Thursday, June 23, 2016
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
|the big sand dollars are as big as my hand with my fingers spread out|
I found these sand dollars at a souvenir shop on an island off America's east coast more than twenty-five years ago. That was before I became bitten by the etegami bug, and at the time, I didn't really know what I wanted them for. But when they reappeared during a recent decluttering frenzy, it was as plain as plain can be that they (especially the huge ones) were canvases begging to be painted on. Part of me resisted adding something to an already exquisite product of nature, but I hoped that etegami-style embellishment would suit this particular canvas-- if applied with a light hand.
The porosity of the shell made it a challenging surface for my etegami paints, but the results did not disappoint me.
|the results did not disappoint me|
I made the interesting discovery that none of my Hokkaido-based etegami colleagues had ever seen or heard of a sand dollar before. They are related to the spherical sea urchins, a lip-smacking delicacy that Hokkaido has in abundance, but these flat relatives are apparently unknown in northern Japan.
So, we searched our nearest seashore for other shells that might work as etegami canvases, and ended up collecting armloads of all kinds of sea shells (mostly chipped or broken), smooth and not-so-smooth stones, and some interesting driftwood. Scallop shells look the most promising, to tell the truth-- big enough to paint on, and flat enough to slip into an envelope. Scallops also happen to be one of the most popular and plentiful products of Hokkaido's sea-farming industry, so there is no shortage of scallop shells. I think I'll ask my local fish market to save me some, and see where that leads. Stay tuned!
|at my studio in Atsuta on the Japan Sea coast|
Monday, June 13, 2016
I remember a little boy who lay on his bed staring at the ceiling for hours and hours of each day, cheerfully deaf to threats and pleas from his frustrated mother who felt he should be doing his chores, his homework, or getting exercise outside. Fortunately, he had a wise older sister who assured their mother that staring at the ceiling was important for developing a creative mind. So the mother gave up her threats (for the most part).
The boy eventually grew up and left home. Facing numerous crises, both physical and mental, he showed remarkable resilience, and finally one day he received that piece of paper that opened the door to the next stage of his dream to be what he had wanted to be ever since he was three years old: A scientist. Actually, he grew up to be a physicist who loves to make art. His mother has a great respect for ceiling-gazing now, and looks forward to teaching that skill to her grandchildren... if she ever has any.
I made this etegami to celebrate the boy's doctoral hooding ceremony. Except that his version has a diploma in it. (name hidden for his privacy). Prints of the non-diploma version can be ordered from my RedBubble shop.