Traditional Japanese Motifs Playfully Repurposed by Ruri Clarkson

Traditional Japanese motifs like the pine tree and plum blossom have been around for hundreds of years in Japan. Some reference the shinto religion while others reference the emperor, or simply aspects of nature. Perhaps because of this history the motifs can come with a lot of baggage, so to speak. “I could feel the old motifs sinking deeper into the waters of the past,”says Tokyo-based visual artist Ruri Clarkson. Chromatope is Clarkson’s attempt to “liberate traditional motifs from the weight of history” and reintroduce them into daily life as embroidery patterns that can be worn on dresses, shoulder bags and backpacks.

Clarkson’s Chromatope series series was inspired by the #metoo movement in 2017 as female voices spread around the world in unprecedented scale. The title of the series borrows from the Greek words for color (chroma) and common place (topos). In producing the embroideries, Clarkson preserved the techniques and levels of craftsmanship, but offered playful colors and new canvases.

Chromatope will be in display in Tokyo from July 11 – July 16, 2018 at Creative Lounge MOV, which is on the 8th floor of the Hikarie department store in Shibuya. For those who can’t make it there in person, Clarkson also offers some of the pieces online.

The embroidery pattern of “Lucky Pine Cotton Dress” pairs heavy pine tree motifs with light, cheerful dandelion blooms

Clarkson at her studio in Tokyo creating Red Battle Scene Pochette, Battle with Henoheno Monster

1 Comment

  1. The Untourists

    June 29, 2018 at 1:25 am

    Reminds me so much of amazing block prints from India…

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