I finally met up with Esmae for lunch yesterday, joined later by Ronette. And the sun even made an appearance, so overall it was a glorious Friday afternoon. When Esmae came over and I showed her Pillar 1, I was reminded once again that when I embarked on this project, I really didn't have any idea what I was hoping to accomplish. I try not to dwell on this as now is not the time, (the pillars need to be woven!) but I hope to have some time to think and therefore plan well before installation.
I was also surprised to hear me say I wanted to make something very tall, but "If I were nature-inspired I may have created tree-, mountain- or rock-face-inspired something, but because I love the man-made, it had to be architecture." I know this; I constantly think of architecture, but it was the first time I was able to articulate. (Although, you know, if I made banners that made you feel like you were surrounded by tall trees, I could so easily attach some kind of a political statement/concept and put it in a conceptual exhibition.)
At one point Esmae asked me what in Japan inspires me, and my immediate honest response was ceramics. And the way people dress, because many Japanese love to dress up. I had some additional thoughts this morning.
I think I try to put on my Kiwi/American eyes and look for color combinations and nuances I don’t find here, which is super easy. They are often color combos we ignore if we lived there. But because Japan is both big and old, there are ALL KINDS of color and combos. I particularly like to look for “typically” Japanese colors, i.e. kimono shops, paper shops and ceramics; even tiny kitchen shops, department stores, supermarkets and discount stores, and note my reactions. I like Japanese ceramics colors more than kimono colors. I also look for colors from other places that I can’t find easily or as much of here: Central Asia, Middle East, Scandinavia, the US. I may not use them in my weaving, but I like to look; sometimes they pop up on my loom unintended.
I love asking people which colors/shapes/things they like. I’m interested in people's perception/description, more than their preferences. I love to hear people defend what on my books are ugly. And boy, taste vary in Japan.
Still, what inspires me most are stories. Just the same as I’m listening to the National Radio at home, I visualize scenes from stories and then develop them in my head. I find that works for me best.
While in Japan, people's language use, (because they are SO indirect,) and words/concepts that don’t translate also intrigue me.
If you like things Japanese, it's a visual feast of different colors and shapes, especially if you travel and see new/old/urban/rural/noisy/quiet places. (In fact, I've come to see it's not the specific subsets but the mishmash of all kinds, and the individual ability to tune out what you don't like, that make up Japanese aesthetics nowadays.) And to that end, Osaka is probably a better base than Tokyo.
But tell me, what inspires you???