I am often asked to give a master class. But I don’t know how to teach to paint with a needle and thread; I don’t know how to teach to make cloth obedient. That is why I will only tell you about my feelings.
The birth of a picture is a delicate and laborious creative development, and to start it one should have a sense of beauty. This very feeling of being taken with the things, often inanimate, became a philosophy of esthetic tradition for the Japanese. Admiring the sunset, the definite hour of the day, admiring the moon, the cherry and plum flowers, admiring the iris gardens in blossom, the hills covered with snow and, of course,- one of the symbols of the Japanese culture – the sacred mountain of Fuji. And the Japanese breath of admiration – avare! – that is often said with tears of delight or sadness stems from here.
Something like that takes place in my soul when I look at the cloth. Cloth is amazingly delicate and flexible material. And in my hands it becomes either a light kimono or a wooden tub. Cloth is the oils to paint this or that episode in.
It takes two months and more to create the work. Everything starts with engravings. You should think over every detail of the engraving and understand every line, every feature of it. Because if you can’t understand the engraving, you will not be able to represent it in cloth. Sometimes to realize the work I reread the history, I read about the way of life and culture like an icon painter rereads the Bible.
Then the process of looking for harmony begins. The Japanese idea of color combination is completely different from ours – the European one. It is very important for a Japanese traditional costume not to upset the symbolism of colors and details. Thus color and details matching starts. On the outside this process reminds of a spring-clean in the wardrobe, when all the patches are laid out in the centre of the room, and the matching against the background of the picture-to-be develops. The patches of necessary color and texture can sometimes be searched for months. After the patches are collected, I have got my draft, my basis.
There is a draft for the work of “Sudden Passion” in the photo. From this moment the picture is alive. I can see it in a way the audience will be able to see it in several months.
After that the easiest process from my point of view, the technical one, begins – it is actually sewing on the patches. To create the folds and texture one should have the knowledge and skills of clothes designing, but this goes intuitively. When you work with cloth, the cloth itself helps you see its most beneficial sides.
That is my step-by-step animation of the work creation process. It may help you to notice all the details.
But for the time being, I don’t know how to teach it, still, I wish you to find your own material, the way of expressing your avare, your admiration