Stand, Dotonbori, Osaka, Japan. April 2013.
On our way to the Teshima Art Museum. Teshima Island, Japan Inland Sea, Kagawa Prefecture, Japan; Setouchi Triennial, April 2013.