Saturday, 17 July 2010
Those of you who know me in real life will know that I spent a number of years working as a stage manager. A fabulous part of this time was spent at the Cannon Hill Puppet Theatre in Birmingham. I didn't realise it at the time, but the Artistic Director there, John Blundell, had and still has the the same passion and interest in creating and designing figures as I now have for my Japanese embroidery. He studied with a number of Japanese masters in the fields of Bunraku and Noh, and I remember him carving with care faces and mechanisms of various figures, as well as Noh masks. Watching John and Craig (the other craftsman in the workshop) turn a square piece of limewood into a face with character and life was a remarkable thing. At the time I wondered why he made such a point of using the Japanese made carving tools. Now, of course, I understand, we use our Japanese hand made needles for the same reason. Without such quality tools made specifically for the task it would be impossible to create our work with the required level of technical skill and artistry. Looking back, I can now see many similarities between Johns insistence on quality of tools, materiels, design, workmanship and our own insistence on quality fabrics and silk threads for our Japanese embroidery. It is the difference between art and craft. John has a huge collection of figures, masks, books, and many many other things related to, but not restricted by puppetry and the whole point of this post was to give you the link to the site. So here it is The world through wooden eyes - check it out, and if you are in the area visit if you can. Sorry no photos, I've got dozens of them somewhere from all the shows, but they were before digital cameras and can I find the prints! Anyway, plenty on the other site, have fun.