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    THE STORY 24 SPRING SUMMER

    Emergence

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    When I visited Mayumi Hamano’s workshop, the neatly stored yokoku (engraved) mold on the shelf caught my eye.

    Yokoku is a technique of pressing patterned molds to make patterns emerge. When clay is pressed against this patterned mold, various patterns emerge three-dimensionally. Mayumi Hamano researches types of pottery from Old-Imari, and creates pieces utilising a technique called Itokiriseikei (thread cut molding) to shape the piece with yokoku and paint.

    The narrow corridor leading from the workshop to the exhibition room, arranged were yokoku molds blooming with reliefs of plants delicately carved by chisel.
    The sight of arabesque patterns covering the pottery like tattoos led me to fantasise about embodying myself in clothes like this.

    As if carving clay mold, the idea was to carve metal to make the mold, then press the fabric and emboss it but embossing can usually only be done on polyester or resin-treated fabrics. It wasn’t suitable for the fabric I wanted to use, cotton or silk.
    Searching for a specialist for such process, I finally came across a craftsman. However, it was difficult to meet him, yet was told the technique and technology was hidden behind doors.
    As a first step, I requested a sample for denim, and the back-and-forth correspondence of manufacturing began.

    After creating patterns on the surface of the denim, the fabric is rubbed to create a distressed effect and different shades of colour. When I received the processed sample, it reminded me of glaze that had accumulated between the motifs of my cherished celadon porcelain peony shaped cup. I thought this was interesting, so I made a number of prototypes.

    Using references of old materials from early Imari patterns, I drew patterns. While drawing the curves of the unique arabesque patterns seen in that era, I fantasised about the plants intertwining on my skin. I drew them in ink and applied the designs to the body in front of a mirror, while keeping in mind the limits of the gaps that can be carved within the mold.

    Still hot, at the end of summer I was staying in Saga prefecture, where I came across a wild lily blooming in the mountains. There was something enchanting about the way it stood subtly in the middle of nature, but blooming as if emitting light.
    A view I saw from inside the car at dusk never left my mind and I developed it into a pattern. These moments of everyday scenes are what people in the past must have painted on porcelain still passed on from generation to generation, I thought.

    As if flowers arranged on the body, the flower patterns that emerge on the skin and fabric, are records of the landscapes of my memory that will never wither and continue to bloom.