watoji
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Memory-making at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, London

Morio Sayuri [Object conservator]

In this series we introduce people who are engaged with children’s learning and learning environments, focusing on their ideas and aspirations. What should be done so that children’s learning will be lively and animated and so that they will grasp the fascination, beauty, and importance of traditional crafts? Based on the issues she faces in communicating her own field, the author will ask her interviewees the questions she herself would like to ask about their work, and share the perspectives she gains in communicating her own field to others. The Horniman Museum and Gardens in Forest Hill is less than one hour by train from the center of London. The…

Toyama’s Inami: Community through Collaboration

Kai Kaori [Writer]

We believe that for local communities, crafts are hidden treasure that will prove to have value far greater than ever before. How will work that is grounded in nature and the environment be transformed and lifted as culture. There are people who are putting into practice new perspectives and methods. In this series, we go to see these people at work, and we consider how makers and the people who connect them to markets are discovering new value in crafts.     In the Inami district of Nanto, Toyama Prefecture, a center of woodcarving craft for over 600 years, I interviewed architect Yamakawa Tomotsugu. The Bed and Craft network that Yamakawa…

A Guide to Enjoying Art Museums with the Five Senses|Sophie Richard

Fujimoto Yukiko [Editor, Heads Bookend Publishing Co. Ltd]

This series presents interviews of professionals in diverse fields who view Japanese culture from overseas. The interviewees are people the author has met through her work in publishing. What unknown stories are to be found as we peel back the layers of tradition and culture? I interviewed London-based art historian Sophie Richard, author of The Art Lover’s Guide to Japanese Museums (2014 and 2019). Visiting Japan regularly from 2004, she has been steadily visiting art and other kinds of museums and cultural facilities to explore their character and attractions. Sophie Richard Born in Provence, France, and educated at the École du Louvre and the Sorbonne in Paris, Sophie Richard is…

Young V&A, the Museum where Children, Young People, and Families Can Imagine, Play, and Design

Morio Sayuri [Object conservator]

In this series we introduce people who are engaged with children’s learning and learning environments, focusing on their ideas and aspirations. What should be done so that children’s learning will be lively and animated and so that they will grasp the fascination, beauty, and importance of traditional crafts? Based the issues she faces in communicating her own field, the author (a conservator) will ask her interviewees the questions she herself would like to ask about their work, and share the perspectives she gains. The collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) includes arts and crafts from around the world. The V&A Museum of Childhood, a V&A annex that reopened…

Treasured Woodworking Skills Flourish in Toyama’s Inami District

Kai Kaori [Writer]

We believe that for local communities, crafts are hidden treasure that will prove to have value far greater than ever before. How will work that is grounded in nature and the environment be transformed and lifted as culture. There are people who are putting into practice new perspectives and methods. In this series, we go to see these people at work, and we consider how makers and the people who connect them to markets are discovering new value in crafts. Traditionally, the craft of woodcarving evokes household status symbols such as an eagle—associated with power and courage—in a tokonoma or intricately carved ranma woodwork in the transoms of Japanese-style rooms….

Tanabe Chiku’unsai IV and the Future of Bamboo Craft

Tanaka Atsuko [Craft Writer]

The beauty of a work of craft has a story behind it. Surely that story is what will shape the next generation. We will search out the outstanding work created by hands and hearts and report about what is happening in the world of craft today. Message from a Bamboo Installation Twisting, spreading, crawling, rising like a dragon or a giant serpent. A tall assemblage of bamboo reaching for the skies, pulsing with life force and expanding the possibilities of thin strips of bamboo stimulates the viewer’s imagination. Tanabe Chiku’unsai IV’s installations have gone far beyond the bounds of bamboo craft, dazzling the art world and pointing the way to…