Monday, 26 March 2012

tired but inspired

Takako and I smiling for the camera
I've just emerged from the chaos that is getting back into work mode after a week away. I've been to the Creativa show in Dortmund, for a week of selling my work, meeting the amazing beaders of Germany, and teaching too. I have lots of stories, some repeatable, many not (you know who you are). Some lovely boast moments, who knew I'd be exhibiting my work next to the legend that is Huib Petersen.
But for today I'll show and share something jaw droppingly amazing.
The major exhibition was loom woven beadwork by the Japanese artist Takako Sako. I had seen and written about her amazing kabuki Theatre Kimono when it was exhibited in London, but great works become like friends so it is always a pleasure to see again now at the end of a world tour, the Kimono will now remain in Japan at the Kabuki Theatre Museum in Tokyo.
Glorious Kimono
Woven in cylinder beads, over 1.2 million of them, in loomed panels this is an astonishing piece on many levels.
For me the colours and patterns are deliciously traditional with a refreshing twist and enough delightful mixes to keep  you wanting to go back and take another look. It's fascinating to see how woven glass picks up and extends some elements of conventional woven and embroidered silks, but has reflective properties unique to loom weaving with glass as well.
Then there is the slow realisation of the sheer technical mastery required to make such a weight of glass remain fluid and sag free, and the enormity of the task in terms of hours at the loom required to weave even one of the many panels required.
Technical perfection, patterned beaded spheres.
With this show stopping creation were a row of simple belts, another of lanterns of beaded spheres and woven ribbons. Those beaded spheres caught my technical eye, more were scattered on the floor with yes, a confetti of individually beaded flower petals. The spheres measure about 15cm diameter and are perfectly spherical, completely covered with pattern and so cunningly constructed that at first, you simply cannot imagine how, beading at it's very best!
I am deeply honoured that Takako Sako, herself author of 13 books, visited my display of Albion Stitch flowers and insects and travelled home with a copy of my book, telling me that she was delighted in turn to have found, 'Something different I have not seen before'.

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