Japanese Influence

11.05.2011 § Leave a comment

Maple, pond, stone lantern and koi, a serene Japanese scene
in a Chicago household’s yard by a noisy state road.  Looking through the kitchen window, centuries fall away and my mind darts to its image storage house where the opulent Japanese natural surroundings were: dazzling kimonos sail through the endless sakura blossom fields; the girls’ short syllable Japanese words mix with tender laughter; next to a plain straw-roofed tea house is a maple leaf covered pond with a stone bridge; a samurai in a dark blue skirt with swords tucked in his waist strolls solemnly in the garden, the beautiful tassel-braided sward handles flanking his left side.

Maple Leaves and Koi Photo

My mind always rest upon these scenes whenever a slight distraction causes the imagination butterfly to wing.  The revisiting of these images has been practiced for many years.  Quite some time ago, when I was calling on an interior design firm in San Francisco, a designer of Japanese descent scorned a traditional Japanese pattern that I showed in the presentation.  His comments struck me and made me think.  I still say that the Japanese were great artists and craftsmen, although compared to that designer, my distance from and foreignness with Japan must have contributed more to my appreciation of its art.

I remembered that designer’s comments and slowly restrained myself from reproducing old textiles, although once in a while I violate this decision and reproduce some ancient ideas.  I like the line by Han Solo in Star Wars: “Where did you dig up that old fossil?” Although I dress modernly and like new things, I often feel I am a fossil.  I love old things, and I am sometimes sad that so many fine crafts are gone forever, not because there is no talent that can learn them, but because there is no longer a call for the art to continue.

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