Hi! A personal note. I have given Japan a separate page to explain the significance of my time there. From 2003–05 I was involved in Through the Surface, a collaborative Anglo – Japanese mentorship program for Textile Artists. I spent a period of 3 months in Japan where I lived and worked with the wonderful Japanese Textiles Artist Michiko Kawarabayashi, in Kyoto. There I had the privilege of living in a traditional home and sharing her daily life. My time in Japan was intense; lots of lost in translation, new visual references, eating unusual food, using chopsticks everyday! Finding my way around with little or no language skills, challenging! The experience as a whole transformed my view of art in daily life. Below is my treatise for Small Bites (reunion show for Through the Surface 2011-12), summing up my experience.
Full immersion into Michiko’s Japanese home allowed an insight into the daily life of a Japanese textile artist. A rare and unique opportunity to experience a different culture from within.
The everyday aesthetic brought about some fundamental changes and permanent alterations in my life and my art practice. Watching Michiko work was an epiphany for me. Her methodology is the same as mine, allowing the natural flow of creativity to stem from the material itself, developing through the process of making and remaking.
The largest space in Michiko’s home was her working studio, where a flow of creativity unleashed that touched every corner of the home - from art to plates to tea service. This altered my conventional thoughts about saving spaces for particular uses, instead I give priority to creativity in every area of daily life, my home being an ever changing canvas.
Japan taught me that art exploration and practice is a lifelong journey from which we constantly learn. Experience informs the creative process over time, enhancing and developing an artist's expression. For me, most importantly, it’s about seeing creativity in the everyday.