In Praise of Colours – Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring
Cotton yarn, hand-dyed, hand-woven｜2021-2022 Photo：Ryohei Tomita
In Praise of Colours is four pieces of work that have been inspired by the four seasons where we live. Each piece is made of yarns we have dyed during that season & then wove to make a final expression. Summer is represented by 152 pieces of white material dyed in indigo & then aged, stained, torn & burnt by us to create a ‘boro’ floormat. Michael has always been inspired by patchwork & he finds Japanese boro a very powerful medium to tell a story. The light blues of indigo, rarely used in Japan, express the many blues of Japan’s summer skies. Autumn is represented by a simple piece of weaving, the colours coming from autumn leaves, plants & tree barks. Winter is represented by a very fine piece of weaving mirroring the lightness of snow as it falls and the way it interacts with the river & earth. Spring is represented by one of Yasuka’s handmade shirts, dyed with the early spring plant red nettle & hand embroidered with spring plants & insects. Living on a farm in the deep forest & mountains of Japan, the four season have an immediate & intense impact which we both find unique to Japan.
We are a married couple living in Tochigi for almost 8 years. Michael was born in Australia & has lived in NZ, USA & Europe. Yasuka left Japan after highschool & lived in Australia for the next 20 years, often travelling to Eastern Europe. We are both handweavers & plant dyers, Yasuka also creates clothing & accessories for our handmade fabrics. We left Australia to move into rural Japan to live closer to and be inspired by nature. We live in a 200 year old Minka on our organic farm with 5 cats, wild animals & lots of insects. All our yarns are dyed with plants we grow on our farm & collect in our surrounding mountains. As artists we have found Japan’s nature & the ‘old ways’ of living very inspiring. Our lifestyle has become one of calmness & peace; we feel very privileged to be living in Japan.