Japanese Craft Documentaries @ JFT this Tuesday and Thursday

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Japanese Craft Documentaries @ JFT this Tuesday and Thursday

Post  JF on Thu Aug 23, 2012 11:36 am

Complementing Contemporary Japanese Crafts
Japanese Craft Documentary Festival
August 21, 23 (second screening)

Location: The Japan Foundation, Toronto
Address: 131 Bloor St. W., 2nd Floor
[b[Admission[/b]: Free
RSVP not required (arrive early to ensure seating)
Language: Mostly English with some subtitled Japanese

If you missed the first screening of these films, here’s your chance! Comments from last week’s guests included:
“Informative and inspiring.”
“Very interesting to see contemporary craftsmen at work.”
“Well-chosen to complement the exhibit.”

Tuesday, August 21
6:00 PM: Japanese Crafts: A Path to the Future (49 min)
7:00 PM: Craft Tool Crisis (49 min)

Thursday, August 23
Japanese Craftsmen with a Difference
6:00 PM: Izumi Ando, Metal Sculptor (30 min)
6:30 PM: Shingo Kojima, Cabinet Maker (30 min)
7:15 PM: Ryoji Koie, Potter (30 min)
7:45 PM: Kohei Miyata, Goldsmith (30 min)
Craft Tool Crisis
(NHK, 49 min)

In 2001, for the first time since the Second World War, the Cultural Affairs Agency assembled in one volume a report on all the tools and raw materials on which Japan's traditional crafts depend. It warned that the tools and materials that have underpinned nearly 1,000 years of handicraft skills in Japan are gradually vanishing.

Among them, one has been singled out to symbolize the plight of all: Wajima lacquer. Wajima lacquer is a high-quality lacquerware thought to have originated about 500 years ago. From the plain wood item and the base coat to the top coat, gold inlay and gold relief-work or "maki-e", there are 124 processes involved in producing a single piece. Each process is carried out by specialised craftspeople using unique tools passed down for generations. But many of these tools are now being lost.

The tool that Wajima lacquer artisans are most concerned about is a special brush made from the fur of a type of mouse that lives in Ashibe, near Lake Biwa. The brush is used for maki-e, whose fine, graceful lines set against the black lacquered surface are essential to allure of Wajima lacquer. But this mouse-fur brush has been impossible to obtain for more than a decade.

As it follows the desperate efforts of artisans to rediscover and revive lost tools, the crisis enfolding Japan's diverse communities of traditional craftspeople becomes apparent.
Japanese Crafts: A Path to the Future
(NHK, 49 min)

Durable lacquerware, tough handmade paper, ultrasharp "samurai swords" and durable ceramics are among the traditional Japanese craftwares that are widely appreciated by artists and collectors all over the world for their unique beauty and functionality. But recently, these items, and the processes developed in their production, are attracting a new audience of admirers - the technicians, engineers and designers of the 21st century's most advanced technologies.

Some traditional crafts are pointing us in important new directions. Environmental problems solved with Urushi lacquer. Key materials for the IT age derived from Washi paper-making techniques. A high-tech metal improved by Japanese sword making techniques. A new space-age material that reflects the insights of a Japanese pottery expert. Even though they have been around for so long, traditional skills are still not fully understood, and some of their newly discovered secrets are leading us towards a brighter future.

Japanese Craftsmen with a Difference
4 x 30 min

Izumi Ando, Metal Sculptor
Mr. Ando specializes in sculpting large animals out of copper.

Kohei Miyata, Goldsmith
Mr. Miyata uses the lost-wax process to create highly original jewelry and combines traditional and modern materials in unusual sculptures.

Ryoji Koie, Potter
Mr. Koie makes traditional and avant-garde works which are esteemed internationally.

Shingo Kojima, Cabinet Maker
As Mr. Kojima makes his furniture in a workshop situated in natural surroundings, he engages in an interesting struggle between the direction of his creativity and the very nature of trees.


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