Brian Whitehead's exhibition opened on Friday night at the Silk Weaving Studio. The show featured works dyed with natural indigo and persimmon tannin. They were beautifully packaged in handmade wooden boxes. The exhibit showed a great sensitivity to natural materials. Bryan brought many items from his silk farm in Japan to stage the show.
The exquisite packaging for these persimmon dyed textiles contains the following text:
This wrap is made from antique Japanese cotton towels called tenugi. The Japanese have traditionally given gifts throughout the year to show appreciation of favours given or expected, to friends, family members, customers co-workers ... everyone. These towels were used in any number of ways; from advertizing to memorable tokens for group outings, even as a towel for prisoners, reminding them to keep a pure heart.
The meanings of the Japanese written characters, the Japanese graphic design sense, the motifs and untangible cultural meanings of such simple a simple item particularly interested me.
Persimmon tannin is a traditional Japanese semi-waterproofing dye. I dipped these tenugi in the tannin early every sunny morning from May to September, they absorbed the summer sun and turned deep crisp brown.
Patched and repaired cloth was a tradition brought to Japan from India in the form of Kesa which was a traditional brown cloth worn by Bhuddist monks. I patched together these traditional old tenugue giving them one more lease on life.
Bryan's exhibition will remain on display until October 8, 2013.