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Handcrafted Form: rare treasures from Japan

Press Release – Embassy of Japan

The Embassy of Japan, in cooperation with Expressions Whirinaki Arts & Entertainment Centre, is very pleased to announce that the Japan Foundation’s Travelling exhibition – “Handcrafted Form: Traditions and Techniques” – will take place from 25th November, at Expressions Whirinaki, Arts and Entertainment Centre.

This unique exhibition presents 90 everyday objects made by contemporary artisans who employ various traditional craft techniques made in regional workshops. Handcrafted Form introduces two different groups of craft objects; works nurtured within and for daily life, and creative works made in a workshop environment. The works used in daily life are crafted from raw materials with techniques appropriate to bringing out the best of its medium, creating works balancing ease of use with aesthetic appeal. The other works are those crafted in small-scale regional workshops which persisted through an age of industrialisation, when much of Japan’s craft objects became mass produced. This gave rise to superior artisans and idiosyncratic artists who influenced each other to create the well-known depth and quality of Japan’s handcrafted goods.

Among the highlights of the exhibition include: soothing shoji lamps, indigo textiles tie-dyed by shibori artists and a wooden keepsake box carved with intricate geometric patterns. Recurring motifs like floral patterns speak to Japan’s distinct landscape and climate as seen in the ceramics, textiles, metal work, lacquer ware, wood, bamboo, paper and many others featured in the exhibition. Expressions Whirinaki Director Leanne Wickham is thrilled to be working with the Embassy of Japan. “This is very special exhibition which offers insights into an ancient culture and traditions of craft rarely seen in New Zealand. This exhibition has travelled to the Slovak National Museum, India and Tonga among others and it is wonderful to host here.”

A highlight of the exhibition will be a special presentation by Mr. Shinya Maezaki, Associate Professor of Kyoto Women’s University, Faculty of Home Economics, Department of Apparel and Space Design, whose research field is in Aesthetics and History of Art. He is the world’s leading expert on Japanese craft and will give a talk on Saturday 25 November at 4pm in the Gillies group Theatre. Mr Maezaki outlines that ‘since ancient times, crafts have been an integral part of Japanese culture. And as Japan is rich in natural resources – from the diverse vegetation in its forests, to the gemstones and precious metals in its mountains – craftsmanship and the natural environment have always been closely connected. Many of the handicrafts that are still used in present day Japan originated in the Edo period (1603 – 1868) when Japan was a feudal state. In the 18th century and early 19th century, many communities were facing financial hardship, and local industry and products were seen as a solution, which started a movement to create products that spotlight the natural features of each particular region.”
25th November 2017 – 22nd January 2018
Open every day 9am – 4pm

Expressions Whirinaki Arts & Entertainment Centre
836 Fergusson Drive, Upper Hutt
www.expressions.org.nz

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