Saturday, August 29, 2009
my magical beans
Years and years before I became involved in Etegami, I dabbled in the art of Chigiri-e, sometimes described as Japanese Torn Paper Collage Art, or even Painting with Paper. Chigiri-e has a long and venerable history in both Japan and China, and was such an enjoyable hobby, that I once considered pursuing instructor certification. But when I discovered Etegami, I was smitten with its relative lack of rules, its simplicity, the freedom to draw as I pleased from the very beginning (rather than years of imitating the teacher until I had "proven" my mastery of the basic skills), and the fact that it combined words with artwork. It fulfilled something in me that Chigiri-e had not.
Recently, however, I had occasion to look back nostalgically to my Chigiri-e days. I was rummaging through my leftover stock of the fibrous, hand-made paper used in the art, when the idea of a collaboration between Etegami and Chigiri-e occurred to me. One characteristic of Chigiri-e is that the layering of the hand-torn pieces of colored paper creates a three-dimensional effect that is not usually possible with Etegami. I tried several experiments, but the most pleasing results came from using the colored paper with a light hand. I glued bits of the special paper on this drawing of bean pods, which resulted in added thickness, texture, and color where the bean bulges are, without overwhelming the drawing's basic Etegami nature.