Wednesday, March 4, 2009

2008-09 Graduating Works Exhibition 平成20年度終了作品展

This past Saturday, Caitlyn and I went to the Tokiwa department store in Beppu to check out the graduating works exhibition held by this year's Bamboo Craft Center trainees. We were greeted by the school's teachers and many of the trainees who were there to give demonstrations and promote their work (all wearing yellow jumpers).

 先週の土曜日、私とケイトリンはトキハ別府店の広場で開催中の平成20年度「竹工芸科」終了作品展に行ってみた。そこで先生と学生の笑顔に迎えられ(みんな黄色いジャンパーをまとっている)、少しおしゃべりをしてから作品を鑑賞させてもらった。

All together there were four tables set up. One table displayed baskets that all the trainees were assigned throughout the year to get them to acquire basic basket-making skills. (In the picture below, baskets are arranged in the order they were assigned, with the first assignment being on the far end of the table, and the last assignment closest to the camera.) I believe these baskets are the ones that I myself will learn to make in the coming year.



 四つのテーブルの中に一つは基本課題作を展示していた。最も簡単なカゴ(写真の奥の方)から始まって、課せられた順番で(手前へと)並べてあった。僕もこんなものを作れるようになるのかな、と感心してしまった。

On the three remaining tables were exhibited the final assignments, in which the trainees were asked to design and then make their own individual baskets. There was obviously a greater range of expression--and a greater degree of risk taking--going on with these baskets; as you can see in the photo there are more shapes and sizes.


 残りの三つのテーブルには応用課題作が置いてあって、その作品群からは訓練生の表現の幅の広さが感じられ、それぞれ大きさ、形、色などの組み合わせが違っていた。ところで、一人の先生のおっしゃったことによると、ひとつの作品を除くすべての作品について展示会が開幕したその朝の最初の15分のうちに売約が締結された。ということに僕は肝をつぶしてしまった。値段が以外と安かったからなのだろうか、ハヤっと思った。一番高い値段は3万円くらいだったそうだけど、同じ作品をアメリカへ持って行って売るとしたら、1000ドル(10万円)以上で簡単に売れるはずだ、という気が僕はしたんだけど。

According to one of the teachers, sale contracts for all but one of the baskets were completed within the first fifteen minutes the morning they started the exhibition. Selling prices started at about 1,600 yen (about 15 US dollars) for one of the simpler baskets, and went up to 20,000-30,000 yen ($200-300) for the larger, more intricate baskets---a complete shock to me since many of them took a month or more to make. Certainly many of these could have been sold for a higher price in the US, and it made me wonder why, if they sold them so quickly, they didn't attach a higher price here in Beppu (perhaps it has something to do with the school being tax-funded).

 デモンストレーション・コーナーでは、鈴木さんという方に声をかけ、竹の割り剥ぎの作業を披露していただいた。訓練生で手を切らない人はいないそうで、今度作業を見せてもらっている時も鈴木さんは親指と人差し指の間を数回、血が出るほど切ってしまった。これは包丁でではなく、割りたての竹の角で。僕とケイトリンが帰る時点では、鈴木さんの右手はテープや絆創膏で覆われているほどだった。これを見て、4月に始まる訓練への楽しみと緊張感が一段と増した気分になった。


In the demonstration corner, a man named Suzuki-san showed us how the bamboo trunk is split and fashioned into strips that make up baskets. He also showed us how easily his hands bleed from being lashed by the bamboo's sharp edges in the process. By the time Caitlyn and I left, his right hand was covered in tape and bandages. Supposedly, trainees are allowed to wear gloves for the first month of training, but after that no such mercy is shown. One girl we spoke with showed us the scars on her chin, sustained when she was whipped while trying to bend longer strips. "We're aiming to be craftsmen," Suzuki said. "No one doesn't get cut." All the more for me to look forward to when classes start in April!

3 comments:

  1. Scarring and bleeding. Ganbatte!!

    This is gonna sound corny, will you be able to make a picnic basket?

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  2. oooh, you just wait and see. by the time i'm done training i'll be able to make you a basket with three tiers and a handle and a drawer for silverware--if that's what you need.

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