Saturday, January 1, 2011

Jan/Feb 2011 ::: Contemporary Fiber & Baskets ::: Traditional Japanese Packaging ::: & Natural Architecture ::: Juxtaposed :::

photo by Michikazu Sakai
I would like to juxtaposed contemporary fiber & baskets artists with traditional Japanese packaging and natural architecture just to see what we have.

Back in 1967 a book about traditional Japanese packaging by Hideyuki Oka, with stunning & thoughtful photographs of Michikazu Sakai, was published in the US called  How To Wrap Five Eggs  When I first came across this book in the late 60's it just grabbed me for some reason and I just  couldn't put it down.  I must have checked this book out ten or more times from the Public Library.  Well the book is back in print and I highly recommend you check it out.  

"Traditional Japanese packaging is an art form that applies sophisticated design and natural aesthetics to simple objects. In this elegant presentation of the baskets, boxes, wrappers, and containers that were used in ordinary, day-to-day life, we are offered a stunning example of a time before mass production. Largely constructed of bamboo, rice straw, hemp twine, paper, and leaves, all of the objects shown here are made from natural materials." (221 photographs)

clemson clay nest' by nils-udo, 2005
From the book flap ... "The artists and architects in Natural Architecture  have transformed the act of building into an art form capable of sparking new relationships with nature, landscape and environment.  Far from basic or primitive, these creations are built from humble elements -- twigs, pebbles, straw -- found at the site. Fulfilling a wide variety of intentions, sometime structural, sometimes sculptural sometimes scared, the works presented here inspire a sense of awe and reverence for the force of nature." by Alessandro Rocca-architect,  architecture critic & professor at Milan Polytechnic

Constructed of bamboo, rice straw, hemp twine, paper, and leaves in the case of the traditional Japanese packaging.   To twigs, pebbles, straw from the artists and architects in Natural Architecture.  To the fiber & basket artists.  As you can see from the list of fiber & basket artists I have to the left and plus the few images with in this post, the juxtaposition of these three subjects is interesting, fun  and worth some time to think about.

John McQueen said "I think of my work as baskets.  I believe the world is made up of containers.  The Earth is a container, our bodies are containers for us, and the sentence is contained between its capital letter beginning and it's period at the end."

Lissa Hunter, Earth Mother (Sunrise Moonbeam), 22"h x 18"w  x 4.5" d, 2007

Fiber & basket Artists have come a long way from making something for carrying things, to making something that is carrying meaning and artistic expression.   Yet their works seemed rooted, informed and inspired by the very traditions of fiber & baskets makers that came before.  Their respect for the forms, materials, possibilities and the craft will be evident.  These artists will move you and in many cases make you think, I believe, when you view their work.  And for some reason fiber and baskets are nice to be around and have around. 

I hope you enjoy and are inspired by their works and you find interesting the juxtaposed traditional Japanese packaging & Natural Architecture. It would be really great if you can get you hands on both these excellent books How to Wrap Five Eggs and Natural Architecture,  then spend some time with them.


On to ... 

In keeping with the theme, baskets. This short, image-packed talk, Marisa Fick-Jordan talks about how a village of traditional Zulu wire weavers built a worldwide market for their dazzling work.


Live! At the Club ... 

Santana's "Europa-Earth's Cry, Heaven's Smile" -- A Concert for the Grand Canyon.  
(three interpretations)

© Copyright 2004 Kevin Ebi/Living Wilderness. All rights reserved.

Several years ago I had gone to the Grand Canyon with a friend.  I had for some reason got this idea in my head that I wanted to play Santana's Europa at sunset to the Canyon.  We spent three days in a cabin designed and built by Mary Colter within a few hundred feet from the canyon rim.  So I had my friend Brenda Y (now C) record in the sequence I have At the Club. She added fads between each of the songs so the transition between the songs was excellent & "smooth".   I bought some speakers for my portable tape-player (yes, IPods were not invented yet).  Sat on the edge of the Canyon with several dozen other people and cranked it up. It starts out with the original studio version from the "Amigos" album, then fads to Goto Barbieri's sensuous version from his "Caliente" album dedicated to Santana, then fads to Santana's "Sacred Fire" - live in Mexico City ...  then fads back to Gato as the Sun finally sets.

I saw Santana early in his carrier and the "treat" is just to honor his early years ... he is the man to me and many, many others.

(note: I notice this works best is you open the Notebook in a second window, so you can here the music and look at Kevin Edi 's photo.   Even better,  go to his web site and page though his new brilliant & grand  book  Running in Circles  while listening.)


 Foodie ... see food in a whole new way!

Sort of sticking with the theme, but with food.

"We'll hear the stories of chefs and home cooks alike who use only the freshest, purest natural ingredients -- from organic foods to exotic fruits -- to create delicious and the unusual recipes."


Feel free to share your thoughts ... Enjoy the journey, talk to you soon!

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