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.
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.
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.
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.
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.