OUR FRIENDS THE INSECTS, WOOLEN WHALERS’ CAPS, AND JAPANESE APPLIQUÉ

I’m going to start introducing some of my zillions of favorite artists (I use the term loosely) in my weekly YouTubes.

This one is on self-taught, 19th-century, deeply Catholic French entomologist Jean-Henri Fabré, who lived in relative poverty, would steal out in the dead of night with his little nets and boxes, collected some of his beloved friends, then spent hours and hours watching and studying them. He wrote a splendid, hightly fascinating book (not academic at all!) called Fabré’s Book of Insects.


While we’re on the subject, as we were last post, kind of, of fabric–

Check out these wonderful photos of Woollen [the British, who apparently translated the site, spell it woollen, while we generally use woolen] Caps Worn by Dutch Whalers at the Rijkmuseum (1650-1800):

From the museum’s website: “In 1980 archaeologists investigated the graves of 185 Dutchmen – whale hunters, and workers at whale oil refineries – who had died on or near Spitsbergen in the 17th century. Many skeletons were still wearing their knitted woollen head coverings. These caps were highly personal. The men were bundled up against the severe cold and could only be recognized by the colours and patterns of their caps. Presumably this is the reason why the caps went with them into their graves.”


Here’s a Japanese appliqué artist I stumbled upon while searching for boxed notecards:

From the site Ayako Miyawaki worked as a kimono seamstress. Thanks to this work, she collected many precious textiles, including traditional Japanese garments as well as those from India, China and other countries. Miyawaki began producing her appliqué work in 1945, at the age of 40, after the end of the Second World War. She then decided to do something for herself. Applied work” was the first thing that came to mind. Her husband, Haru Miyawaki, was a painter inspired by Western portrait artists. Common inspirations can be found in both works.

Completely self-taught, Ayako Miyawaki modeled her own creations on objects she observed in nature and at home, using raw textiles such as cotton, dyed with indigo. She used textiles to recreate the things that surrounded her in her daily life. In doing so, she established an original way of making applied art that was revolutionary at the time. She used Japanese patterns from worn-out fabrics, dyed them in bright colors and cut them boldly, without pattern. Her work was both innovative and an interpretation of tradition.”

I’m super wary of using copyrighted images as there are these horrible shyster companies who make their living scanning the internet and purporting to be preparing to sue you for copyright infringement even though they don’t even own the image. And yes, I know about fair use. But if you’re interested, just google Ayako Miyawaki and tons of her lovely work will appear.

2 Replies to “OUR FRIENDS THE INSECTS, WOOLEN WHALERS’ CAPS, AND JAPANESE APPLIQUÉ”

  1. The video was so good! I’ll have to buy a newer copy for my granddaughter!

    1. It’s truly a classic….

I WELCOME YOUR COMMENTS!

Discover more from HEATHER KING

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading