Washi and Whetstones

Best place to find a whetstone aka Tokyo Art Adventures w/Mia O – Mokuhanga Artist!

Six of us, all members of Art Byte Critique, set out from our respective homes around the Tokyo Metro area and converged upon the 360+ year old, Ozu Washi paper store in the Nihonbashi area.

We each had our reasons for making this errand; Michelle wanted washi sheets for her contemporary nihonga painting idea. Lori was on a quest to find just the right texture, color, and pattern for her handmade bee-themed mamebon, bean-sized books. Patty, Louise, & Mia were each looking for paper for their printmaking projects and I was there out of curiosity.

Ozu Washi fits the widest range of washi paper enthusiasts. They inform the tourists, yet showcase their centuries of consistently top quality paper in various forms throughout the other floors with a large room set up as a museum. Lovely displays of amazing art pieces utilizing washi, cones of paper yarns, videos, and classes all in one place!

We each walked out with beautiful sheets of washi that handled each of our widely varying needs. My purchase was a package of five tissue paper thin, buttery soft, all white sheets to create a backdrop for photographing my artwork.

After a delicious lunch of Soba noodles at Takashimaya we made our way to Morihei Knife & Whetstone Shop in the Asakusa-bashi area.

Oguro Sensei brought out his iPad to show us additional information regarding his business; comfortable using modern technology. Some of his offerings are listed on his website, yet many, many more are available in his shop.

Morihei has been around since 1933 and is dedicated to the absolute highest quality whetstones for mokuhanga carving chisels, chyoukin metal etching tools, nigiri sheers, sushi knives, and swords. The variety in each stone was astounding, the color, the grit, the size, all had a unique purpose. Oguro Sensei said many sushi chefs come to Japan to purchase the excellent knives but then need to return to buy a whetstone from him to keep those knives sharp.

Mia & Patty receiving advice and discussing their multitude of choices!

TIP for choosing a good whetstone:

Place a drop of water on the stone; a slowly sinking drop is better and the water stays around to provide lubricant for the item one is sharpening.

If the water drop sinks too quickly, it is a poor quality stone.

Both Patty and Mia needed to purchase a stone for their mokuhanga tools that day and this is what our group, Art Byte Critique, is about, supporting each other so we can each successfully move forward with our own work.

This large whetstone is used to sharpen one’s sword!

Mia O is a Selected Artist at the International Mokuhanga Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii. Currently her work can be seen at the UH Manoa Art Building Main Gallery. Mia was among a handful of printmakers to be selected for acquisition awards by the Hawaii State Foundation for Culture and the Arts, Arts in Public Places!!

Mia will be showing additional work available for purchase in the Chinatown Artists Lofts First Friday Open Studios event room 203 – Ark of the Unicorns Gallery Space

Morihei – Knife & Whetstone Shop

111-0053 JAPAN

Taito-Ku, Tokyo

1-28-6 Asakusa-bashi

Approx 2 min walk from either the JR Asakusa-bashi Stn or the Asakusa-bashi Subway Stn

Art Byte Critique: ‘Game Changing Art Collective…’

Since 2012 I have been a member of Art Byte Critique here in Tokyo, Japan and it has been a game changer for me. We are an international group representing Japan and several countries around the world.

We greatly appreciate our inclusion in the write up by INDIE Magazine, July 21, 2017 by Hannah Cassens Marshall:

“Art Byte Critique (Tokyo)
Art Byte Critique was created in 2012 by Arthur Huang in response to a desire for a community of artists interested in sharing ideas and providing feedback for work; its purpose was to find a productive outlet for resources that could grow studio practice. The collective has become a touchstone or home base for the participating artists. The term “Art Byte” is a play on the Japanese (German-derived) word for part-time work, アルバイト (arubaito), as most of the participating artists also have other occupations. Driven by concerns about the sustainability of an artistic practice in the current globalized contemporary art environment, Art Byte Critique focuses less on the big picture of the contemporary art world and more on the development of a smaller, more actionable community of artists with a range of practices and perspectives. Monthly studio work discussion meetings run alongside regular communications via social media and blogs, as well as updates on creative events in the Tokyo area. There is no formal membership in Art Byte Critique, rather a conscious decision to create a fluid environment where all artists are informed of all activities and are invited to participate as and when they wish.”

Super proud to be a part of Art Byte Critique since its inception. Thank You, Arthur and fellow members members!

While we await anxiously to hear about a group proposal, here’s just a taste of what we have in the works coming up:

July 31 – Artist Talks w/Nick West & Patty Hudak – Good Heavens Brit Bar in Shimokitazawa, Tokyo starting at 7:30PM

Sept 9 – Oct 9 Nakanojo Biennial: Both Arthur J Huang and Yuka Otani each have been chosen to participate.

Sept 28 – Oct 1 Mia Oo will have work and be attending the Mokuhanga International Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii

Oct 5 – 8: Art Byte Critique just rec’d the great news yesterday that we have been included in the upcoming Tokyo Art Book Fair for the 4th year in a row! 6 of us are participating this year, coordinated this year by Lori Ono. Also participating are; Yuko Kamei, Louise Rouse, Arthur J Huang, Patty Hudak, & Nick West

Oct 6 – First Friday in Honolulu, Hawaii – Deanna Gabiga  will have a show of new works at Chinatown Lofts

Expect to see work by Michelle Zacharias to pop-up in Kyoto near the end of October/early November.

Ruri Clarkson – She is keeping us in suspense with a new (still secret!!) project :) In the meantime she has posted work at www.chromatope.com

To keep up with events be sure to follow Art Byte Critique on Facebook

We look forward to seeing you at our events, Thank You!

 

 

Travel Journal Art Books

Made several Travel Journal Art Books this past week. It’s a journey in itself where art takes an artist. I never thought to create a handmade book but once I started how could I not? Such an easy extension from my love of reading I wonder why I haven’t put together handmade books earlier.

IMG_0017 Recycling Worldwide Maps and tough upholstery fabric create a lightweight journal that is easy to toss into your backpack for your next adventure or for kids off to Summer Camp.

 

IMG_0025_2    Each page is about 5″ x 7″ with one side blank and the printed map on the reverse.

IMG_0027_2   Pages have been chosen at random in random order to offer a variety of spaces for a variety of travel needs. Each of the pages offer longitude and latitude for searching where in the world some of the pages are.

Three different coordinating button and wax coated thread binding are available in my store on Etsy:

Blue: 

https://www.etsy.com/listing/190835255/travel-sketchbook-journal-from-recycled?ref=listing-2

Black: 

https://www.etsy.com/listing/190836267/travel-scrapbook-and-journal-from?ref=listing-shop-header-0

Brown: 

https://www.etsy.com/listing/190827234/worldwide-map-travel-journal-hand-bound?ref=listing-shop-header-1

Patterie by Rie Suzuki

I finally got to meet Rie Suzuki earlier this month at Spiral’s Independent Creators Festival. Her gorgeous embroidery work has impressed me from the first time I saw it.

Using sheer fabrics in multiple layers, satins, ribbons, beads and smoothly wrapping the hoops all leads to a lovely floating world for her feminine characters to swim, float and dance. Anything that brings stitch work into the 3D world such as Rie’s Stitch Drawings really inspire me.

IMG_0001 Detail from Swim/Float.

IMG_0003 Her meticulous attention to detail has led her to dye the fabric she used for this piece to ensure the best color for her work.

IMG_0004 Visit Rie’s Blog, or her website to see more of her inspiring work, including her unique stitch jewelry pieces. Don’t be shy, go say, ‘Hi!’ She is a lovely person who does speak English!

 

 

Sanki Art Exhibition: Big and Bold

Currently showing at the Tokyo National Art Museum is the 66th Sanki Art Exhibition of painters, sculptors, photographers, metal smiths, ceramic and fiber artists.  Big and Bold was my first impression yesterday as I stepped into the gallery of huge, brightly colored paintings.

As I moved through the exhibition, even the large variety of mediums still were consistently worked in large sizes and bold colors and sometimes in bold subjects. Enjoy a few of  my favorites from the exhibition:

IMG_0018I normally prefer 3D pieces, usually in metals or fibers or any combination thereof, however every once in a while a piece really makes a big impression on me. I loved this piece. Only the feet and edges of a person can be seen walking and it’s like the rest of the painting shows the infinite inside each of us. Our infinite strength, infinite potential, infinite love, infinite spirit…

IMG_0031This artist created individual leaves from fabric and added color and embroidery work to create the dimension we would see and feel in a real tree.

IMG_0029 IMG_0028 The amount of detailed stitches in this piece must have taken a very, very long time. The piece is over a 150cm high and the tweedy plaid pattern details are not material attached but it is the meticulous hand stitching created by the artist. That takes infinite patience.

IMG_0026 This printed textile of adorable hippos is another big and bold pieces beautifully done.

IMG_0021 IMG_0020 This gorgeous floral sculpture is created completely from the same material used to create the good luck knots on traditional Japanese envelopes given at weddings. A beautiful creative use of this material!

IMG_0024 This lonely pufferfish was one of the few whimsical pieces in the exhibition, making it a standout piece for me. The exhibition is open through Mon, May 26, 2014. I highly recommend it!

Uniquely Dyed Textile Art by Fujisaki Hitoko

Now showing through Sunday, April 13, 2014, Fujisaki Hitoko’s uniquely dyed textile art works are at the AC Gallery in Ginza, Tokyo. I found Fujisaki-san to be very personable, amazingly talented, and her show to be worth the trip to Ginza.

IMG_0390 These beautiful earth tones from the palest of sakura pinks to the rich terra-cotta reds are all obtained naturally using dirt. Yes, really, she uses dirt to delicately dye textiles of all kinds.

A fun fiber she weaves in one of her looms is coffee filters. IMG_0388They take the colors beautifully as you can see in this traditional geta, titled Spring. Her amazing dyed textiles are constructed into bags, jewelry and more.

Stop by AC Gallery in Ginza to see her work soon! Show ends Sunday.

 

Stitch Swap Score!

De-Clutter. Stash Down. De-Stash. Organizing. Which ever you do to remove the old, unwanted items from your studio, you know it feels great when you’ve unloaded those extras.

Our local stitch groups held a really, really free Stitch Swap to help each other with a bit of spring cleaning. Some members are moving back to their home country so we all had a good selection and a great opportunity to try out new yarns and supplies.

I was able to unload several books and a big, bunch of extra crochet hooks I had laying around. We all tell ourselves that we won’t pick anything up but seriously, I know better. I always have a running list of items I’d like to purchase on my next trip to my local craft store so if the item was already on my list, then it was ok to pick up. Plus, I only brought a small backpack to ensure I didn’t have room for much more than I brought :)

So how did I do? Weight-wise I came out ahead, I took heavier items and returned with much smaller lighter-weight items.

Just last week I was wondering how weird I would look to pick up one of each color of embroidery floss from the huge bank of DMC & Lucien drawers of floss colors. I’ve saved myself the embarrassment by picking up a big messy, ball of floss.

IMG_0317After an hour of organizing I am now the proud owner a huge rainbow of floss colors!

 

IMG_0320A piece of leather and buttons in just the right colors to enhance my art book ideas.

Sparkly Star felt and plain felt for a SuperStar Sewer project.IMG_0326

IMG_0327Purple. I just can’t resist Purple.

Embroidery Floss neatly organized for storage or my next project: IMG_0321