July 1, Day 3 of the 11th International Shibori Symposium involved Plenary Sessions, lectures and presentations at the Nagoya Congress Center. Notable to me were Jian Liu’s discussion of analysis of natural dye identifications in Qing Dynasty Silks. New technology is allowing for exciting discoveries of dye colors from Safflower, Sappan wood, Indigo, Pagoda tree, Amur Cork, Young fustic and Turmeric dye sources; their research is involved with developing a Japanese dye database. Prehistoric textiles from 500 BC were the first to use resist dye techniques. The first Biennale of Natural Dyes will take place in China in 2019.
Below, a monument oddly scaled to the architecture of the Center. I had to read more, and this is what the plaque said: Sforza Monument (Reconstruction). Leonardo da Vinci… was commanded by Lord Ludovico of Milan to create the world’s largest statue, a work which was to depict General Francesco Sforza mounted on horseback. By November of 1493 Leonardo had completed a clay model of the horse alone which measured 7.2 meters in height. Unfortunately, war interrupted his work at that point; the planned bronze casting was discontinued, and the clay model was destroyed. The reconstruction of the “phantom statue” began with the construction of a two meter clay model based upon the study of Professor Tanaka of Madrid, manuscripts discovered in 1967 as well as a number of preparatory sketches. The model was enlarged using computer technology, and the final version of the statue molded in plastic (FRP), as the legs would not be able to support the weight of a bronze casting… Displayed in the Tokai Bank Pavilion at the World Design Expo ’89 and donated by the Tokai Bank, Ltd.
Another interesting presentation by Juxin Zhen of the China Academy of Art showed the process and development of carved wooden blocks that served as clamp resists, but with holes inserted that could be plugged or open for direct spot dyeing.
A reception and celebration that evening provided ample food plus an exciting performance of puppets and music by an Arimatsu performance troupe, and a demonstration of imperial kimono dress from earlier times. The governor and mayor attended the event.
On July 2, we traveled via bullet train and bus to Tokyo, making a stop at Shibori: Fusion and Diffusion, the ISS2018-organized contemporary shibori exhibition and reception at Tama Art University Museum. This was a stellar show of contemporary work featuring primarily Asian artists, but also work by Westerners. We also had lively mini-presentations, “Pecha-Kucha” style, by selected attendees. Then we traveled to Tokyo.
Our final day in Tokyo allowed for individual exploration of exhibitions and shopping opportunities. Our group started with the Amuse Museum, where we viewed stunning Boro textiles from an impoverished area in northern Japan. We also visited PIGMENT, the wonderful store selling pigments, brushes and more in a beautifully articulated setting. Then we visited NUNO fabrics and stores for Issey Miyake and other designers. We crisscrossed the city via subway. The day ended with a buffet dinner for attendees, a way of welcoming attendees for the second half of the Symposium. It also offered those of us leaving the Symposium a chance to wrap up and say goodbye. Most attendees continued on to Yamagatsu in northern Japan. A number of us continued on home, including me.
Our last impression was the upcoming Star Festival, set for July 7. We all wrote down our wishes on this bamboo structure.
It was all such a fabulous adventure. My thanks goes to everyone who spent time organizing and thinking through this stellar event.