tsugumi: Aokimichi (Avenue of the Blue Sky)
Seasons come and go
Spring, summer, autumn, and winter are hidden in the mountain breeze
Flying in waves, the plovers are migrating
Blue of the dawn… Blue of the morning… Daytime blue… Evening blue… Twilight blue… Blue at night… Blue in the dark of night
Blue is always there
Moonlight is the peace leading to eternity
Karakami Artist Toto Akihiko
※ Private residence, not open to the public (March 2015)
A client with a deep knowledge of art who loved Tawaraya Sotatsu’s “Tsuta no Hosomichi Zubyobu (Ivy Lane Folding Screen)” and Shigemori Mirei’s “Kokokuan (Good Carving)” tearoom commissioned the Toto Blue work “Aokimichi (Avenue of the Blue Sky).”
While I have managed to dye works separately and made two-tone pieces before, this time I challenged myself to bring a sense of unity to the whole piece by drawing exquisitely sharp lines and switching between screens.
It was the first time I tried to draw a single line over three fusuma sliding doors, and it was rather difficult, to put it mildly.
A fusuma is a three-dimensional object with a front, back and fittings to work around, so it wasn’t as simple as just drawing on a flat object.
After careful planning discussions with the craftsmen, I was able to attend the on-site installation and was truly delighted when the piece came together perfectly.
This work was created using a technique called “tsugigami,” where different pieces of karakami are spliced together.
The “-mi” in “Tsugumi” means “beauty” and refers to the joining of two beautiful pieces of Karakami.
I had actually touched on the concept years ago, including the name, but at the time I lacked confidence and wasn’t strong enough to bring the idea to fruition and share it with the world.
Now, as I release this work after revisiting it for the first time in several years, I see that it has taken some time for my vision to be realized. It is the first piece from this series that I decided to reopen, and I am grateful for the opportunity to do so, which only came about because of the encounter with this client and architect.
I was able to do something that the younger version of me was incapable of.
Timing, it seems, is indeed everything.