"The Cream Puff"

"The Cream Puff"
"The Cream Puff" was shown by request @ Liberty Art Gallery, Long Beach Ca. April '12

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Konnichiwa - Welcome to Kyoto

                                                                           Click here for Bead Soup
                                                                               Click here for Waxed Linen
Welcome to another SRAJD challenge. 
    This months challenge theme is "Exotic Locations". 
    This weeks sub-theme is Kyoto, Japan 

   Now, where on earth am I going to find inspiration for this challenge............hmmm

    Let's start with a tour of my apartment. 
    Uchikake - Phoenix embroidered, Japanese wedding kimono hanging on the living room wall.
    A pair of black lacquer geta (wooden shoes) on top of the TV.
   The Japanese wooden block print photo above the wall unit and the red wrought iron Japanese character are the four seasons.
   You can see my collection of wooden Japanese Kokeshi dolls arranged throughout the wall unit.
    My prized possession - a carved black lacquer Chinese coffee table.
    It belonged to my grandparents.
    My great uncle was a merchant marine and brought back a pair of them from the orient in the 1950's. My uncle owns the matching one.
    On top you can see my two foo dog incense burners, and my Thai dragon candelabra.

    My sofa - a wrought iron day bed loaded with pillows. Most of the pillows are made from Japanese obis (kimono belt), vintage Chinese embroidery, or are otherwise Asian themed.
    All but three were handmade by me.

    You can see the rest of my kimono collection hanging in the bedroom.
     Two Furisodes (worn by a maiden, long sleeves), one Tomesode (worn by a married woman, shorter sleeves, less intricate design), and a gold Chinese robe with dragon embroidery.
    My Chrysanthemum sheets and Duvet cover.

    Featured on the Imperial seal of Japan, the Chrysanthemum is the symbol of the emperor and the Imperial family.

    A brightly colored child's kimono with a crane theme and paper lanterns hanging on the bed.
    Even my cat is part Siamese.

    My silk velvet Geisha scarf filters light from a window.
    Even my fleece blanket  has the Japanese symbol for "garden" on it.

        Let's not forget the patio......
    Zen garden complete with Pagodas, Koi pond and fairyland inhabitants. 

As you can see, I have a bit of an infatuation with the Orient. 
    This challenge was a piece of cake for me! 

    Asian influence is something that regularly makes an appearance in my creations.     As a matter of fact my Bead Soup Blog Party collection from last year had two Asian themed sets of jewelry containing handmade paper lanterns. You can view those here


  花見  The Japanese art of flower viewing. Generally Sakura blossoms (cherry). Occasionally Ume  blossoms (plum).

   In the springtime, the Weather Bureau actually reports the blossom forecast. "Sakura-Zensen" literally translates as the cherry blossom front.

    They take this stuff seriously here.    
       Sakura blossom shaped laser cut wood slices have been heavily spray painted to a bright red lacquer finish.

    They're topped with black and white kimono fabric Ume blossoms.

    They hang from handmade copper ear wires.

    Lava bead dangles represent Mt. Fuji.
    Hanami is an excellent excuse to have a garden party.
     Maruyama-koen Park is one of the most popluar places in Kyoto for Hanami viewing parties.


 An upcycled mint tin decoupaged inside and out with Japanese paper. 
    Adorned with Geishas, and transformed into a "snuff box".   
    An Art Noveau style dragonfly button is perched on top of the box. 
    From a carved fan bead in black Cinnabar, dangles a long tassel tail.
    The red arches seen all over Kyoto, are called "Torri".
    These gateways are the traditional Japanese entry to a Shinto Shrine or temple. 
    Symbolically signifying the transition into a sacred place. 

    The red archway of the Torri has been replicated in red Coral beads above the snuff box.
    Hung on unique strand of mixed beads. Red mother of pearl coins, turquoise Greek Mykonos wheels, Chinese Chrysoprase rondelle spacers, white ceramic coins with Japanese characters, Turquoise Chrysanthemums, Peridot green potato Pearls, large blue Mexican Zebra Jasper rondelles, red Coral nuggets, Lava beads, vintage black glass beads with murini, silver plated lantern and barrel beads, and black Komono fabric "Ume" blossoms. 
    Closes with a stainless steel hook through a Japanese Yen coin.
     This vessel will hold close whatever is sacred to you.

"Sadako & The Thousand Cranes"
     Miyako Odori - the traditional cherry blossom dance
    The auspiciousness of the origami crane finds it's origins in Kyoto with the man  named Abe no Seimei who worked as a spiritual adviser to the emperor. 
    He was believed to have mystical powers rivaling those of the Wizard Merlin. 
    Legend has it that he folded a paper crane and turned it into a real one. 

    Fast forward over a thousand years, and we meet Sadako. 
    Sadako was just a toddler when the atomic bomb was dropped on her home town of Hiroshima. 
    By the time she was twelve she was dying of Leukemia. 
    Hearing the legend of a wish being granted for a thousand cranes, she set out to fold them, with a wish that she could live. 
    When she realized she wasn't going to make it she changed her wish to world peace and an end to suffering. 

    "I shall write peace upon your wings, and you shall fly around the world so that children will no longer have to die this way."        - Sadako

    I'm adding my energy to Sadako's wish for world peace.

"This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace in the world" reads the inscription at the base of Sadako's statue in Hiroshima.

A vintage filigree fan pin adorned with a slinky cloisonne dragon was used as the focal.
    Accented with a golden crane, a marble inlay globe, a Peridot briolette, and a gold sakura blossom dangling from a Carnelian rondelle. A small snippet of brilliant red sari silk added for texture.
    The bail was designed in a way that allows the pin to still be removed and worn searately. Then slides right back into it's coil.
   It hangs from a beaded chain of Carnelian rondelles, Green Czech glass rondelles with gold plated bead caps, and vintage blue pressed glass.
 Interspersed with vintage cloisonne Sakura beads and golden origami cranes.
    It closes with a gold plated blossom design toggle.


          "Blue Dragon"


  The blue dragon guards and protects the Zodiac. 
    He symbolizes leadership. 
    These earrings are made from upcylced cloisonne pen casings. Accented with Sari silk, recycled African glass, and Chinese bells.


    Once the home of the most powerful aristocratic of his time. The chief adviser to the emperor transformed his villa into a temple.
    This necklace was named for this temple, seen on the face of the ten yen coin.

        The Pheonix Hall at Byodoin is almost a thousand years old.
    The bell-fry is one of only three original buildings remaining of what was once a huge complex.

    A large cast coin pendant with double black tassels. Strung on black thread with alternating vintage mother of pearl buttons and turquoise lampwork glass beads with an awesome "Lava Lamp" design in red and yellow.
   Across the back of the neck is tightly strung mother of pearl buttons.
   Closes with Chinese Frog knots.
    I hope you have enjoyed your tour of Kyoto. Please don't forget to tip your tour guide.  ;)

    Now head on over to the SRAJD blog and check out everyone else's fantastic Japanese themed creations for this week.

   Just a few more days to a new destination......... Next stop Namibia, Africa.

    Hope to see you there.


  1. AMAZING Kelly! I love how you always weave a story and interesting facts through you post, pulling the art, artist and backstory together!

  2. Hi there! I recently came across a carved red and black lacquer table very similar to the one you've shown here. I've been searching online trying to find out more about it and came across your website. Do you have any more info on the table? Any idea of it's value? Thanks! Gabriella