Saturday 17 May 2008

The Making of the Kagamibuta, "Basho". a photo-essay

I’ve just uploaded 55 images, into an online photo album, that illustrate the making of a Kagamibuta I created last year.

The piece is titled “ Basho” after the famous Japanese haiku poet, Matsuo Basho. He took the name “Basho”, which means banana tree, in honour of a tree in his little garden which he loved. I conceived my little tribute to the poet as a “Metal Haiku”. I hoped to evoke the same sort of feeling a good haiku poem does and to craft my Kagamibuta with the same sort of delicate and careful arrangement . In fact I coined the term “Metal Haiku” as the name of a group of 12 Kagamibuta I made in 2006/7.

I’ve not offered any explanations as to the processes and techniques because I think the images are actually self explanatory. In traditional training situations there is little opportunity for the student to ask questions of his teacher so he must learn very quickly to “steal with his eyes”. By looking carefully at the images you will be able to find everything you may need to know to understand what I did.

In fact, the extreme enlargement of these images would of course not be seen my any pupil in the past…you’re seeing this as it’s really never been seen before.

I’ve included a number of different images of the completed piece because it is so difficult to capture the real feel of the object in one shot. You’ll also notice the constantly changing lighting of the images, this is to a certain extent unavoidable in a workshop situation as it would be far too time consuming to replicate the exact light each time I took an image.

The basic material of the disc is mild steel and the inlaid leaves are in 2 different alloys of a brass/bronze type called sentoku. You’ll see the selection of colours and metal I was considering using and the larger disc of metal which is actually the base of a badly damaged Meiji period vase I restored years ago. My attempt at recycling ;-). The bowl is boxwood and has been stained with potassium permanganate and tea.

Here’s the link; The Making of the Kagamibuta, "Basho".

You can view the individual images or select the slide show option. If you select a single image you’ll also be able to view a very close up shot by using the zoom feature located at the top, right ,of the area around the picture.

I hope you find this photo-essay interesting.

On-line photo album

I've just been playing with a handy photograph album bit of software called "Picasa". It's offered as a free download from Google. Here's a link to some images of Japan.

I'll eventually get all of my images up there but it will take a while....this software does make the job so much easier, and quicker though.

I've also been suffering from a severe case of internetlessness for the last 2 weeks as my server ( ironically named 24-7online! ) has been playing silly buggers switching over to an apparently faster service. I'm not holding my breath...but it would be handy to be able to upload stuff without having to wait ages...and keep losing my connection.

As soon as normal service resumes I'll get some more stuff on the blog.

Namaste, Ford