April 29th, 2012 / posted by paularath

Izukura-san prepares spun silk for dyeing on our work table.

You will probably remember my blogs  – and numerous broadcast and print media reports – about Akihiko Izukura during his visit last January/February. The world renowned textile artist was here to present workshops and a fabulous installation of silk works at both the U.H. and the Honolulu Museum of Art School (Linekona). His huge tunnels of silk, his exquisite sun-dyed garments and his spiritual “Dyeing Ceremonies” took Honolulu’s textile arts to a whole new level.

During his visit, Jerry and I were fortunate to spend some time with him and his entourage. They came to our home for dinner one night and he fell in love with our home and garden. As a result, Izukura-san asked if our home could become his atelier while he’s in Honolulu. His plan is to return to Honolulu one week of each month to study our flora and create new dyes. He will also teach workshops at Linekona starting in August.

It’s our pleasure to have him ensconced in our home, catching our lovely Nuuanu rain in his dyeing buckets, ironing his spun silk on our art table, preparing green tea in the mornings and sharing our meals. I only wish I could speak Japanese! Jerry does speak some Japanese and he has been studying like crazy for several months so we are getting by, language-wise.

He will be with us for two weeks and I plan to blog about his work as it progresses. He brought two huge suitcases of silk in various forms from Japan. Right now he is preparing the silk for dyeing. He does not have any Hawaii materials with which to dye yet. He will be working with Lyon Arboretum on that.  Do you know of any indigo plants he might use? If so, please e-mail me at paula@paularath.com.

In the morning Izukura-san prepares a special green tea for us.

These little goodies from Kyoto precede the tea drinking.

Those little specks are silk worm eggs. We are hoping they will hatch healthily. Izukura-san asked several families to house these trays so he can see which area on Oahu produces the best silk cocoons. Will it be Kahala, Nuunau or Hawaii Kai?

Buckets in our backyard to catch the rain for dyeing.

All sorts of silks ready to dye.

And more silks in many stages.

Natural sun-dyed silks. Some are dyed for an hour, others for a day or week or month.

Jerry and Izukura-san went hiking to the old King Kamehameha summer home off Nuuanu Pali Drive in search of dye materials. None found.

Nevertheless, the hike was enjoyable and rewarding.

Watch here for more on the art of Akihiko Izukura. It’s so rare to find an artist so completely committed to a purist ethic and eco-conscious way of creating his art.

– Paula Rath

What are they saying?
Leave a comment below.
Emma Howard
April 30th, 2012 at 12:33 am

I loved reading this and can’t wait for your next installment of Akihiko Izukura’s work in Honolulu!

Beryl Ono Stapleton
April 30th, 2012 at 2:14 am

paula, bought a couple of things from Fishcake at Izukura’s show earlier this year. Does he have any merchandise here? Aloha, Beryl

Joan Blackshear
May 1st, 2012 at 12:32 am

Hi Paula,
I totally enjoyed your photos here and reading about Akihiko Izukura. Fascinating! Your place looks gorgeous! Aloha,

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