Friday, 2 September 2011

"Inhabitants of a Spiritual Forest" Kazuma Nagai

Kazuma Nagai's
"Inhabitants of a Spiritual Forest"

September 3rd (Sat) ~ November 30th 2011 
(Please note: Saturday 3rd closed due to Typhoon #12)
Kurokabe Museum of Art, Nagahama, Shiga-ken
滋賀県長浜市 元浜町12−38

Kazuma Nagai, originally from Kanagawa-ken,  studied graphic design and then at the age of 21 decided to learn metal work through self-study. In 1983 he set up an Atelier in Nagano-ken and started to make antique-style jewelry in silver.

His designs range from human-like fairies to plants in nature and a lot more in between. He especially concentrates on creatures that cause a strong human reaction like centipedes and slugs, creatures that are "scary but that you are kinda curious to look at".

Along with his dedication to the design of his creations, as someone who believes in the magical and talisman qualities of the accessories we wear he chooses to use spiritual and anthropomorphic motifs in order to make a living creation.

Message from the artist: 
“Since ancient times, humans have worn jewelry. Precious gems and metals were known to cleanse the soul, beckon good fortune, and ward off evil spirits. However, as time has progressed so too have the jewelry and the revolution of mass-production in recent years has atrophied that universality and sense of value we once had. I want to return to the origin and make items with spiritual properties and in doing so the work requires a no-compromise approach to the design and craftsmanship. As many civilisations have done before, this time will end, and I wonder if one day the traces of my handiworks with move the hearts of people. ”

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Atelier Koichi at Takashimaya, Kyoto

Atelier Koichi (Teiichi Kawai) Copper work

September 7th (Wed) ~ September 13th (Tues) 2011

Selected craft gallery, 6F Takashimaya, Kyoto
〒600-8520 京都府京都市下京区 四条通河原町西入真町52 6F

Teichi Kawai is an established coppersmith based in Maisaka, Shizuoka. His collection includes a variety of interior goods, as well as comical animal figures and objets and accessories. 

This is a piece that was kindly bestowed to me - a delicately made sandal (copper) and foot (brass) pendant.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Art Picnic Vol. 3 @ Club King - Dictionary Art School report

Art Picnic vol. 3
Saturday 18th December, 2010
Between Shibuya and Harajuku there is a place called the Club King: Dictionary Art School. I'm not exactly sure what goes on there yet but it's a place where people create and enjoy all forms of art. I went and poked a nose at Art picnic Vol. 3 .

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I was drawn to to this event because Miquraffreshia was exhibiting her dark, colourful, weird, cute creations, as well as hosting a "decorate you own octopus tentacle" workshop. It has been brought to my attention that there is rarely a Japanese person who doesn't like Octopi! They're so hot right now. I have to admit they are fascinating creatures so I chose my tentacle and started eagerly decorating with beads, whereupon I found a lonely eye in the midst of the beads and tied it onto my tentacle. It doesn't really resemble a tentacle anymore but I like it anyway! Thanks!

Outside, amongst other people, I met Mr. Uda, creator and player of the Udar. An electronic musical instrument that looks a lot like a concertina but is played by pressing the notes the strength that you want the sound and rotating each side to change notes. Mr. Uda happily played us many a tune from films, video games and even station melodies. I want to see more live Udar performances! Play on Maestro Uda!

Probably the coolest thing was the projections onto the outside building, they changed every few seconds. Reiko and I saw a window in the centre of the building, which was just begging for somebody to do something with. So we did. Hindered by bad coordination, a wall, not being able to hear the music, people walking by we tried a

Nevertheless, fun was had.

Shan Shan Exhibition Jan 29-Feb 12th 2011

Shan Shan AKA tinytoadstool is a woman of many talents. She lives in Kyoto and runs 3 different etsy shops; vintage clothing, felt/craft art, photography and an independent clothing shop.
Probably what catches peoples' most attention are her hand felted hand embroidered beret hats and she is holding her first one woman exhibition in Kawaramachi, Kyoto.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Make: Ogaki Meeting 01 report

Make: Ogaki Meeting 01

September 25th-26th 2010


Tokyo has held MAKE meetings for a number of years now but this was the first MAKE meeting to be held elsewhere in the country and ran for 2 days in Ogaki (大垣), Gifu prefecture. Being located between Osaka and Nagoya it is a perfect position for creators in the Kansai and Tokai region to show off and sell their DIY creations. There were quite a number of groups and individuals from Nagoya but some people had come from further afield and there were a few I recognised from the Tokyo MAKE meetings. As to be expected it was smaller in scale than the Tokyo events but nonetheless very exciting to attend. I hope the Ogaki MAKE meeting will grow even bigger in the future.



Techno shugeibu

I had booked an "LED fox glove" workshop with the Tokyo based Techno Shugeibu. They are a totally inspiring craft group who combine technology, usually involving LEDs and conductive thread and have just published their first book which contains detailed instructions on how to replicate their creations! I think the workshop lasted about 2 hours (I was lost in concentration for the most part) and participants of both genders and varying ages chose a glove and 2 LEDs to make a fox glove puppet thats eyes light up when thumb and index finger touch each other. It is a simple electronic circuit that is made possible with a conductive thread that can be sewn into the glove. The battery is sewn into the cuff of the glove. I had a minor mishap with crossed wires but it taught me not to sew the circuit lines too close to each other! My first electronics in about 15 years and I wanna try more! Techno shugei FTW!

PWMASWY- People who make awesome sh...stuff with yarn

Next stop, a group of awesome knitters, crocheters and weavers. Nice to see some fibre artists in a predominantly electronic based event. No techno this time, but we're not talking doilies and toilet paper covers, these women regurgitate ideas from their brain through their hands into amazing unique fibre creations. From beards, to eyeballs, to octopus tentacles, if you can think it, they make it.

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Beautiful wearable beards made by Octopusmountain AKA Tokkyu2222 who came all the way out from her home on Sado Island (that's north of Niigata in the Japan sea...that's far btw) to display these beauties. As an avid beard fan I immediately fell in love with them and she was gracious enough to whip me up a small moustache in 5 minutes. Any resemblance to a German dictator is pure coincidence.

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Handspun yarn and weird creations. Miqurafresshia's obsession shows through in her multiple knitted Octopi and tentacles but she has a wide range of surreal, twisted and dark creations using yarn, beads and resin. Be sure to pick up one of her "Knit or Die!!" bags, all the cool kids have one. And you wanna be one of the cool kids, right?

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Aaah 203gow. Possibly the most prolific crocheter of all. Seaslugs, mushrooms, dismembered sexy legs, tree stumps, bird nests, aliens...the list goes on. God knows how she does it. These photos do not even represent 1% of what she does, you'll just have to see it in person, or check out her blog. She's starting an amirevolution! Get with it people.


Ayumi Kinoshita - awesome amigurimi, awesome embroidery, need I say more.


Persika from Ichinomiya, Nagoya, home of a thousand yarn shops. She's not a hobby weaver, she's the real deal! Trained in weaving arts, she weaves as a profession and was quietly card weaving a strap in a corner. As card weaving is relatively unknown in Japan and there is little information written in Japanese she has a small collection of foreign language card weaving books with patterns in.

I wanna be sushi! by Yoshie Noguchi


"HAHAHAHA what the funk is this!" was my first reaction to these colourful felt characters, but there's more to them than just superficial cuteness. Poor Mr Rice just wants to become sushi, so gowaaaan pop some fish/crab/squid/etc. on his head! As you do so, a short episode of that character will be displayed on the monitor. Ingenious.

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Anyway, so much more that I didn't capture, my favourite being the barbie doll that screams when you touch her and I just love my plastic coated shrimp ring. Just go there next time, I'll tell you when.