Thursday, December 22, 2011

For Presence, For Peace and Joy

Awaken to the mystery of being here
and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.

Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.

Receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.

Respond to the call of your gift and the courage to
follow its path.

Let the flame of anger free you of all falsity.

May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.

May anxiety never linger about you.

May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul.

Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.

Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.

May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the
heart of wonder. -- John O'Donohue, For Presence

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Art from Necessity

The above collage is the beginning of my Enso series. Enso represents the Japanese circle, and my search for completeness. There are also aspects of the placement of handmade papers (like setting stones in a Japanese garden) and Boro. My interpretation of Boro in my work involves hand-painted rice papers placed in a quilt-like fashion using my sense of balance, contrast and unity.

Recently, the Japanese Gardens in Portland Oregon hosted a show of Boro. They called the show MOTTAINAI which means 'waste nothing' in Japan. Many years ago, the very poorest people in Japan saved every scrap of cloth, thread, paper and patched or quilted 2nd hand cotton garments from city dwellers who traded for rice or vegetables. Two of the biggest collectors of Boro in the world sent samples of their Boro collection to the Portland exhibit.

One of the biggest collectors of Boro in the world has a gallery and showroom/shop in Kyoto on Teramachi Street. Her name is Kei Kawasaki and you can find her website here.

These very poor Japanese people in pre-industrial Japan would patch together bits of cloth out of necessity. Every small patch was like treasure to them.

the hands know,
the materials too,
quite apart from your imaginings,
less is more than your intentions -
following the pattern that emerges,
the story as it tells.
--- Jane Whitely

The other collector of Boro is Stephen Szczepanek, who also participated in the Portland exhibit.
This is his showroom in Brooklyn, NY. You can find his blog here. His website is called Sri and he is very well known in the Boro and Japanese Textile world.

In his showroom above, a workcoat called boro noragi, is patched with pieces of cloth as small as a postage stamp.

Here you can see an example of the intricate stitching used in Boro patching.

The Japanese people created these quilted clothing out of necessity. Of course they did not know that someday their old, patched and quilted items would become treasured and exhibited in galleries, showrooms and museum exhibits.

Above is some indigo dye... I read that the Japanese used indigo... especially firemen and their work jackets... because indigo fabric will not burn.

And finally, Sibella Court has a new book: NOMAD, A global approach to interior style. I have received my copy and it is wonderful with a beautiful chapter on Japan. The book is available at and

There is nothing like returning
to a place that remains unchanged
to find ways in which
you yourself have altered.
--- Nelson Mandela