dimanche 15 juillet 2018

Appreciating The Finer Things With Japanese Cloisonne

By Dennis Graham

Artistic expression is a cornerstone of humanity. The ability to look at the world and capture the beauty of it is something that is uniquely human. Now, given the sheer number of people out and about in the world, it would only make sense that each culture has its own way of expressing their own artistic visions, and Japanese Cloisonne is just one of them.

Cloisonne is a method for applying art. While the actual terminology has etymological roots in France, the practical examples that most people will think of are anything but. Most of them are East Asian in origin, coming from countries like China and yes, Japan.

The history of it in Japan begins in the Meiji period. At the time the samurai class, once one of the highest ranks in society, had taken quite a social tumble. Many samurai had to live on a paltry income. Then one of the decided to supplement their income, and they did that by using art. They took a piece of Chinese enamel and then deconstructed it, in the process learning the methodology in its creation. Once that samurai learned the process, they took on students. The resulting pieces would become highly desired exports once Japan reopened itself to the rest of the world after going through an isolationist phase.

Cloisonne is used for one thing. That would be to make what is dull bright. See, most plates and bowls are plain, with no decoration about them. True, they serve their purpose well enough with any such frivolity. But it would not hurt to look good while also being practical.

The way it is done is fairly simple. First, fine wires must be applied in order to lay out the area to be decorated. Then enamel paste is applied on to the designated areas, almost in the same manner as a child would color in a coloring book. Once that is done, the whole thing is heated and then subsequently polished.

There is still some use for it in the modern day. First of all, the process is timeless. Simply painting things straight on an empty canvas like a jar is all well and good, but there is far less care taken into it. Now, the cloisonne process, while taking a little longer, is also going to a cut above.

The materials involved are fairly simple. First of all, the thing to be painted, and that is usually something made out of copper. Then there is the enamel paste for the colors. Finally, there is the wiring, for the mapping out process.

Patience is a virtue. Since this can take time, an artist needs to have a clear schedule. They also need the patience to get through it without blowing a gasket.

Human being like things that are pleasing to the eye. The world is not always so. But there are ways to make parts of it nice to look at.

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