While Ashley and I were up around Mt. Fuji, we went to see Itchiku Kubota’s astounding kimono. Fueled by Japanese fast food these things I call rice balls:
I sure wish I could post pictures of the actual work, but no photos were allowed in the exhibit. I did take lots of pictures of his lovely gardens and have posted them below. There are more lovely photos of his gardens here.
Itchiku was inspired by a piece of 17th century textiles (tsujikahana) and vowed he would figure out how it was created and reproduce the technique. He did that and then some; creating an amazing body of work called the “Symphony of Light”. Read more about it here. Much of the series was inspired by the incredible sunsets he saw while he was a prisoner of war held in Siberia. He talks about how the sunsets gave him something to live for. He died before the series’ completion, but his apprentices still carry out his work today. Here’s a link to a 3 minute video of his work. It has lovely footage of the kimono and a few scenes of his museum, which is a work of art in itself.
Each kimono represents a year’s work by numerous people. I have many books of his work, including Kimono as Art which has exquisite photos of his work. even with all these books, I was surprised at how textural his kimono are. There is actually very little stitching on them. All of the work is painstakingly created through the dye process. when the kimono fabris is untied after many, many dyeings, many of the folds are left in place as texture on the piece. All of the kimono stand alone as works of art, as well as being part of a larger landscape.
I know many artists who have a “big picture” feel to their work and many who excel at detail. I have seen very few who have had to be so good at both. He is the only living artist to ever be shown at the Smithsonian. I had more than a few tears in my eye looking at this work and hearing about his life. What an amazing artist.
Anyway, here are some shots of his lovely gardens:
on another note, the train station had these creepy fairies guarding it. No explanation anywhere:
and a close up:
Off to Kyoto tomorrow!