A Touch of Japan


June Hope

Hand-felted merino embedded with handmade papers, stitching


The simplicity of form in Japanese ceramics is interpreted here. Fragments of symbols and marks are held together by the vessel, another cobbling of things which together make the sum greater than the parts. The driftwood stand suggests the vessel might be something washed ashore – a remnant of a typhoon or times past?

I’ve long been captivated by the harmony and serenity of the Japanese aesthetic. The reverence I observed as the people go about their daily activities seems evidenced in these cultural concepts: wabi sabi – the seeing of beauty in impermanence and imperfection, kintsugi – the repair of broken ceramic with lacquer and gold thus enhancing its beauty, shibui – the balance of simplicity and complexity in simple, understated elegance and of boro – the repair of tattered textiles through stitch. I find in these notions to be metaphors for life.

It is these concepts, plus a longstanding love of vessels, textures and simple elegant shapes which inspire me. I have explored these ideas through the medium I am most passionate about – the ancient craft of traditional wet felting.

Made entirely from merino fleece these works have been shaped and formed by the addition of soap and water and a great deal of human energy to agitate the once fluffy fleece fibres into the firm robust works you see here.

The mixed media collages reference stories and places; perhaps real or imaginary. Again the works combine hand-felted merino fleece with the addition of Japanese papers, dyed or printed, stitched then collaged with both handmade and specialised papers.


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