* playroom2012/03/28 | Filed under Art | Tags .
Art, animals | Tags .
mayumi maeda 2012
animals | Tags .
Last year I went a zoo in Tokyo to sketch some little mice, and met a Japanese squirrel along. He had a beautiful orange summer fur on legs and I was given to awake about the beauty of Japanese squirrel. Since then, for me, Japanese squirrel became one of the most ‘picturesque’ creature.
So, I have been working for the next picture book from last summer. The text and rough skethces have been almost done, and I have started to work for main drawings.
Every contexts relating to the animals makes me sometimes very moved… Just a simple story makes me in tears, for example about a dog named ‘Bamse’ , attended norwegian navy and behaved so bravely when his battleship was under attack by Nazis Germans, gave a great courage to all of the soldiers, who were fighting together.
By the way, here is my favorite phrase from a poem by Emily Dickinson:
If I can ・・・
・・・ help one fainting Robin
Unto his nest again
I shall not live in vain.
food | Tags .
I wish you a very happy and peaceful new year for 2011.
The above is Fuku [福」(means Happiness in Japanese), our beloved cat.
The very first meal in New Year is very important in Japan. It is time for reunion of the family as well.
I have cooked the meal called ‘Osechi‘ . It is to be served in the wooden box painted by ’Urushi‘ (a kind of juice taken from ivy family), and has a strict regulations about what to eat, and how to put in the top, middle or bottom box.
Our life in Japan nowadays is very simplified with modern high-techs, but I feel we are rather conservative about food all the time. We often have traditional style Japanese cuisine, as well as we love to eat steak and frites, hamburgers or pastas.
* Pray2010/08/18 | Filed under Book | Tags .
My newest book, 2nd volume about autumn and winter for wildflowers in Japan,has been released last week.
if somebody asked me how I feel in my mind while I work for painting pictures,
I would answer, I feel like to pray…
The Japanese empress Michiko, said ‘ The imperial family in Japan should be ‘prayer’.’
The ‘pray’ for Nature or worship to Nature is basis of Japanese mentality. Maybe I just have the feeling naturally.
It is not the pray based on the written doctrine. if I have to explain it by words, I would say,
it is something like a desire to be united within nature…
Art | Tags Art, kids.
The lovely exhibition is opened toay at LINNET store, and will keep going until 24th July. This is a small display of sewing and drawing works by Vejas, a 13 years old boy who lives in Quebec in Canada.
It was in last year that I received the first letter from Vejas. Nice drawings and a hand work was enclosed.
He was a on-line customer for LINNET, but we never imagined he was a 13 years old.
He wrote in his letter ‘ though I am a guy, I like sewing and hand made’ and also he told that he has Lithuanian origin.
I wrote back to him that I was so impressed by his works and drawings, and I don’t think it is funny if boy likes handmade and sewing, as LINNET is working with some ‘male’ artists for sewing and handmade, because they are so talented. I thought Vejas is also very creative and he can be a creator when he is older. and also I asked him whether he have been to Lithuania, as Lithuania is very famous in Japan for its flax and linen production.
So, He wrote me back again saying he have been to Lithuania, for a funny reason that was for his grandpa’s dentistry! I loved to read his story in Lithuania, it made me feel I was in a kind of American novel.
That was how we have started exchanging letters.
Gradually, my impression has grown bigger and bigger for those works by Vejas. So I asked him if he agrees to display his works in LINNET store, as a small exhibision titled ‘the letters from Vejas’ and he agreed.
Those works are lovely, created by young hand of 13 years old, but also those ideas have enough quality to inspire us, fully grown-ups.
Additionally, his works and thoughts reminds me how I felt and thought when I was same age as Vejas. Those feelings and thoughts are my core, unchanged trunk. Now it has many shoots, branches, leaves, flowers and fruits, and the trunk has grown more thicker and steady. I feel we are so close, beyond generation difference, that I enjoyed to talk with him by my ‘trunk’.
(above:one of my most favorite of Vejas’s drawings ’Forlorn Bunny’
Vejas loves Japanese cartoons(manga) and told me that one day he would like to visit Japan.
I believe he can be a creator, maybe cartoonist or picture book writer&artist, if he would like to be, and I eagerly hope he would.
Book | Tags .
In coming March, the picture book for kids, for which I have translated into Japanese will be released.
The original book is ‘La mission de Seraphine’ text by Sylvie Auzary-Luton, illustration by Myriam Deru, published by Mijade, a Belgian publisher. (Original text was in French, but I was given English text as well.)
For this book, I found it interesting , that the story includes a scene the mouse girl and her friend were so upset that they teased the naughty snail. (Finally happy ending) In Japan, we do not often have this kind of reality in children’s books, so i was impressed about it illustrates kids’ life naturally.
Nice happy story with beautiful and lovely illustrations, i am so delighted to have worked for this book.
By the way , I like to read books in English, and I often purchase from amazon.com directly, not only from amazon. co.jp, so I have got amazon kindle last month.
it’s great! so nice for a person like me who loves reading on the couch.
first I was surprised because it was delivered just 2 days after my order to amazon, shipped directly from the US!
one of my cat ‘nyanka’ also checking the kindle.
at the beginning, i was wondering whether I can know correctly where in the book I am, but it was no worrying. because it shows where we reach by persentage in below on the screen,and I got used to it completely when I was finishing to read the first book in kindle.
The first book i read in kindle is ‘Scat’ by Carl Hiaasen. the suspense story for children, but intresting enough for adults too.
In Japan, e-book business was once collapsed in a few years ago, I think one reason was the shortage of contents. Japanese publishers were not very willing to release the book contents for e-book devices, but I think the overall structure of publishing business in Japan should also face to drastic change shortly… and I am also involved in publishing in Japan, so…what’s next?
Personally I think, especially the visual books are better to have in real paper book style, while the books with just text can definitely work well on e-books. So those paper books will persue more ‘ substantial beauty’ , then it will be more closer to ‘gift’ (which we call ‘zakka’ in Japanese, in spite not meaning exactly ‘gift’ but I think it indicates same kind of goods as ‘gifts’), with beautiful design, paper stuffs and so on.
uncategorized | Tags .
There is a topic which I have been wondering these days, it is about cutting fabric before starting to sew. That is: how overseas people are doing for that?
In fact, I usually do it directly on the floor.
In Japanese house, as many people know, we take our shoes off at the entrance, and keep our floor clean all the time. My own house which is in a modern Japanese style, doesn’t have any tatami in fact, but like most of Japanese people, we are definitely conservative about our basic style about taking shoes off in the house.
In my childhood, my parents’ house was more traditional, typical Japanese style house floored by tatami. we have used low table to do everything such as eating,reading, studying etc, sewing off course, by sitting directly on the floor.
Many things was done on the floor,too. My mother was ironing clothes on the floor, putting the flat ironing board. We spread futons (devet) on the floor at night to sleep on, and when I was boring, I often was lying on the floor and looking the wood pattern of the ceiling to find some interesting shapes.
As long as I know, only Korean people have a very similar lifestyle. Korea and Japan is a kind of ‘brothers and sisters’ , so possibly this lifestyle might have been transfered into Japan in ancient time by immigrants from Korean peninsula . Thus I suppose that Korean people often cut their fabric before sewing on the floor in the same way I do now, but how about the other people? Do they have a large table always?
Then I remind of a picture by Beatrix Potter in the tale of ‘the tailor of Gloucester’. In the picture, the old tailor is sewing on the board sitting cross-legged there, which seems to me neither table nor floor, or in other words, seems to me both.
His sitting style is the way like many Japanese men do on the floor in casual occasion, and also at the time of Buddism meditation. I found in the dictionally, this style is called in English ‘ sit tailor fashion’ it is interesting!
However, this kind of facility could be particular for professional tailors, so normally people might not have it. Then how they could do for that? and how about for seamstresses?
That is my recent interest, and I am going to ask about this to my friend in Britain.
uncategorized | Tags .
This is our most recent work, designed and produced to special order from Kurosaka Pediatric and Allegic Clinic in Himeji, Japan.
Honestly, I was so delighted to receive the lovely request from them, and also very impressed when I was asked to put some small bunnies or birds among the large flower patterns, in order that kids patients can be happy to notice those small animals.
In Japan, it is not so often that hospital or clinic adopt such a cheerful kind of design in their facilities. I heard that, when Dr.Kurosaka was working in Britain, he found a hospital had a beautiful curtain with large flower pattern, then he decided to follow the idea to create happy atomosphere in his own clinic. So, this apron which we made is already 3rd generation of what they adopted.
I am just so happy to have involved in this work, and also very honored that my artwork is used for the place where people can be ‘cured’.
Art | Tags .
I came across the photo works by Ichiro Kojima by chance, on TV program, which was introducing his photo exhibision held in Aomori prefecture (northern part of Japan).
By that time, I didn’t know his name. He died in 1960s when he was 39 years old. He was already getting famous when he was alive, for his artistic photos of the nature and the peasant’s life in Aomori and Hokkaido. However after his death, he was almost forgotten, and also he is mostly unknown in abroad.the exhibision this year could be the revival and revaluation of his works in Japan.
The image of northern part of japan, such as Aomori and Hokkaido of that time, may be, I suppose, similar to the image of the northern part of the UK in 1940s-1960s.
Cold and severe climate, dull sunlight, bulk of snow, hard life…Kojima’s photos carry those images very directly , but at the same time, those severe reality turned to the artistic and beautiful forms in his works.
Talking about some of his last works which are printed in high contrast, they are almost like the abstract paintings, getting rid of any substantial forms.
I heard that Kojima was linked to Jean-François Millet by the critics, but I myself, remind of the photo works by Mario Giacomelli from Kojima’s works.
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