Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Connecting Lines

From the freshly cut camellia, a reminder of Japan, to a Kenzan-style ceramic with a simplified interpretation of the same flower.

[Kenzan-style incense burner with design of camellia, late 18th to early 19th century, Kyoto workshop; Edo period. Buff clay; white slip, iron and cobalt pigments under transparent glaze; bronze cover. Freer Sackler Galleries.]

[Tea bowl with design of pampas grass by Ogata Kenzan (1663–1743; Chojiyamachi workshop) Japan, Edo period, 1712–31. Buff clay; white slip, cobalt and iron pigments under transparent glaze. Gift of Charles Lang Freer. Freer and Sackler Galleries.]

Flat, restrained versions of camellias, plum blossoms, and other flowers and plants referenced in Japanese poetry are also key motifs found in Kenzan-ware decoration. Although these days it's hard to purchase anything that isn't branded, names were not typically associated with ceramics sold in 18th century Japan. But, according to the Freer and Sackler Galleries, Ogata Kenzan was the exception. Born into a family of textile merchants -- not potters -- Kenzan became interested in decorative painting and ultimately bought a well-established ceramics workshop. His team of professional potters decorated wares based on his spare designs, and the pieces were marketed under the Kenzan name.

The artists behind 21st century Working Class Studio aren't creating products anonymously.  A division of SCAD, the studio is a vehicle for students, alumni and staff to translate their designs into marketable home accessories, like the Savannah Toile Collection and this "Hatch" pillow cover from the Cassie Collection by Cassie Hart (BFA, Illustration, SCAD) recently spotted at Providence

[Design 1152 by Sonia Delaunay (French, born Russia, 1885–1979) France, 1932–33.
Produced by Metz & Co., printed silk. 
Private collection © L & M SERVICES B.V. The Hague 20100623. 
Photo: © private collection.]

When I saw Cassie's design, I thought of the Kenzan tea bowl decorated with abstracted blades of grass as well as Sonia Delaunay's textile, above, yet another sneak peek pulled from more than 300 works included in Color Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay, opening in five days at the Cooper-Hewitt. (Don't miss this related blog post by textile conservator, Sarah Scaturro.)

[Shibori at SRI Threads.]

More to explore: Imperial Palace Gardens with Wall, Tokyo (photography to benefit the Japan Society's Earthquake Relief Fund), Silent Cloud of StarsWhose Sleeves?, Celebration of Spring: Woodblock Prints by Kawase Hasui, Daily Eye Candy and Sri Threads.

A note regarding the Japanese earthquake and tsunami: links to the Red Cross and UNICEF remain in the sidebar.


home before dark said...

Always love the connections: the inspiration and the art made from that spark.

ps speaking of connections, I found the blog from a comment she left here. Now she needs our connection as she and her family live the drama of Japan's great nightmare.

meenal @ maison marigold said...

Beautiful images ...unfortunately the only connection with Japan is now the horror unfolding on our t.v. is truly heart breaking to see so many people suffer...i hope the situation changes soon for the better and once again the mention of Japan would bring to mind all the beautiful things that the great country stands for....xx meenal

Janet said...

I have been so down these past few days, thinking of how much in that beautiful country of Japan was swept away in a matter of a few minutes. My heart aches for them.

Tokyo Jinja said...

Hello Courtney-
Taking a break from CNN and FB to check up on what you are writing to take my mind off the situation here. Love the camellias - they are in full bloom now - and the links to the Red Cross and Unicef. I think we are headed out for early spring break - school is now closed - but I am going to try to keep blogging from the road. I am trying to do some updates on artists who have lost everything.
Keep the beautiful images coming!

Style Court said...

Oh Jacqueline, obviously our thoughts are with you and everyone in Japan.

In my neighborhood all of the flowering trees and shrubs -- so many with Japanese origins -- are in full bloom. This year the tiny azalea clippings and camellias brought indoors remind me first and foremost of the tragedy overseas but they also call to mind the beautiful, enduring Japanese culture.

So glad you stopped by. Stay safe.