Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Great Wave

This is probably one of the most widely recognizable pieces of Japanese art in the world today.

It's called The Great Wave off Kanagawa (circa 1826-33) by Katsushika Hokusai and it is a woodblock print that is fairly small...only 10" x 15"...and it comes from a series in a Hokusai's sketchbook, 36 Views of Mount Fuji.

The Great Wave off Kanagawa (Kanagawa oki nami-ura) by Katsushika Hokusai

You probably didn't even see Mount Fuji at first. I know I didn't. I didn't realize the mountain was in the picture until I started studying the image for my Hearts and Hands for Sendai block.

I love the movement and enormity of the wave and had always thought it was a picture of a tsunami. But it most likely was not. (Here's a link to a great article on the subject if you're interested.) It's just a great wave off the coast of Japan in Kanagawa prefecture. It does, however, perfectly convey the vulnerability of man (the fishermen in the boats) within the power of the sea and the Great Wave...

And so it was from this wave that I got the inspiration to depict the destructiveness of the Sendai tsunami. On the south side of the bridge would be destruction...on the North side of the block...hope for the future.


I had these little bits of salvaged embroidery in my stash...And to me they looked very similar to the crest of the waves in Hokusai's Great Wave...


At first, I just kind of plopped them in the blue space but I couldn't get the depth of field I wanted so I decided to layer the water a bit...and then those scrolly-things started to look more like crests of waves...


I then used lots of bits of indigo-dyed gauze to create some rough seas and integrate those scrolly-bits with the wave shapes. Last was to add some floating debris...to symbolize the amazing destruction post-tsunami. I still can't get those images out of my head.


Now I'm ready to cross over to the brighter side of the bridge.


I'm hoping to ship it out tomorrow morning so there's still lots of work to do.

See you next time!

18 comments:

Rachel said...

Fabulous, Susan. Well-thought-out, vigorous and very expressive.

Maureen said...

You think like a true artist. This is going to be a beautiful piece.

Carol said...

I have been thinking of you and this piece since you posted the bridge on Sunday. I didn't comment, but all day while working outside, my mind kept sliding back to this piece and my thoughts about you. Now, you are giving me even more to think about and to say. I wish I hadn't opened this until this evening because I know, yet again today while I should be thinking steel, I'll be thinking about this piece. Thanks a lot Susan!! ~lol~
I'll be back tomorrow for more amazement!!
Much Love and Admiration
Carol

vicki said...

Unbelievable! You are an amazing artist - this is a work of art beyond anything that I have seen in quilt blocks - your research and ideas are amazing!

Vicki

coral-seas said...

Your tsunami full of debris is so remonisant of those images. It really moved me and brought back all the sorrow and distress I felt seeing the news reports following the tsunami.

I can't wait for tomorrow to cross the bridge with you and be filled with hope.

That your work can evoke such emotion shows what an extraordinary artist you are.

verobirdie said...

Even if this great wave was not a tsunami, it scares me, really...
Your piece will be a great one, with lots to think about

(un)Deniably Domestic said...

Looks amazing. You are a fabulous textile artist - seeing old things in wonderful new waves. That wave print is a favorite of mine and I love to see its influence in impressionism. ~Kelly

unDeniably Domestic

The Heart in Hand Project

Gina said...

Seriously beautiful and meaningful.

gracie said...

Magnificent!

Shirlee Fassell said...

OMG you are something else... This makes me want to cry it evokes such emotions!! Bravo!!!

Cathy K said...

You are an artist. What a hauntingly beautiful, poignant piece. Probably in my top 2 or three favorites you’ve ever done (as if I could narrow them down that far...) It’s time you started teaching, Susan! You’ve got IT. Love and hugs, Cathy

Allison Ann Aller said...

WOW. The debris truly makes this come alive, even after all the fantastic work that has come before it.

Ingrid Mida said...

Stunning work!

MosaicMagpie said...

Those tsunami images are stuck in my mind as well. Seeing mothers standing with their children as the wave is rolling in....haunt me. Your addition of the debris was very insightful. A wonderful job.
Deb

leilani said...

This piece leaves me speechless!

Barbara C said...

This is shaping up so beautifully. I appreciate your attention to the symbolic language of your work.

GingerCat said...

This is totally gorgeous! I love seeing what you do and can only wish my "creative" mind worked more like yours.

Elmsley Rose said...

oh! I called your wave crests "leaves"! Sorry - it's the calligraphy and illumination part of me that identified them. Now I've read this earlier post.....now I know why you have "leaves" and sticks of wood! (debris).
My excuse is it's 7am and I've only had the one cuppa so far *grin*.

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