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 (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!