Turning Japanese

May 12, 2021 11:27am Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 16 Comments

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I’ve found that I’m fascinated by most things Japanese. There’s a simplicity and perfection to things that they do which is so alien to me that I find it captivating.  

Look how they make sushi. How beautifully perfect and precise is this bite-sized food? So far removed from shoving sausages in a pile of mash with beans. 

Amelioration

The girl who does folding up for a living, Marie Kondo, whom I have spoken of before with her magic art of tidying up is another shining example of this determinate conduct. You wouldn’t for one second think that folding stuff up would make you a fortune but even I got hooked into that one. It’s the delicate, precise manner that she organises and appreciates her belongings from start to finish. Her immaculate appearance, her measured delivery, how she can fold a t-shirt into a perfect little bundle of loveliness leaves me astonished. 

Just. So. Orderly.

Vacuole

And refined.  

Speculation

Even Japanese wrapping. This is so pretty you wouldn’t dare to open your gift, and let us not overlook the art of Origami where a tiny piece of paper can turn into a flock of birds travelling through a sunset over the ocean. 

We’re having a party. Bring me bunches of fresh pink sakura and some rice paper – I must make a million swans. This is how I imagine their barbecues going down with hanami and Sake.

Tea. I know about tea. But here in Blighty, there ain’t no Geisha girl delivering it and turning it into an artful event. That doesn’t work with PG Tips. 

Regnant

So, the other week I was on t’internet looking for Japanese paper because another thing I am obsessed with is beautiful papers. As usual, I got distracted and saw something called ‘Suminagashi’ which means floating ink. I was instantly hooked and spent the next few hours watching videos of Japanese masters and artists meditatively creating these visions of beauty. Obviously, I felt compelled to do it but decided to wait a few weeks and try and be a bit more Japanese minded rather than impetuous. I shall wait a while and let the idea settle, I told myself. Maybe the itch will go away and like all my other passing fancies, won’t end up in a crafting drawer full of things that are going to be my next new hobby and route to freedom. 

 After a week of torture, I realised that patience isn’t my forté.

Littoral

However, once at the art shop, I forced myself to buy cheap alternatives rather than expensive calligraphy brushes and marbling paints. I got started with a few acrylics, inks, a plastic tray, and some cheap brushes for kids. The art is in the process. 

Inception

I couldn’t wait to start. The table was cleared and I sat ready with paints and brushes being still and calm. That lasted a nano-second when one of my wolfits tried to drink the bloody water. Hounds removed, I sat again and took a deep, meaningful breath. The water must be still or the ink goes all over the place due to ripples. 

Ikebena

I tucked my chair in a little more because I couldn’t reach the tray with enough comfort and ease to commence the very methodical process. Nudged the sodding table and caused a tidal activity in the tray. 

And breathe. 

Eventually, the water settled and I got ready to commence my first masterpiece. One brush loaded with soapy water and one with ink, ready to dip alternately and created hundreds of concentric circles floating perfectly on top of the water. 

And this is what happened.

Dip

Sink

‘Kin ‘ell

Dip

Sink

Fail

Dip more gently

Sink

This is stupid

Dip

Sink

I HATE THE JAPANESE

Empyrean

I could not make this work at all. I was incensed. This so-called meditative practice had me raging and atrocious. Patience is a virtue of the bored!

I immediately went online to find out why it wasn’t working. and found that my water needed thickening.  Starch being one of the options, some woman said. Excellent. I have liquid starch in my laundry cupboard. I used it once many years ago to make canvas flowers! I set up my water tray again and calmed myself. 

Dip

 BIG FAT LIAR.

I went back online and ordered a seaweed component that thickens water for next day delivery and went to make Cheddar and Marmite dough balls instead. Marmite never lets you down. 

The next day I snatched the thickening agent from the delivery man and read the instructions. 

‘Leave for 6-8 hours before using’ 

What? I hate this hobby. 

Fervor

The day after I tried again with my new solution and watched as the paint spread beautifully across the water. Mesmerising. It took me several attempts to get it right and quite a few hissy fits but now I’m well on my way to mastering this technique as you can see through this blog post. I have pretentiously named each print for amusement.

Eolith

If Jackson Pollock created these they’d sell for millions. I’m happy to accept a cool 250K.

16 Comments

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In a word: Spectacular!

Thank you so much, Teresa! 🙂

They are stunning. Great work

It’s art philosophy, LL!
Thank you 🙂

Beautiful Creative Different

Just like you‼️👩‍🎨🌷🍄

Awww – thank you, Janet xxxx

If you’re turning full Japanese, does that mean that you are going to become subservient to males – the new Geisha Jules? Somehow I think that may be a bridge too far, but it would be interesting if true.

Pfft – can you imagine me serving tea for hours to some wrestler? A Geisha girl I will never be!

Being subservient depends on the situation, LL.

far out, mah dahlin! your gallery has me sailing on psychedelic waves of underwater meditation like that Taco Bell commercial

wait, you know Marie Kondo? Marie Kondo knows Melissa Maker! see it all goes back to the movie, it is destiny we make this film!

when a ripple enters your mind, my sweet, let it fester in your mind for like a week before you act

Sakura Drops, great song by Hikaru Utada

i was a geisha once, i thought i was going out to sample sushi but i knew something was different when they had me lie on the table naked…

does this mean we can finally watch anime together? you and me are like when Itachi says to Sasuke, “you do not have to forgive me. no matter what you do, i will love you always…”

*)

Melissa knows Marie?! It’s totally destiny.

I find it very hard to wait a week because my ripples turn into tsunamis.

That’s beautiful and very true, my sweet *)

Your pieces are subtle and lovely. As kids, we aging Yanks used to make our own version of these prints: Spin Art (google it). Very popular at the county fairs.

Thank you, Roger. The first ones were not!

Now why did you have to go and show me something else to want to try? Shame on you! 🙂

Very beautiful! Well done!

Then there’s the Japanese, who thought they could defeat Great Britain and America. I’d say that was a folding error:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1wfoMKd_M4

It’s a step up from dogging, eh LSP!

I concur!

#porchlife

Okay, so that last one, Eolith, I want Created into a Counter Top for an Art Studio… I’m sure it will go easier than Mastering this new mesmerizing Art Form. Patience isn’t a virtue of mine either, your persistence and tenacity at getting the Water just Right is impressive. I like that the Japanese appreciate Whimsy and everything Cute… the Inner Child in me Rejoices. It’s Ironic that when the Japanese Pickers come to our Antique Mall to buy Truck loads to ship Home to Japan, they crave everything American. While, any time I have anything Japanese in my Showroom, Americans are buying it up and can’t get enough of it. Sometimes I’d like to see the Homes of the Buyers of the wares and see how a Japanese ‘American’ Enthusiast replicates what they think is ‘American Style’ and see how an American ‘Japanese’ Enthusiast replicated what they think is ‘Japanese Style’. I remember my Native American Dad thinking it was hilarious how Non-Natives ‘American Indian’ Enthusiasts replicated in their Homes what they think is ‘Indian Style’… mostly because his Mom and Aunts on the Rez used to make two kinds of Swag… one for Tribal Rituals and a whole other kind to Appeal to the Tourists… they looked nothing alike. *smiles*

That would make a great countertop, to be fair.

It’s novel to have things from another country in your home. I do the same with Texan things, and of course, I walk round in my cowboy boots too. And nobody over here has got spurs! I think that’s why it’s fascinating.

Oh yes, like food – authentic for the natives and one kind for the tourists!

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