Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Traditional World of Kimono

The Lakeshore Fiber Arts Guild will present "The Complex Nature of the Traditional World of Kimono," a talk by Holland resident Etta Hesselink on Wednesday, Nov. 3, at 7pm at the Holland Area Arts Council, 150 E. 8th Street, in downtown Holland.  The public is invited to attend with a $7 donation for nonmembers.

Mrs. Hesselink, who spent 20 years living in Japan and collected kimono and the related accessories such as obi, says “To the casual observer, wearing a kimono may seem to be a simple matter, but to the knowledgeable Japanese, it is an exceedingly complex and expensive choice filled with innumerable pitfalls. It quickly becomes an investment, not primarily a choice of vestment." She will show a DVD about wearing kimono and illustrate her talk on the beauty and artistry of kimono with many actual pieces such as wedding kimono, obi, fabrics and books for up close viewing by the audience.

The Muskegon Museum of Art will begin an exhibit on Oct. 21 of a portion of Mrs. Hesselink’s collection entitled, “Splendid Threads,” running through January 23.

Earlier this year the Saugatuck Center for the Arts exhibited many kimono in her collection. The collection included fabulously embroidered kimono, indigo dyed, ikat woven kimono, and kimono for children. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Boisali Biswas Intersections of Cultures and Traditions: A Fiber Artist’s Journey

At our October meeting last week, we were inspired seeing Boisali's work.  Sue Vegter wrote; "The thing that impressed me the most about Boisali's art is that she is constantly changing and evolving, and yet she stays true to her inspiration of nature and her love of the primitive.  She uses many different colors and techniques, and yet her pieces are integrated and in many cases tell a complete story as in the case of the quilts involving her daughter."

Suzanne Shirey, a guest at the meeting, said that the quilts involving Boisali's daughter incorporated photo transfers, and a three dimensional  booklet she had written at the age of four.  She was impressed by the variety of techniques Boisali uses.

Following is Boisali's Artist Statement....

I believe a work of art bears the stamp of individuality and the national bearing of its creator when it springs from self, devoid of pretensions.   Being from India, I have always had a deep-rooted attachment to traditional folk art and culture of India and owe my stylization to its captivating traditional patterns.  The rich array of colors, used in Indian Art, crafts and textiles have always played an important role for me. 
My coming to this country in 1990 and exposure to other contemporary work in fiber art opened up a new horizon for me.   I am always trying to explore and incorporate new directions in my work and am fascinated by the endless possibilities of the medium.  I   had my BFA from Visva-Bharati University at Shantiniketan in India (a centre for Indian Culture, a seminary for Eastern Studies and a meeting-place of the East and West).  The university had been founded by the poet, writer, painter, musician, educationist, philosopher, Nobel Laureate (Literature) Rabindranath Tagore (  The setting and teaching methods of Visva-Bharati are awe inspiring.  All the curricular and extra-curricular activities are in tune with nature.  It lives up truly to its motto ‘Where the world makes a home in a single nest’ in every step of the way.  The years and the education at Visva-Bharati have had a profound influence on my mind and my creative abilities.
During my initial stay in Columbus, Ohio, I worked for sometime at various art centers and had many solo shows, in the area.  I later decided to do my MFA, and went to Bowling Green State University (OH), with graduate assistantship.  My MFA helped me tremendously and gave me ample opportunity to get exposed to the numerous techniques and materials. 
In spite of living in this country for so many years and embracing new techniques and materials, my works still reflect my innate cultural heritage.  The traditional folk motifs consciously and subconsciously appear in my work, however, only for their imagery.   Though the application and significance of color is central to Indian art, just like the motifs, I have used them extensively with my interpretations and not with the traditional symbolisms.
My other fascination has been prehistoric and tribal arts from around the world.   Their influence has also made recurring appearances in my work.   My subject matter is drawn from my own life experiences, thoughts and surroundings and they find expression through a blending of tradition, cultural heritage, modern and traditional techniques and materials.   My primary goal remains to enhance the integration of Indian flavor into contemporary fiber arts.  I feel like my journey has just begun and I have a long way to go…

For more information and pictures please go to Boisali's website.