While teaching myself how to use fabric dye, I worked in a office translating mostly medical professionals’ scribbles. I’d carve out five minutes here, ten minutes there, to somehow get my art thing going, until eventually I became the only worker on self-appointed flextime.
On Mondays during lunch I’d walk past several cafes with too many tiny tables, on a cluttered Tokyo street down to a florist, and for a couple hundred yen choose just one flower to place on my desk, a beige-gray rectangle. As an ongoing art education I’d pause between each paragraph for a few moments and closely observe the blossom of the week.
Flower shop flowers always made me a little sad: straight stemmed, sterile, tagged. I eventually parted ways with the scribbles, but what I’ve seen in each flower stayed with me, it’s the remembering of a field somewhere outside their greenhouse, accumulated stories woven into their roots. Years later, they found their way into an enlarged flower petal about to be painted on a dress, on silk with the fabric dye, now my medium of choice.
Despite the art interferences, I fulfilled my responsibilities at the scribble’s. Enough so that few years later the same people invited me back, flextime and all, which was very nice of them, but I had already made other plans, to give my all to the art thing.
The choice smart or otherwise? One thing I know, it was the only one, and I blame it on those flowers with stems too straight, and all the moments I shared with them.
Belles in the bouquets, all picked in the wild, from top, Japanese name in brackets for accuracy sake:
– Bell Flower (Hotaru Bukuro) / Honeysuckle (Suikazura) / Hyacinth Orchid (Siran)
– Hydrangea / Spiderwort (Murasaki Tsuyukusa)
– Dame’s Violet (Hana Daikon) / Yarrow (Nokogiri Sou) / Oxalis (Imo Katabami – the pink in focus. They were “asleep” at the time of photographing, which was immediately after getting picked from under a shrub.) / Cherry Sage (Yakuyou Sarubia – leaves only) / Fennel (leaves)
– Polygonum (Hime Tsurusoba) / Coral Flower (Haze Ran) / Herb Robert (Hime Fuuro)
– Adenophora Gaudi Violet (Sobana) / Gooseneck Loosestrife (Tora no o) / Prunella Vulgaris (Utsubogusa) / Gymnaster Savatieri (Miyako Wasure) / Spiderwort
In blurry background is the various stages of the dress series “Spider Lily Red” in the making in chronological/ascending order, with photo copies of 2 large pencil drawings of a spider lily petal pinned on the wall.
Also refer to my previous posts for the actual size of the petal, and the daring demeanor of each petal and my earlier attempts at grasping some of it upon fibre.