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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Bamboo Coffered Ceiling


After reading the ceiling post of a few days ago my friend Dan sent me these pictures of his own coffered dining room ceiling.  He did this himself using bamboo wallpaper from Franks' Cane and Rush which he glued to 1/4" luan and tacked up.  The battens are made from #2 pine 1" x 5"s that he chamfered with a router and then followed with an application of four coats of ebonized shellac.

The frieze is peacock blue velvet and the whole room was inspired by one you might remember seeing on this blog in April.... the James McNeill Whistler Peacock Room at the Freer Gallery in D.C..   I think you captured it Dan!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Gotta Love P-town in the Summer!


This is a straight out travel post -- how much fun can you have in one town in two days?  A lot, starting with a 90 minute ride on the high-speed ferry from Boston to Provincetown at the very tip of Cape Cod.  This past weekend was the annual Portuguese Festival and blessing of the fleet.  Provincetown has a strong Portuguese fishing heritage, is a historical center of fishing and whaling in New England, and also is one of the oldest artist's colonies in the nation.  Its long-standing tradition of tolerance has also led to it becoming a mecca for the gay/lesbian community....think the Key West of the north, complete with equally fabulous beaches.

Two great cab fleets!  The Funkmobiles versus the Mercedes....

In my town, if a kid rode on a fire engine during a parade there would probably be a citizen's arrest for endangering minors.  How refreshing!

Dramatic photographs of the grand dames of the Portuguese community on the main wharf......really beautiful (click to enlarge).

the decked out boats....ready to be blessed.

I hope I'm still living my dreams at 78.....

View from the front porch of White Wind Inn (built 1845) on Commercial St......really lovely hosts, wonderful breakfasts, Saturday afternoon open bar cocktail party on the porch which coincided perfectly with the parade passing by!

This panel van delivering to the restaurants pulled up in front of the Inn early each morning.

Finally, miles of incredible bike trails wind through the dunes of the outer Cape.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Paint your ceiling blue and gold....

I love painted stenciled ceilings (as did William Morris).  Here are some with a real arts and craft vibe.  If I was going to do something like this in my house (or palace), I'd paint masonite panels then screw them up with drywall screws and my trusty Makita and put trim over seams.

And finally, three last pics from Kyoto trip of things I thought were really beautiful....

rock alter and bowl

rock bridges in rock garden

rock gutter


Saturday, June 19, 2010

"I've been dressing rocks....

.... since seeing Mo's shrine pic from Kyoto."

I love my colorful, talented, gorgeous aunt Anne!  Here is some more info about why the Japanese put little outfits on the buddhas!

These statues, which are common all over Japan, represent the Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, more commonly known in Japan as Jizu.   Jizu is a beloved divinity who is considered the guardian of children, in particular those who died before their parents.  Because such children have caused their parents so much pain, their souls are cursed by bad karma and thus are not able to cross to the mythical Sanzu River from hell to the heavenly afterlife.  Jizu helps these children by protecting them from demons until they can accumulate enough good karma through hearing mantras to move on to paradise.  Parents leave the offerings of bibs, little hats, etc. in hope that Jizu will also wrap their babies and children in a warm embrace of protection.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto

Inari is the Shinto god of rice and this is the largest shrine to Inari in Japan.  It was founded in 711 and today a path lined by over 10,000 torii gates winds it way up Mt. Inari.

Who remembers Christo's "The Gates" installation in Central Park?

You can read a bit more about torii gates in this earlier post.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kawai Kanjiro, Japan's William Morris

"Any work of art belongs to everyone, because it is whatever each person sees in it.  It is the same with people. We are all one. I am you. The you that only I can see."

 tiger plate

Kawai Kanjiro (1890-1966) was a potter, artist, calligrapher, sculptor, writer and philosopher.  He was one of the founders of the Japanese Mingei ("folk art") movement in the early half of the twentieth century which was responsible for revitalizing and keeping alive many traditional arts in the face of the "great tide of industrialization" that was sweeping Japan.  Kanjiro valued simplicity and beauty in everyday articles of use (sounding familiar yet?), collecting the works of poor craftspeople from all over Asia.  With his compatriots he sought to "counteract the desire for cheap, mass-produced products" by reviving traditional arts.  His output was so tremendous, including over 10,000 glaze experiments carried out while still a student in college, that it was said that a supernatural force was guiding him.

His home and pottery studio have been preserved as the Kawai Kanjiro Museum in Kyoto.

how beautiful is this pussywillow is hung from the kettle hanging over the brazier in the center of the room.

A highly unusual mix of eastern and western style furniture characterized his home....

The gal on first floor above is sitting in front of the brazier -- very much an "open plan" design with sliding panels providing privacy as needed.  Note block and tackle hanging from ceiling in center of house!

the small kiln

This is the first time I've ever seen an Asian "stair" cabinet used as actual functional stairs!  I love how the string of balls serves as a banister.  You can also see how the wall is framed up to the cabinet from the hallway side in bottom pic.

The modest looking face to street.  The curving bamboo structure along the front is a quite common feature of traditional homes in Kyoto and is called inu yarai --- according to what I could discover, it serves multiple purposes including: 1) protecting the earthen or wooden wall from becoming dirty from rain splashing up from the road; 2) stopping dogs from peeing on the wall (Inu means dog); 3) keeping people from loitering in front and leaning against the wall (in days when streets were more crowded), and 4) making it difficult for burglars to climb the wall (I'm sure any self-respecting ninja or parkour-ian would find this last thought amusing.)