Things were different at our recent 10 Day Tokiwa Gallery! Silly! Quirky! Unexpected! Laughable! and Surprising!

Starting with a SPECTACULAR SHISHI MAI DANCE performed by Father and Son who live in the neighborhood. Son, an evolved and accomplished 40 year old Down’s Syndrome artist, was the head. Father was the tail. Their teamwork, punctuated by a lively drummer and recorded music, was perfectly performed and deeply touching, to say nothing of hugely energetic! The two men were clothed in a long homemade body of colorful sewn together strips of varying patterns and fabrics, and a heavy red ShiShi mask of thick layers of paper mâché, they danced for maybe 20 minutes as they cavorted from the street to inside the shop, exorcising all evil spirits and protecting the celebrants as they pranced. How we all need it in these frightening Corona Virus times!

It was an exciting opportunity to show our collections, and Becky Well’s imaginative reworkings of Flea Market treasures, as well as the works of two special abilities centers that we feature at BLUE & WHITE. Tamagawa Fukushi Sagyo Center and Sora to Umi in Funabashi. Plus a special room filled with BORO! So many images to share, that we will be quiet and let the photos speak for themselves with the occasional caption.

At the entrance, a beaded African Yoruba beaded prince from Nigeria welcomes visitors with his folded paper gohei from Shimane to purify, and his indigo shibori mask to protect him from any virus. Indigo is said to grant immunity from bugs and snakes and germs.

Next to the entrance, was an altar with a Goddess, perhaps, of colorful silk threads by a 19 year old woman, floating on a thread sampler cloud also from SORA TO UMI Special Abilities Facility in Funabashi, just outside of Tokyo.

Houses, houses, houses. A favorite thing to collect for both Becky Wells, artist, and my fellow collaborator, and me. In clay and cloth and glass and wood and stone – houses of all kinds, hold our lives and house our dreams together. Behind a backdrop of raw washi by an aspiring young washi artist in Niigata who makes thick indigo and natural color washi buttons as well!

Books and pencils, creatures and faces make us laugh and wonder what they are, who made them and why?

on the top right is a miraculous tapestry of the Sumida River sewn by the gifted young man who performed the ShiShi Mai dance. It took him three years to complete. The needlework is impossibly dense and brilliant! The waves and fireworks and bridges are all in sight in front of the gallery, just minutes away from where he lives. We share the river with the famous haiku poet Basho.

Rusted iron wire sculpture with various unknown objects on a stepping stool with embroidered indigo length of old hemp cloth behind. To the left a whimsical wooden carving of a colorfully made up face from Shobu Gakuen, a remarkable special abilities facility in Kagoshima, in Kyushu, with offering of oranges.


Curiosity Table: Threads from a small red kimono and a larger white one are art on their own together, with a box filled with old stamps, a free form branch and a rusty spiral are an original collage of fascinating things created by Becky Wells.


Washi Imari! Hand painted soba cups and tea cups inspired by antique blue and white ceramics. Behind, a drawer frames the grouping of Edo era carved wood saints. Flea market transcended! The art and imagination of Becky Wells, gifted partner in the POP UP


Toilet kits large and small and huggable pillows of zingy tenugui material in by YAYA.


Jewel like stitchery on antique indigo pins sewn by the clever artisans of Tamagawa Special Abilities Workshop


Coasters too. Or even patch pockets for your jeans


School’s cancelled. Lots of children came to write out their dreams, fold origami, and and stick them in the mountain of paper scraps.


Contented customer returns the next day to show us how stunning her new embroidery is when matched with her own outfit.


contented companion Basho in front of a cardboard screen by then 14 year old granddaughter Ruby Momo


stunning sheer linen hanging with stitched shapes of white by Sora To Umi – Sky and Sea

Wild mix of ragweave old jeans, woven wool plaid stitched by Yoshida Ichiro, THE ULTIMATE ORIGINAL! Discovered at MAIYU GALLERY in Kyobashi.

Whether it be a stitched length of cloth, or a carved wooden face, a button or a painting; whether it was created by a child or a person with disabilities, an old man or woman or someone without impairment, art comes from somewhere within. There is a spark of creativity that all these artists were born with. Conscious or unconscious, that spark can be encouraged and nourished. Our POP UP SHOP AND SHOW shone a light on a selection of artists who bring lightness and joy to our lives with no boundaries between able artists and others. We thank and encourage them all.

Author Amy Katoh is proprietor of Tokyo’s iconic Blue and White Shop. Blue and White is like a salon for established and budding artists, craftspeople and collectors, as well as for newcomers to Japan who are trying to find their way through one of the world’s largest and most exciting cities. It has created a much needed international forum for a generation of creative people to share their work.

Read more blog postings by Amy Katoh on her site :   http://blueandwhitetokyo.com



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