The photographs in this article are from an installation by artist Fumio Tachibana. The photographer is Yasuhide Kuge. This exhibition was the first time I had consciously experienced the artist, his inspiration, materials, work, and working space as inseparable. Tachibana is someone who has mastered the art of evocation. The re-purposing and re-imagining of “fragments” woven or arranged into a new whole is a important concept in my own work.

Fumio Tachibana

His subject is Clara, a fashion institute for western style dressmaking in Japan, founded and run by Motoko and Shiro Koike in 1923. They also published a fashion magazine called Yosai Shunju. The building was demolished and the magazine banned during World War 2 in 1944. I’ll take a wild guess that anything to do with western culture was not at all popular in Japan during that time. Motoko revived the institute as a classroom studio in the 1950s. When the studio was dismantled, Fumio Tachibana collected and reorganized the fragments of Motoko’s work and materials (drawings, sketches, dressmaking patterns, postwar Japanese handbills, wrapping paper, silk thread, and printing equipment) into a large scale installation of new artworks and arrangements in their own space so that the classroom itself was part of the work. There is something powerful going on here in that Motoko’s presence is strongly felt in the photographs.







Source: Communion W, 2001 Curator: Can Wong

Telephones and Tobacco














Two of Us

King Kirby


“Who needs a telephone? This (he took a pinch of tobacco from a pouch) is my communication. Better than any telephone. Telephone carries your voice around the earth, not up to the Creator. You don’t need a telephone to talk to the Creator. When we want to talk to the Creator we burn tobacco and it takes our prayers all the way up to the Sky World. What telephone can do that?” ~ Louis Farmer, Onondaga Nation

Winding and Weaving

goxwa detail 2

C.P. McDill and I made a rare visit to the city for gallery hopping and window shopping. We strolled from the Commons through the Public Garden and down the full length of Newbury Street, stopping to admire the hand carved cabinets of Jenna Goldberg and the incomparable paintings of Goxwa at Axelle. We wandered through the exhaustive maze of allotments at Fenway Victory Gardens working up an appetite for the amazing Thai cuisine we had for dinner. We ended the evening by winding up the main street, returning to the Commons in time for sunset on the pond and a carousel ride. It was a perfectly lovely day capped off by reading many generous blessings and good wishes for which I am thankful.

Photographs, of course, do not do Goxwa’s work justice. There is so much light in these paintings. I recommend that anyone near Boston visit her solo show at Axelle Gallery on Newbury Street. These are just details taken with a digital. The full compositions have more impact.

goxwa detail 1

into the maze


an elegant gate

wire cage

cactus flowers

sleeping on the job

side path with roses

wired and thorned

practical poetry

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Undine (frontispiece) 1897
Undine (frontispiece detail) 1897
Undine (cover and spine) 1897

I found this Victorian Era copy of Undine by Friedrich de La Motte Fouque in the toss away bin on one of my recent book hunts. This copy, published in 1897, is illustrated by Rosie M. M. Pitman. The cover and binding are water damaged but the pages and pictures are in pretty good shape. It appears to be unread since it still has uncut pages. One of my favorite stories about a water nymph who falls in love with a mortal and is gifted with a soul. It’s rather an epic fairy tale which someone aptly described as fairy tale noir. A lovely book with a well rounded and sympathetic heroine. Mischievous and somewhat unseelie water sprite steal a few scenes. There is a later version with Arthur Rackham illustrations. I’ve scanned a few of these less well known interpretations. The detail on the Frontispiece (pictured above) depicts the water sprites who mock Undine for falling in love with a human.

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