My paintings are a personal documentation of places I have been. For the three makura byoubu I chose the Edo-streets of Mino as starting-point. During my walks through the streets, taking photos, it's then I noticed how the modern buildings mingle with the traditional buildings. This mingling with modern buildings is the main image of the three makura byoubu.
The makura byoubu exists of two joined panels. Standing in front of the panels, the distance to where the panels are joined is the biggest. Perspective is not a subject in my artwork, but this feature made it a nice experiment. The result is an untypical image of the Edo-streets of Mino. I have painted places easy to overlook between the traditional buildings. The colored paper I made during this workshop plays part in the composition and use of colors of the paint.
Makura byoubu is a pillow screen. This type of byoubu is put next to the pillow to protect from drafts, to put clothes and accessories on and to give some privacy when used in a ryokan.
I am interested in traditional Japanese architecture and did some research on the use of paper in interiors. Today the most known screen is probably the one used at tea- ceremonies. I hardly found any information about makura byoubu. Fortunately Ichihara-san could tell me more about its' history. What I find so fascinating about the makura byoubu is that it's quite unthinkable to lie so close near a painting, sleeping next to it. It made me think about what kind of painting one would want to sleep next to.. and what kind of painting not.
View here the installation displayed at the Mino Washi Museum
In a previous post I mention that I want to use the large-sized colored paper I made during a workshop. Ichihara-san who came to our studio to bring the Makura byoubu saw the paper. He told me it needs "urauchi" before pasting it on the panels. I went to his studio to see how "urauchi" is done.
Urauchi 裏打from JAANUS
A technique used to line or back a piece of paper or fabric. Generally, a strong piece of Japanese paper *washi 和紙 is pasted over the entire backside of the paper or fabric. Kouzo 楮 (paper mulberry; Broussonetia kajinoki, see *choshi 楮紙) is always used for the paste. After the backing paper is pasted onto the main paper or fabric, the whole is dampened again and posted on a drying board so that both dry flat and taut, with minimal shrinkage.
I was looking forward to today, because we would make large colored papers! For my final artwork at the Mino Washi Museum, I want to paint on colored Mino paper, preferably one I make myself. The idea is to make a painting in which the colors of the paint relate to the colors of the colored paper.
I was a little nervous, because the size of the large paper just matches the size of the panels of the Makura byoubu. I need the width of the Makura byoubu to be the same as the width of a tatami-mat. There are three standard sizes used for tatami-mats, but they differ only a few centimeters.
Each artist was able to make two large sized papers. It took a lot of time to make just one paper. We were dependent on one another: throwing the pulp at the same time into the frame, getting rid of excess water, putting it on the heating element etc. It was very nice to do and I was satisfied with the outcome.
For my final artwork I want to paint on a Makura byoubu, literally a "pillow screen". A byoubu is a folding screen which consists of multiple joined panels. Today Ichihara-san came to our studio to show the different kinds of byoubu. Each byoubu has its own function, for example one is used only at tea-ceremonies.
After having explained the reason for wanting to paint on a Makura byoubu, Ichihara-san told me more about its history. Makura byoubu were typically seen in a Ryokan (Japanese inn) about 100 years ago. They were used to separate each futon (bed), giving each person some privacy. It is to be expected that these Makura byoubu were not decorated with fancy paintings; maybe there was a poem written on it. Ichihara-san added that the people having slept next to the screen, maybe left a few scribbles.