Tuesday, May 25, 2010

etegami tulip garden

Recently I asked a few of my Japanese etegami colleagues to share some of their pieces with me so I could post a mini-exhibit of etegami tulips. In addition to the usual crowd, I also extended the invitation to two new etegami friends I had connected with through Twitter but never actually met.

One of my two new friends mailed me tulips he had painted on a roll of soft-but-durable, washi paper called sansou-hongasen. He had made the envelope from the same paper, and painted on both sides of it as well. It has a wonderful texture, almost like very soft leather.

The second new friend regretfully declined the invitation, saying that the tulip season was over in her part of the country, and she didn't want to draw from memory or from a photo because the resulting etegami would necessarily lack emotional impact. I was stunned by her response on two counts: First, by her artistic integrity, and second, by being reminded that spring did not come to all of Japan at the same time.

In northern Japan, where I live, tulips peaked just last week and are only now beginning to droop and scatter their petals. But in the rest of Japan, this year's tulips are already a distant memory. This means I had put my first new friend in a position where, in order to be agreeable, he had been forced to draw his tulips from imagination. I do regret this, and will have to pay more attention to the changing seasons in other parts of the world the next time I suggest a project like this one.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the colorful display of etegami tulips posted here. I'm thinking hydrangea blossoms would be a good choice for the next mini-exhibit. In Japan, they are associated with the rainy season, which will creep over Japan within a matter of weeks. But in Hokkaido, which does not have a rainy season in the same sense the rest of Japan does, hydrangeas don't generally bloom till nearly August, and then they keep blooming till our early winter comes and the blossoms freeze-dry on the bush. If you have a chance to draw hydrangea in the etegami manner this year, please send me one so I can include it in the next garden post scheduled for mid-August.
Tulip artists:
Michiko Shimizu, Takako Chida, Yoko Ogawa, dosankodebebbie, Ryoko Nakagawa, Yoshikazu Matsumoto



  1. Your etegami is always so beautiful and inspirational! Gorgeous!

  2. Susan, I'm glad you enjoy the blog!

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