Every petal’s a masterpiece.

For last two weeks, my priority #1 has been to spend as much time with spider lilies, bloom for a short while each autumn.
This year they are back earlier, and seemingly more in numbers.

The blossom has been my muse for sometime now, and here’s why, shown in pictures.

yuko-nagai-spiderlily2014-3Spider Lily Dye Sample Swatch #2 - completed.
Spider Lily Dye Sample Swatch #3 - in progress.yuko-nagai-spiderlily2014-8

The above two drawings are both dye sample swatches, from top the completed #2 and in-progress #3. On different fabrics – both silk, with slight difference in dye absorption, lines bolder on the #3 just because. This style of drawing is a new trick I am trying out since the above #2 but has been on my mind for much longer.

As for the petals, I couldn’t find a thing to add. Examining them closely somehow grew me muted.

Red spider lily petals, close up.

“Spider Lily Red” (working title) is my new dyed threads series. I’ve written about it’s growth on this site, and more photos are on display on EyeEm and Flickr.




進行中の彼岸花シリーズ(仮題『Spider Lily Red』)は当方の染色系統の次作で(今までの作品はこちら)、今回はちょっと違った描き方を試しています。進み具合はこのサイトに載せてきたので是非ご覧になってください。EyeEmFlickrにも載せていますのでそっちもどうぞ。


Summertime Blues, Reds and Greens.

Summer Insect with shiny green legsDayflower petal on the edge of glass

The red below is a dye sample swatch, incomplete at the time of this writing, for a new series with spider lily as the motif. I am trying something new, to make lines prominent in the drawing. Don’t ask me why, it just feels right that way.

The summer in Japan is short and rather intense. Even more so this year, it seems to be in a super hurry to pack up all the cicadas and leave. I will happily trade my autumn with your summer. Just write me at the email address on my INFO page, and we’ll figure out how to go about doing just that.

Abstract drawing of a red spider lily petal on silk.

But then again, and this is so over-done cliche excuse me, but, if my year consists only of a few summers and a spring, then I don’t get to savor this end-of-the-season melancholy, rolling my tongue around in my mouth trying to find the right words to the taste that is complex and in a way, luxurious.

“She’s being sweet and sulky again this year” was what they were talking about, yes, them swallows, as they teasingly flew by my I-already-miss-you-summer expression. They will stick around for another month or so before flying south for the winter, only to return in the spring to right here where they were birthed.

Making-of process of the said series has been documented in a loose kind of way at my eyeem account, so do have a look when you get a chance. Thank you for your visit.






Purse(s) born in August.

August sun sparks in happy-hot orange-gold. It inspires cicadas to scream louder, swallows to soar higher, and guess what, it even moved yours truly to get up and dig into boxes full of fabrics and put together a purse. Look.


Purse in Gold and Orange.

For the very first time, hopefully not also the last, I am reproducing one idea for multiple times, meaning, there will be 4 of this funky flashy thingy on this planet, four very identical purses, though never will they be the exact duplicates.

Purse in Gold and Orange, material, detail.August Purse in Gold and Orange

Note on August 25, 2014: The Bag #1 -the one in the photos- is sold.

Materials: mostly some natural-synthetic blend of unknown variety, except for the silk lining in between the front and the inner fabric (see the thumbnailed photo above, 3rd from left) and silk organza in lavender sandwiched between flashy orange obi (Japanese kimono sash belt) strips for the shoulder strap.

Approximate measurements: height 38cm x width 35cm x depth 3cm, and weighs 210 g. Strap length is adjustable.

Care instruction: hand wash gently in cold water, spin, shape and air dry. Iron in low to medium heat, as the main orange-gold two-toned fabric is sensitive to high-heat.

The bag #1 is ready for sale at 8300JPY (here’s a link to the converter to the currency of your choice) plus shipping – for shipping cost and options, please e-mail me at the below address. For billing I use Paypal, it does not require you to have an account, nor to give me your card info. I only need your e-mail address for billing/communication, and your street address for shipping.
For the bag #2 to #4, please allow me a week to 10 days before dispatch, as, at this point, they are to be made upon your order.

Note on August 25, 2014: The Bag #1 -the one in the photos- is sold.

I try to provide as much detail here but unfortunately, colors and textures can not be accurately presented online, that’s just the nature of the beast. Please do feel free to inquire. If, for any reason, you would like to return the item and be refunded, send the item(s) back in its original condition -as arrived- within a week from arrival, and upon its return I will refund the full amount sans the shipping cost via Paypal.

One thing I must mention: I live in a small Japanese town almost 80km south of the famed and troubled nuclear plant. Radiation count in my work room is in average .05 – .20 microSV/hr (by Russian Radex, ambient, about 1m off the floor.I recommend that you locate on the internet your local “background radiation” level for comparison.). Materials had been stored in boxes at the time of, and ever since the accident. Radioactive particles do wash off thank heavens, and I do wash all materials anyways and thoroughly before assembling them into a purse.

For any questions, write Yuko at:

Here’s a little video I made to show you how they shimmer in the late afternoon sun. The sound is of “evening cicadas” and a low drone of surf in distance, recorded just down the street.









8月25日 追記: 写真のバッグ第一号はソールドとなりました。二号以降も写真とほぼ同じ作りとなります。






Abstract Petal.

Spider Lily Petal - pencil drawing

This recently-finished pencil drawing is to be a reference for a dye sample/swatch I’m gonna be working on next, that is for the newest of my Dyed Threads series, “Spider Lily Red” project. The line-oriented approach you see here is of me teaching myself a new trick, that I think would best capture the extreme curliness of the spider lily petals.

Spider Lily Petal - pencil drawing, detail.

The said petals start out fairly straight-edged. As the blooming progresses however, they go into this full-on abstract free-form red wavy anarchy that feels more like a perfectly-choreographed theater. Petals themselves are quite tiny but hold within so much passion, that’s how I sense them anyways.

Spider Lily Petal - pencil drawing, detail.

The project is gradually gaining momentum so swing by again when you get a chance.
Thank you for your visit.

これをもとに染め見本を作るのが当方の『Dyed Threads』シリーズの通常の手順。


Bounds melt; Time stands Still.

Hello, howdy, how’s this Life thing going at your end?

Sea Shell, texture.Sea Shell, part, macro.

Me, much of my evenings are spent visiting where fireflies hang, floating in the night, suspended in time.
They hack my sense of time there. Jail breaking with no strings attached. Generous sweethearts, them biofluorescents.

Spider Lily Petal, dye swatch, detail.

Early summer days get tender and sensual as the sun goes down.
The sound of breaking waves is the ever-lasting heart beat, with its imprint inescapable to both the sea shells and myself.

Sea Shell, waves, textures - macro.Spider Lily, Petal, pencil drawing - process.

Photos are of various beach finds and a dye swatch – dye, in red, is not set yet – for my “Spider Lily Red” series.
The last photo is of a new pencil drawing, incomplete, of a petal of the said lily, that is for the said series, trying something different from how I usually painted – “shading”-heavy – with dyes.

I will report the progress of the said project along with my usual blah blah’s on here or on social sites such as EyeEm, Flickr and Tumblr.
So swing by, when you get a chance. Thank you, and have a great July and beyond.


写真は上から、貝殻、次が丸くって平たくって真ん中に穴の開いた直径5センチほどの海の生き物の真ん中あたりから出現したパーツ、それから、彼岸花がモチーフの次作のための染め見本 – 絹に酸性染料でペイントした同花花びら、また貝殻、で、最後が同シリーズ用の同花弁鉛筆画、これも染め見本用ですが多少手法を今までのシェーディング主体のやり方から少し変えてみているところ、です。