September signals the waning of summer and the inevitable change in seasons. It’s a profound time for all who love summer. In NYC, the days remain warm and mostly sunny. It’s a nice transition to what will follow. September is also a time when sake brewers everywhere debut their newest offerings. And for past five years, it’s also a time to welcome in a new batch of sake to New York City by a bevy a sake brewers who come to our fair city and show their latest wares at the NY Sake Expo. We happily accepted the task of checking out the Expo (as we have done the past few years) and enjoyed talking to many of the representatives and brewers from sakaguras all over Japan as well as some in the U.S. Please join us in recognizing and enjoying the magic that is sake...
New York City played host to several artists from Ishikawa Prefecture in Japan in September. We were in Ishikawa last year visiting Kanazawa and Yamanaka, and have met many great new artists there. We are encouraged and excited to see their work being recognized broadly.
It started with with Toshiharu Hisatsune, an artist displaying Kaga Yuzen, a style of textile craftsmanship unique to the Ishikawa region. He exhibited his Kimono and Noren (a room divider made of fabric) in Brooklyn, and he demonstrated for the audience how he dyes fabric. He told us some interesting stories about the history of Yuzen and about traditional wedding rituals in the Ishikawa area.
Then, we met Satomi Den, who is a glass artist working in Kanazawa. Satomi-san has been working on a unique method of glass-making, which was inspired by her previous study of metal work. Satomi-san had her latest show at the tatami room at Globus Washitsu. It was great to meet her and discuss her work. It was quite interesting as her work is influenced by European lace design, but its beauty still shined through in a Japanese setting.
Finally, we saw an exhibition and lecture by Toshio Ohi, who comes from a long line of great craftsmen. His father is a renowned 10th generation master Ohi Chozaemon, and Toshio-san has been developing his own style in the genre. He is a true jet-setter, coming to NYC twice this month in between busy days as an artist, lecturer, jury, tea master, and teacher in Japan. His energetic and magnetic lecture was rich with knowledge in Japanese history, culture, and traditional tea ceremony background. We really enjoyed his thoughts and global perspective.
Meanwhile, we have been talking to a lacquerware artisan from Ishikawa, who has a fascinating philosophy, which is reflected in his life and work. He inspires us everytime we communicate. We are looking forward to showing his work in the future.
We sense Ishikawa’s geographical and political position in history has a strong effect in their psyche. As Ohi-san said, these encounters with people is a treasure in life. It is a pleasure getting to know these Ishikawa artisans. They keep inspiring us greatly.