Monday, 16 April 2012

Japanese crafts in Wales

Back in Brymbo over the weekend, we went to Ruthin Craft Centre on Saturday to see the current exhibition, Japanese Style: Sustaining Design. I was mainly interested in Reiko Sudo's textiles for Nuno Corporation and the Hale Collection of Tohoku Ceramics. I'm not involved professionally, although there is a sashiko workshop weekend as part of the exhibition programme. Michelle Griffiths was teaching shibori while we were there, but her workshops were for last weekend only. I'm hoping to be working on something special with Michelle very soon...

Read about Reiko Sudo's textiles here and Nuno's fabrics here. While Nuno fabrics push the boundaries and innovate with high tech approaches, some of the techniques are achievable for smaller scale makers, such as rust dyeing ('Scrapyard'), needle felting (kasane (layers) fabric)and ribbon stitching (paper roll fabric). The textures and effects are amazing. The fabric lengths were about 4 metres long and displayed like long stoles or shawls, draped over clothes hangers suspended in the centre of the gallery. There are handling samples and brief explanations for every technique. Kibiso, woven from the hard outer part of the silk coccoon, was one of my favourites while Glyn was very interested in the metal mesh weaves.

The Hale Collection includes pieces from Hirashimizu, near Yamagata City. I have visited kilns Hirashimizu and taken part in classes there as well. The clay body is very gritty and textured, and their glazes are just gorgeous. The creamy speckled tea pot and cups in this link are all Hirashimizu. I have some wine cups with the same glaze (must go to Hirashimizu next time I'm in Japan). The wood fired kilns are built up the sides of the valley.

The next gallery features work for sale from the Kagure group and ceramics by Takahiro Kondo and Shinsuke Iwami.

Lots to see and there's a nice souvenir catalogue for the first two exhibitions, and a free textile catalogue featuring the naturally dyed fabrics from the Kagure exhibition - dyed with indigo, persimmon and benibana safflower.

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