by Gail Rieke
’Tis the season…
so perhaps you are thinking about gifting and wrapping…
I first learned about the Japanese art of packaging
from a wonderful book called
How to Wrap Five More Eggs
by Hideyuki Oka
from which I quote
”…the art of Japanese packaging has been disappearing
almost as fast as my interest in it has increased…
I have felt it my duty to save
whatever I can of this transient, vanishing art.”
This art form could be simple and utilitarian using
natural materials at hand,
or the utmost in artistic refinement…
“an aesthetics philosophy that said
everything could and should be made beautiful
and a value system in which all objects,
large or small expensive or cheap, were of real value.”
A little story:
One snowy day right before Christmas,
there was a paper bag in front of my front door.
It contained six objects.
Four of them are pictured
(one above and three below)
with xeroxed numbered descriptions of each object
from this book How to Wrap 5 More Eggs,
which has been an inspiration to me over the years.
Who left them there?
I never did find out…
but if you are reading this now… THANK YOU
it’s easy to see how this sensibility
has influenced my artistic expression…
Another aspect of traditional packaging is
the ancient “consideration of wrapping and packaging
as a sort of sacred ritual.”
This could be a lovely thing to consider
in this season as you give and receive.
Gail Rieke is an internationally recognized collage/ assemblage/ installation artist and teacher who lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She also publishes a monthly blog, ridetheflyingcarpet.blogspot.com. Gail has traveled to Japan many time over the years, and has co-led numerous tours with Steve Beimel.