Saturday, September 27, 2008


Here is the beginnings of my third tapestry. It is inspired by the personal family history, San Francisco history and the grounds of the museum. A large abstracted element of the curl in this park bench in front of the museum anchors the composition. It is covered in an old family rice bag. Other graphic elements are two large flower hats inspired by the bridal butterfly tie obi in this family photo below. I will also be dangling fortune cookie message strips and recreations of Japanese internment id tags. The fortune cookie was introduced to the U.S. by Makoto Hagiwara, a gardener of the Japanese Tea Garden next to the de Young Museum. He and his family were sent to internment camps during WWII along with the other Japanese American families running the fortune cookie businesses of San Francisco. On the interment tags I will be placing their family names as well as the names of personal family friends interned from Hawaii.

On the fortune cookie strips I will have two messages:

All Japanese persons, both alien and non-alien, will be evacuated from the above designated area by 12:00 o'clock noon Tuesday, April 7, 1942.

Pack your bags. You will be going on an adventure.

The obi and barbed wire elements on the background grid both allude to different forces binding the internment community together: family and fences.

Bench in front of de Young Museum

Family photo

Digital sketch below

In progress image.

I may add more to the flower hats later. I will add the stamen elements and small shoyu bottle cap to the tips.
Brownish red sheer organza is overlayed on top of the rice bag layer.
Next I have started to create the flower elements.

Here is the piece with an old rice bag covering the waste canvas. This Botan rice bag is from my grandma's collection in Hawaii. These rice bags were used to make underwear, aprons and quilt backings.

Spitalfields inspired tapestry continued

I am completing this tapestry now. Here is the completed piece, minus the huge hats. I am still deciding if I will make these. The small blue flowers come off and attach to a hat frame. There as torn sheets of silk attached to the back of the tapestry which is difficult to see here with my muslin background. I hope to get a professional shot of this soon. This piece is not a warped as it appears here.

Here you can see bits of recycled papers: brochures from the de Young Museum (images of French paintings) and Irish tea bags.

Glazing with a new glaze, a two part epoxy mix.

Small flowers attached to hat.
You can see fragments of de Young admission tickets and English tea bags.

Back view of hat.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Spitalfields inspired tapestry

I have started creating my second tapestry for my de Young residency show. Here are some images. This piece is inspired by an English silk weaving in the de Young Museum collection. The piece was created in the silk weaving district of Spitalfields which has a rich history in textile production and drew in people from diverse cultures to work this trade. This district felt much of the growing pains of the Industrial Revolution. French Huguenots escaping persecution in France settled here and brought their silk production skills. Later on lower paid Irish workers came and clashed with their supervising French tradesmen. Riots occurred as silk began to be exported from China and India and the price and demand for home spun silk declined. Angry works would roam about in bands and slash the garments of women wearing imported fabrics. There will be silk fragments dangling in the back to represent this violence.

In this piece I am teasing out elements of the tapestry and creating a new pattern with them. I want to visually explore how emphasizing certain exiting elements can create a new tone and rhythm. This altering of the pattern reflects the changes in the social texture of the Spitalfields district by
new peoples and shifting economic winds. I will be using recycled materials that echo the cultural mix that impacted this district: English and Irish tea bags, Chinese wrappers, French wrappers, and Chinese and Indian silks.

This is where I am with this piece now. It will be viewable from both sides.

Above is the original sketch and the reference fabric .I have changed the color scheme a bit.
Below are some images of the early stages of building this piece. All my cardboard was donated to
me by Chain Reaction Bicycle Shop in Los Altos. Thanks Chain Reaction!

I created a tile in Illustrator from a section of Spitalfields tapestry in the de Young Museum's
collection. I move this about on the cardboard to try to created an even pattern.

Here I have started to cover the sections in wrappers. These wrappers are the under layer. They will be covered in different colored papers.

Below is a leaf motif I abstracted from the Spitalfields tapestry. I created this in Illustrator, printed it out and used it as a template to build these elements.

Here are the leaf elements. They are covered in Chinese food wrappers, de Young Museum entry ticket stubs, English tea bag wrappers and scrap silk from Colleen Quen.

Below is a flower motif pulled and abstracted from the Spitalfields tapestry.

Below is the wire form of the flower. I will be making three of these to go on the tapestry.

Here is the flower papered in the first layer of wrappers and beginning layer of silk.

Here is the flower covered in silk and fragments of French candy wrappers.

Here is the back side of the completed flower. I used scarps of gold paper I had left over from another project.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Completed Ginko Leaf Tapestry

Today, George Young photographed my completed Ginko Leaf Tapestry. I am so grateful to have a great photographer document my work.
This piece is 6ft tall. Media: silk remnants from Colleen Quen, wire, produce netting, Chinese and Japanese food wrappers, fishing floats, Chinese knotting cords, waste canvas and plastic sushi grass.

Detail image

Thursday, September 4, 2008

More Ginko hats

Here are more of the Ginko Tapestry hats for the de Young Museum Residency.
One of my older hats will be used in a fashion photo shoot this Saturday for a hat calendar for The Asian American Cancer Support Network. The fashion photographer, Tony Maesto, is wonderful and I can't wait to see the images he takes.

This Ginko leaf hat is the largest one. It is made of Chinese and Japanese food wrappers, silk, produce netting and Chinese knots (I am learning these knots from a book Stacie Tamaki lent to me. Thanks Stacie!)

This is the back view of the Large Ginko Leaf Hat. The wires and elastic band will be hidden under hair.

Here is a medium sized ginko leaf hat.

Here is the smallest ginko leaf hat. It will fit my four year old perfectly.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Ginko Hats

Here is one of the hats for the Ginko Tapestry. I am making three of these in varying sizes.
This is one of the smaller Ginko hats
worn by one of my friend's daughter. These hats are made of Chinese preserved plum wrappers, Japanese candy wrappers, silks from Colleen Quen and Chinese knots which I am learning to tie. The hat has an elastic band that slips under the hair to hold in place.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Ginko Leaf Tapestry

I have been working two tapestries at once for the de Young Museum residency. I plan on making eight tapestries in total.
Here is the Ginko Leaf tapestry in progress. The leaves will come off and become hats. The green silk is from Colleen Quen. The wrappers on the ginko leaves are Chinese preserved plum wrappers and Japanese Milky Candy wrappers. I will be finishing off the hats with green silk on the underside and am making decorative Chinese knots to add to the hats at the base of the stem.
The leaves here are not in their final position.