Japanese armour in Kensington

Usagi Juku armourI expect your idea of armour is the kind of solid, clanking metal suit you might find nowadays standing in the hall at a stately home. Effective, but heavy and unwieldy. Or maybe lighter, more flexible chain mail – a great step forward. But in Japan they went further. To enable samurai to ride, shoot arrows and use a sword, they developed a lightweight armour in which metal or leather scales were bound together with string. Doesn’t sound too effective? You’d be surprised. Continue reading

Paper at the Saatchi Gallery

Yuken Teruya - LVMH

The last sunny day of summer found me sauntering down the King’s Road to the Saatchi Gallery, which has made such a success of turning the former Duke of York’s Headquarters building into a free-entry contemporary art museum. Whatever you think of Charles Saatchi (and his reputation at the moment is not at its highest) there’s no doubting his commitment to giving new, challenging artists a platform and the current exhibition, Paper, does just that. Continue reading

Origami and Mathematics

Kawasaki origamiIf your image of someone who does origami is a little Japanese girl making paper cranes, you’re way out of date. Alright, I confess, I was too, until I went to a talk and demonstration at the Japan Foundation by the world’s first Doctor of Origami, Toshikazu Kawasaki, and discovered that nowadays origami is a branch of geometry. Continue reading

Winners of Jerwood Makers Open 2013

Nahoko Kojima - ByakuSince it was first awarded in 2010, the Jerwood Makers Open has established itself as one of the UK’s premier awards for applied artists. Unlike other competitions, the artist’s ideas are central – there is no submission theme or curated pathway, and the award itself is a £7,500 commission for new work. Let me introduce you to this year’s five winners (from over two hundred entries), starting with the amazing paper sculpture of Nahoko Kojima.  Continue reading

Collect at the Saatchi Gallery 10-13 May

Vessel not a vessel by Takuo NakamuraThis year it’s the tenth anniversary of the Craft Council’s annual international art fair for contemporary objects known as Collect. And my first visit, as a matter of fact. First impressions? Wow, there’s a lot of great stuff here! Mainly ceramics which I love, glass, which I also love and jewellery, which I’m not so bothered about. The standard was very high and there was plenty I could happily have taken home with me. If it wasn’t for the serious prices. Ah well – at least I get to share the experience with you. Continue reading

Washi – traditional paper of Japan

Washi - Japanese paper

I know what you’re going to say. Norwich is a long way for a day trip from London so why are you suggesting we go there for an exhibition? I apologise, but I couldn’t resist telling you about the Washi: The Art of Japanese Paper exhibition at the Norwich University of the Arts Gallery. And you could always make a weekend of it, couldn’t you? Continue reading