Vacarda Design will be taking part in Belfast Design Week by running a presentation workshop on the topic of Tradition, Innovation and Craftsmanship on the 9th of November. If you are around on the day, come over to the old Butchers Building in Belfast for a chat about all things old and new, and how artisanship and art can survive (and thrive!) in the modern design world, and perhaps try your hand at plastering. Don’t forget to grab your coffee! We’ll keep it small and cosy so places are limited. You can book yours here:

 

http://belfastdesignweek.com/events2019/2019/11/9/big-design-day-out-tradition-artisanship-and-innovation-in-product-design

 

 

 

Notes from a recent trip to Japan about Japanese linen, noren and the importance of tea drinking.

 

 

 

In April, I travelled to Japan to see the sakura in blossom. The trip was short, mad and awe-inspiring. What I brought back were unforgettable experiences, some handmade pottery to go with the Kyoto matcha tea and rolls of exquisite linen that I recently turned into an artwork.

 

 

Original plaster and Japanese linen artwork from Tanya VacardaOriginal plaster and Japanese linen artwork from Tanya Vacarda
decorative plaster on linen, Tanya Vacarda

 

 

 

Undyed Japanese linen has is an understated beauty. It has a simple, open weave and is highly tactile. It is often used to make noren, which are traditional interior divider panels. Those still hang in front of many doors in Japan.

 

 

 

 

Ceremonies, large and small, are an important part of Japanese life. Tea making, morning meditation, cleaning, cooking, even breathing… Through these daily rituals, I learnt, come the appreciation of life’s subtleties and the opportunity to slow down, pause and observe our surroundings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Japanese people have special relationship with nature and their surrounding. They shape it, trim and prune it, keeping the perfect balance of symmetry, hand-made elegance and natural spontaneity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The natural elements – a power beyond human control – are also a popular theme in traditional Japanese visual art.

 

 

Original artwork from Vacarda DesignOriginal artwork from Vacarda Design
Italian Plaster on Japanese linen

 

Original artwork from Vacarda DesignOriginal artwork from Vacarda Design
Italian Plaster on Japanese linen

 

Original artwork from Vacarda DesignOriginal artwork from Vacarda Design
Italian Plaster on Japanese linen

 

Original artwork from Vacarda DesignOriginal artwork from Vacarda Design
Italian Plaster on Japanese linen

 

 

There is a view that art is about dissecting life into a multitude of moments to preserve them in our memories as well as in still imagery. This thought is close to the belief that a human mind that finds peace can conquer time – otherwise fluid and intangible.

 

 

Original artwork from Vacarda DesignOriginal artwork from Vacarda Design
Italian Plaster on Japanese linen

 

Original artwork from Vacarda DesignOriginal artwork from Vacarda Design
Italian Plaster on Japanese linen

 

There are many paths to reaching the state of a super-mind, one of them lays at the bottom of a matcha tea cup.

 

Images credits - Tanya Vacarda @ Vacarda Design.

 

 

An artwork collaboration with Jacqui-May Wylie of The Copper Otter studio.

 

 

 

I met Jacqui-May over Instagram and immediately fell in love with her work and warm personality. I had an idea of joining yarn and Italian plaster together, and Jacqui-May’s excitement sealed the deal. Next thing, I was driving to Lisburn, halfway between Belfast and Lurgan, to meet her for coffee and to show the pliable plaster samples. A few months and trials later, interrupted by summer, we made On The Shores, our first collaboration bespoke artwork.

 

 

 

 

Jacqui-May Wylie is a self-taught Irish weaver from Co. Armagh. Jacqui's studio is nestled in the townland of Toberhewny, where she hand-weaves using the traditional skills that have formed such a rich part of Ireland's history. Jacqui works with a wide variety of ethically and locally sourced yarn and textiles: some are naturally hand dyed; others are from the cutting room floors in India where seamstresses gather scrap sari material, tear it into strips, dye it and tie it together. They then sell it as ribbon to generate extra income, giving them independence. Using such a wide variety of materials gives each of Jacqui's bespoke pieces a unique richness and an individual story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This work was inspired by the dramatic shoreline of Northern Ireland, the perpetual dance of the sea, the wind and the hills and the beautiful harmony of these contrasting elements married together by the nature of the land. The woven part of the work has a strong pronounced texture, echoing the region’s hilly landscape that is saturated with warm colours ranging from intense burgundy to various shades of clay. The plastered part is a reference to the milky skies and misty sea.

 

 

 

 

On The Shores is made with high-quality pure wool yarn and Italian plasters on a pine wood base.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find Jacquie-May’s work on Instagram @thecopperotter.

 

Image copyright Tanya Vacarda @ Vacarda Design