Awagami Factory, Yoshinogawa, Japan (2.5 months)
When I arrived to Yoshinogawa the mountains were a deep green color. Two months later the landscape is red, gold, and bare. The sky is grey and rain feels colder. Icy winds rattle the town and the persimmons are picked or fallen. Seasons changed while I lived and worked here. This journey seems like a condensed year taking place in only 9 weeks. It is my last week at Awagami Factory, a week for reflection, creation, and gratitude.
“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. ”— Sir Terry Pratchett
This place and the people became my home away from home. I have fallen in love with the lifestyle here, it is simply yet specific and intentional. Every day is a step forward and each moment feels like the present. Generosity, respect, and hard work are core qualities of all those I meet here. Grateful for my newfound friends, artists, colleagues, and role models. Many of which, I work with daily, living and creating side-by-side.
After working so hard to prepare, install, exhibit, and deinstall the show we are all fatigued, yet determined. Awagami staff continue their busy schedules and artists muster up enough energy to make a few more pieces. I retreat to the printmaking studio, just down the street from the Awagami Factory. With access to printing presses, copper, inks, and stacks of beautiful washi papers this is an opportunity I can’t pass up. I create etchings of web structures, tracing real webs onto plates for carving. Pulled an edition of 8 prints, entitled Traces: Kumo No Ito.
This residency experience was one of the most influential programs I have done yet. The connections I made are life-long. Inspired by the Japanese traditions and culture, I will embody what I learned and integrate it into new work. It is just a matter of time before I must return to Awagami Factory, to explore papermaking in another way — maybe even to work bigger!