Home

My body is in Devon, my head has yet to catch up.  It’s a good word Home. What defines it? Familiarity family belonging?. Aune Head Arts held a Dartington Creative Summit couple of years ago The Home & The World. It brought together challenging and creative people to examine How do we find our place – our home? Richard  Povall has successfully got Arts & Ecologies back on the Dartington Estate.  Another meeting of minds will be at the symposium Language, Landscape and the Sublime next year.

In the meantime I go walking, my research is in the bag, I will share the process of developing ideas soon, but first I need to ground myself.  A visit to my own ancestors, I climb to Three Barrows Dartmoor behind my house. Sun and snow. No wonder the  Bronzeage (c. 2500 – 600BC) built the memorial cairns here, maybe earlier, a Neolithic barrow is nearby,  you can see the edge of our tiny island and its up with the gods. Home.

 

Big Question. How was the food?

FANTASTIC!  With a cool tin of “lucky beer”.

Fish raw and smoked. Shrooms every shape. Mega amount of Giant prawn, oyster, octopus and eel. Chicken sticky and sesame. Beef marbled and rare. Radish & greens shredded.  Beans sweet or fermented. Pumpkin & sweet potato homegrown. Seaweed pickled and rolled. Nut ground.Tea green or black. Tofu. Sweets jellied and oodles of rice, noodles ramen and udon……..these are a few of my favourite things…and egg raw slurped, fried or boiled.

 

 

Fabric Woven and Patterned

Sunday afternoon, first rain. Found an exhibition on at Rokko Island not far from Kobe. This island has been made from reclaimed land, the area was badly hit after the Hanshin earthquake in 1995. So I headed out there.

Lovely little monorail over the bridge. Met a charming girl, aged 8, and her mum headed to the same place, so we spent the afternoon together criticing the costumes. Kimono are made with woven silk, silk crepe and later cottons. Part of the pinprick small pattern intricately tie dyed, called shibori and dye resist, yuzen.  Add painting on fabric also.

The Obi (Sash) is the waist band and tie at the back, much stiffer and highly decorated. The idea is have contrasting colours, in history up to 12 layers were worn. The accessories are little boxes tied to the waist and fans of course. The exhibition also had a display of European day dress to match the V&A, inc Cardin and Dior.

I did quick sketching, as no photos allowed, my young friend made me origami mock ups of the items I liked. Best 400 yen admission spent yet. (£2.20). So I treated myself to the catalogue.

I also visited a Kimono shop in Osaka. Top of the range. It is worn for weddings and formal occasions.  Stunning.

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Osaka Festival Week

Returning to Osaka, Suyoko and her Community Festival colleagues were in full swing.  Su and Kanji run workshops, weaving, performing and singing with a group of people with special learning differences. Like the DOVE project in Ivybridge. They had had a particularly successful and enjoyable concert day. There was to be a parade of AWA dancing, so indeed I was presented with pair of hand dyed Tabi boots as I was in the lineup. Ha ha ha ha. Polly from England who has been living and working at the ARTS & CRAFTS VILLAGE link Okayama, and Rennie from Paris, studying in Otsu, join also. Splendid friendly community fun. Great dancers. I expect photos will come back to haunt me. …… Note footwear. Thank you Polly Staley for the photos and good luck with the new job in snowy Hokkaido.

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Earth Water Sun Sky

I really enjoyed BEING in this place of history in the mountains.  It took 2.5 hours by train from the nearest big city of Nagoya. The type of house I stayed in is called a ryokan, one that has mats called tatami and attached to a communal bathhouse, it had belonged to Hiroto’s grandfather, it was 700 years old. This area was the once ruled by the Tokugawa shogunate.

I took a random walk just up from the house and found a valley of beautiful market gardens amongst the temples and ancestral graves. Japanese people certainly know how to grow vedge. The harvest was Sweet potato, pumpkin, cabbage greens and onion. A place of peace and memory whilst tending the earth.

My favourite photo so far is the pond. Just look carefully you can see the earth at the bottom, the leaves under suspended, the water, the still surface with twigs, the reflection of turning trees, the sky and the sun. Passage.  As I left Takayama the mountains had turned golden.

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Red yellow pink & orange trees

I have been watching the autumn colour reports. It’s called “koyo” a celebration alongside Cherry Blossom in May. I have come to Takayama in the province of Gifu. As the slow train followed the river up the valley I could see the trees turning. You can imagine my delight when I arrived here. It’s much cooler up here. My home for a few days is a traditional house attached to a bathhouse. So squeaky clean sketching today. I did wonder why everybody had bells in the woods, ah that would be the Bears.

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A kinetic kaleidoscope

Kagoshima Ohara Festival. I seem to have picked a good spot with my pin. Not only a smoking mountain but the biggest festival in Kyushu. The Ohara folk dance parade, 22,000 dancers 660,000 visitors one evening and one day. The Main Street cordoned off 6 lanes inc trams, as a loop of rainbow colours parade, proud to represent their groups, together.
Enough colours and sounds to inspire 50 paintings! ……where’s my canvas and palette knife….oooooh those colour combinations. This one is for Jill B.

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Big birds flying south

A shinkensen train, 3 mile walk and a taxi .. I got there. Izumi crane observatory. In the region of Kyushu. 7,000 cranking cranes have arrived from Russia, more on the way.  What a sight and noise.  So many types of cranes…  These ones are mainly Hooded And White-napped Cranes. Hokkaido’s are black & white. I was met by the Tourism Manager and shown around. This reserve is now protected, three in Japan. A lovely afternoon sketching & recording……Then another local bus 30 mins for £1 and the Orange Railway all the way down the coast to Sendai. That would be through Satsuma. Epic journeying. Trains & buses never a second late.

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Osaka night drift

Osaka at night. I walked from Namba back home to Awaza without the aid of a map. No mean feat. It’s an evening place. Roads are 6 lanes with the motorway 6 lanes above on the flyover but every road has a people crossing signal. There’s no jay walking here. Feeling safe all round.

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