16 June 2017

Two meetings with a Japanese flavour

Our last two meetings, in May and June, turned out to have some slight connection.  In May we were entertained by Katie Chaplin's interesting and informative talk on Mottainai.  This word expresses the concept of regret at waste and showed how clothing and other household textiles have been repaired and patched over the years until the original garment has practically become something completely different.  Her talk was illustrated by superb photographs of patched and darned kimonos, work trousers and quilts - turning them into objects of almost abstract art, with blocks of colour and pattern and beautiful darning stitch patterns.  She finished her talk with a demonstration of Furoshiki - the art of wrapping items in silk squares.  The same lovely square of silk was employed to wrap a gift, wrap some school books, carry home the shopping and, my favourite, carry two bottles of wine.  A most entertaining afternoon.

Then in June Harriet Lawton came along to talk to us about the Cataloguing Padiham project she became involved with at Gawthorpe last year.  She detailed her work from college to the present day with a series of interesting slides.  I said these two talks were loosely connected - well, her degree work was inspired by Kintsugi which is the ancient Japanese technique for repairing broken pottery using seams of gold powder mixed with resin or lacquer.  Their view is that a break is part of the object's history and its beauty is enhanced rather than diminished by its imperfection.  Harriet achieved this effect in stitch by encapsulating the broken object in fine fabric with gold stitching along the breaks.




From these beginnings she went on to explore water-jet collage where patterns and motifs are cut from the ceramic piece, and also using silk screen printing to make a whole new ceramic facsimile.  In this way she has made "memento" pieces to celebrate special events.

A memento piece - it looks so "real" it startles you to pick it up and feel it is feather-light!
Since graduating Harriet has been involved with a number of large scale exhibitions and displays.

The Cataloguing Padiham project Harriet undertook in conjunction with Gawthorpe Hall collected memories and impressions of Padiham from members of the public, which were written on labels and displayed at the Hall in 2016 ..........................


........... and this in turn has led to a collaboration with the Council in a plan to enhance the public environment in Padiham's streets.

Harriet, top right, talking to our members about her work
Thanks to Val and Sue for the photographs.  J

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