Dela Studios

Sewing Seeds

Tribute to Toshiko Takaezu

In the month of March 2019, the Ludington Area Center for the Arts is celebrating women in the arts with a month-long exhibition.  Local artists were asked to create a piece of art in honor of a female artist of their choosing.  Karen’s tribute is to Toshiko Takaezu. 

TOSHIKO TAKAEZU
Born 6-17-1922 in Pepeekeo, Hawaii ● Died 3-9-2011 in Honolulu, Hawaii
Lived most of her life in Quakertown, New Jersey

 "In my life I see no difference between making pots, cooking and growing vegetables... there is a need for me to work in clay... it gives me answers for my life."       -Toshiko Takaezu

Toshiko Takaezu is considered one of the most important ceramicists in America.  Among the places she studied & taught was Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.  Her work spans 6 decades & can be found in museums around the world.  Toshiko’s life & work has influenced countless generations of artist, collectors & students.

It is her philosophy of life, as well as the creative process that has encouraged me to find my own creative voice.  Her work was influenced by her soulful connection to the natural world & her beloved gardening.  On the surface we are quite different.  It’s in our inner space, that deep interior of self, in which we are very much alike.  So, to this I honor the works of Toshiko Takaezu with my textile art.

She found inspiration along Devastation Trail at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for her series “Forest” (simplistic tree forms with no branches).  The works in this series are titled Tree-Man Forest, Lava Forest, & Ceramic Forest, some standing over 8 ft. tall in honor of the dense rain forest that was devastated by the 1959 eruption of Kilauea.

I chose Toshiko’s “Forest” series as inspiration for my series “Sewing Seeds”.  My works are titled Corn & Tomatoes, Beans & Taters and Cukes & Pumpkins in honor of the unsung heroes of the garden—leaves.  They are vital to the fruit we covet.  Once they have completed the task of delivering nutrients to that prized fruit, their labor continues through death, falling to the ground enriching the soil for the next generation of that beloved fruit. 

All the leaves I used came directly from my vegetable garden.  The seeds were planted in the spring & nurtured throughout the summer.  Upon maturity, they were cut & dried before the process of designing & sewing could begin. 

“You plant a tiny seed and all these beautiful things happen.  You can’t just throw a seed and say ‘grow’.   Like anything else if you want to do it well, you have to get involved.  You have to pull the weeds, feed and water the plants.  You have to give attention and be sympathetic. You have to put part of yourself into it.”       -Toshiko Takaezu

 Soli Deo Gloria

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