japonisme: 12/14/08 - 12/21/08

20 December 2008

bells are ringing

Ring Your Bell for Peace

Sunday Dec 21 • 12 noon (wherever you are)

think • wish • pray • meditate for peace
then ring your bell for one minute

more info at ringthebellsofpeace.com

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19 December 2008

gifts of the season • 季節の贈り物

many years ago a woman i only slightly knew emailed me. "you're really into japanese prints, aren't you? there's a used book up at pegasus you might like." i don't even know how she knew. i just know she was right.

the collection of hiroshi yoshida's complete works has remained one of my treasures all these years since. now you can experience something like that as well.

pomegranate has released a series of books absolutely essential to any student of this blog's subject, and the first, shin hanga, has some of the best and most stunningly reproduced selections of his works i've seen since.

the shin hanga book is enhanced with beautifully reproduced works by toshi yoshida and ohara koson as well, and numerous other eastern and western printmakers we've covered here (and some we haven't!). the accompanying essay placing that moment into world and cultural history is written by barry till, curator of the asian prints department of the art gallery of greater victoria in british columbia.

accompanying this are three additional books including one of gustave baumann's prints of the southwest which is, again, a treasure of images that are rarely bound and reprinted so beautifully into a book. joseph traugott, curator at the new mexico museum of art, also includes related baumann's contemporaries with some rarely-viewed images, and baumann's own hard-to-find pre-print watercolors.

find the other two books here and here.

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16 December 2008

on the 183rd day of christmas

on the first day of christmas, santa got a little confused, you know. too much nog. he used the eggs.

on the second day of christmas my true love gave to me cyclamen. and i will tell you, these things last forever. you take them for done-for and they surprise you again.

on the third day of christmas

on the fourth day

on the fifth day of christ- mas, my true love gave to me this lovely little mouse portrait. it's unusual for her work (that i've seen) in that the mice are more fully fleshed rather than drawn. yet she manages to capture their glee and curiosity nonetheless.

aren't these geese for the sixth completely wonderful??! found at mr door tree's valuable blog. this artist was new to me, but the blog features at least two of his books, every illustration a wonder.

on the seventh day of christmas... courtesans! excuse me? and yet they're dear, are they not? perhaps they intend to begin singing.

and in a truly playful spirit christmas was extended, first to high numbers, and then to infinity. it extended throughout the year.

or at least until the sun began to go away again. then it was our job to keep that light alive.

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15 December 2008


there is only one problem with hannah sigur's beautiful new book the influence of japanese art on design.

it's not the choices of images; they are throughout wonderful selections, often selections rarely seen in books on this subject.

and it's certainly not the content. ms sigur manages enormous amounts of historical detail with dexterity and grace. she's clearly fascinated, and it's contageous. in fact, the depth of these discussions are as poetic as they are comprehensive.

no, the problem is something you may have already noticed: the images here are only minimally smaller than the ones in the actual book. these gorgeous illustrations are all but lost to my old eyes, as is the type.

visual clarity has been sacrificed to lean and stunning design: wide empty margins beg the question: couldn't you have had smaller margins and bigger pictures, larger type?

still, i must admit, there are enough treasures in this volume to gratify any enthusiast, and the softly glowing metallic cover makes it an appealing gift indeed. from gibbs-smith.


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