works on paper

Great.ly…Connecting the Dots for Makers & Tastemakers

great.ly front page

So in addition to a brand new blog design, this week holds some other big news about an exciting new project I am involved in. Today is launch day for Great.ly, a brand new e-commerce site designed to put tastemakers together with makers and create a platform for them to market and sell work. As my long time readers know, one of my missions has always been to showcase and support artists and artisans and their creations so I am so excited to be one of the initial 50 tastemakers on the new Great.ly site. I have been busy curating my online boutiques which you can get to by clicking this link or using the Great.ly button on the side bar. You’ll find work from familiar faces as well as new ones.

No surprise at all to see George of papergluebamboo there. As I hinted in my last post, she has been busy creating new colorways and patterns for her modern ikkanbari and Japanese shopping baskets to sell on Great.ly. From bright yellow lucky gourds…

ikkanbari papergluebamboo yellow gourd tray

…to absolutely on trend African motifs

African pods papergluebamboo ikkanbari

…to ume (plum blossom) and ichimatsu (checks) in bright new colors on Tsukiji market shopping baskets, her unique line of homewares and carryalls is spectacular. To read more about her modern take on this ancient craft, take a look here and here. Remember, every piece is one of a kind, so shop the boutique here early!

papergluebamboo ume shopping baskets

Another long time Tokyo Jinja favorite is the gorgeous handmade textiles of LuRu Home based out of Shanghai, China. Liza and Claire are working with modern versions of nankeen, a dense hand-woven cotton fabric which has been stencilled and dyed in an indigo bath. With their beautiful products, all made from the custom hand dyed fabric in updated versions of traditional Chinese patterns, they are taking up the banner of preservation of this ancient form of craft, while innovating at the same time.

LuRU Home indigo pillows
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Their blue and white textiles bring a sense of cool to my very hot – both literally and colorfully – backyard here in Doha. They also play very well with pillows in other colors and textures. Be sure to click here to read their full story and see the pillows in action and here to shop the boutique.

Luru Home pillows

One of the most exciting aspects of Great.ly for me is getting to know new makers with interests and aesthetics that align with my own. Link Collective produces contemporary furoshiki (Japanese wrapping cloths) through a network of artists and designers from around the world. They “aim to cross cultures and generations by creating beautiful and functional products, merging international design with traditional Japanese production methods.” Their modern furoshiki with whimsical names such as Mountain Blossom or The Hida Express can be used for their traditional wrapping purpose, be worn as a scarf…

FUROSHIKI

…or be converted to a cross body bag with their ingenious strap. Seems like a ‘must have’ item for a good textile junkie, creating the possibility of a purse from any piece of cloth.

DOTS FUROSHIKI BAG (BLACK) & BLACK LEATHER CARRY STRAP SET link

Their furoshiki are all made in Fujisawa, Japan, hand-printed and sewn by a family owned business with over 50 years experience in furoshiki production. Although Japan’s craftsmen often spend a lifetime perfecting their artistry, much of that skill and knowledge is being lost as today’s mass production, cost cutting and on-demand culture drives ever more business decisions. Invaluable knowhow is disappearing as tools are put down, and the last small factories and workshops die out. Like LuRu Home in China, they are playing a part in keeping these crafts alive by showing what can be achieved when creativity and craftsmanship come together.

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For toting your heavier items, I am loving the work of the Tacoma, Washington-based duo Jacqui and Scott of Year Round Co. They hand make every bag themselves, from cutting each piece of fabric, to designing and screen printing it, then sewing and applying all the leather and hardware in their home studio. For a glimpse into their workshop this great video really demonstrates the artisanal quality of their products. Their collection is inspired by stormy seas, mossy rocks, and earthy travels.

Year Round Co

And as you all know from my past ten years of deep involvement with hanga, modern Japanese prints, I have long been a champion of works on paperWorks on paper, about paper, using paper, are some of the most affordable and charming artwork to be had. I am just beginning to explore some of the talent on Great.ly, so be sure to keep watch on this boutique as I add items in the coming weeks.

art collage

In clockwise order: Gretchen Kelly Rosy Mist on the Hudson, watercolor, Shelley Kommers Blue Diamonds, Print, Candy Le Sueur Silver Flower, monotype, Shelly Kommers Sparrow, mixed media collage

To quote one of the new artists I am just getting to know, Shelley Kommers, “I am always on the lookout for beauty, and I find it everywhere: in the decayed, the imperfect, and the ironic; in the small, tucked away places no one else looks.” I’d like to adopt that as my personal mantra.

So come on over and check it out. Just click here and start exploring. There are many other makers and categories I don’t have room to mention here. I think you’ll like what you find. To be honest, there are still quite a few kinks to work out, so please be patient and let me know if you are having any trouble making a purchase. Be sure to keep coming back as I will be adding to my boutiques regularly.
And if you are a maker or know someone else who is, looking for an outlet to sell and show your work, please contact me, either by leaving a comment on the post or via email at jacquelinewein[at]yahoo.com. Maybe Great.ly and I are just what you are looking for!

 

Art…The Best Bargain at the Market

I am always asked what the best thing is to buy at a shrine sale. Indigo textiles – shibori, boro, katazome? Porcelain – Imari, Kutani, Seto? Bamboo and wood – baskets, ikanbari vases, kashigata? The assumption is always that something quintessentially Japanese is the real deal, the real steal. But the truth can be quite different. Textiles are often very expensive and for porcelain you need to really understand what you are looking at. The bamboo and wood items are easy to come by and can almost become commodities. Personally, I think art is the best bargain at the market.

1000 yen is about 10 dollars, but as the yen doesn’t go as far, it feels like only a couple of bucks. I often go through the art stacks with an eye for anything charming – Japanese provenance is not necessary – and an ear for prices. Lately I’ve been lucky, finding works on paper and canvas for about 1000 yen. Many even come in just the right frames, or ones that can be painted or spruced up. Come take a quick tour with me through my latest discoveries…

A charming French watercolor in an aged gold frame just needed to be opened and cleaned and freshened up with a colored mat.

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A typical modern Japanese woodblock print had a water damaged back and mat, and even a little water damage on the print, but nothing that showed when rematted.

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It’s the dotted trees with just a suggestion of cherry blossoms that sold me on this one.

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An acrylic on canvas with more charm than mastery but nice color.

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Sweet daisies in the oval, always a nice shape variation for an art wall. My youngest daughter claimed this one immediately.

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And this weekend’s find is my favorite. This oil painting of pansies was in a big ugly frame, but I took it out and love the casual look of just the canvas on the stretcher. (And psst, truthfully, it was a bit more than 1000 yen).

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You’ve seen other shrine sale art finds of mine here and here (although the butterflies weren’t 1000 yen, yet certainly a bargain), but I am not the only one to find them.  Here are some great 1000 yen finds made by readers and friends…

A 1958 Oil of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, probably painted by a local returning from vacation – the signature is a Japanese name. I often come across European scenes, particularly London or Paris, painted in all kinds of styles.

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I’ve gone out of my way to show fairly non-traditional items, but you can occasionally luck into some typical Japanese art such as ukiyo-e, scrolls and katagami for bargain prices. This huge shodo (Japanese calligraphy) painting was a steal at 1000 yen. It had quite a bit of water damage which was basically erased with a damp cloth and some dish soap at home. The dramatic kanji is hito or person.

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To be honest, sometimes I can clean them up myself, but other times I invest a few more yen and have my local framer (he makes house calls!) do it.

I’d love to see and hear about your art bargains!

Tokyo Jinja

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