‘The pathos of things,’ is the translation of the Japanese concept mono no aware. This concept is about being aware of how fleeting life is, and the deep but gentle sadness that comes from that awareness. However, I believe that the acknowledgement of impermanence doesn’t just mean embracing change, but valuing the experience of the moment.
This concept is woven into Japanese culture in many ways, including the enthusiasm for new technology, a very seasonal approach to food, and even as minutely as the kanzashi that correspond to specific annual events. There is a gentle sadness when watching the cherry blossoms fall, but also great joy in knowing that with summer heat comes visits to the seaside. That juxtaposition is the feeling this collection seeks to capture.
I’ve thus far crafted kanzashi that were meant to be worn. Meaning, although they are beautiful, they didn’t come with a handy way to display them. Kanzashi are delicate, and like paintings, are not meant to sit in direct sunlight as that can cause their colors to fade. But, I don’t like the thought of just keeping them in a dark box. Nothing can last forever; I want to enjoy my kanzashi both as art, and as functional hair accessories while I can.
That’s where the canvas comes in. I’m going to combine gallery wrapped canvases with removable tsumami kanzashi hair accessories. My goal is for the two pieces – the kanzashi and the canvas – to function as standalone pieces of art, which can be combined to create a greater whole. You can enjoy the beauty of your kanzashi even if you aren’t wearing, because it has a home on your wall.
This collection will explore the concept of mono no aware by combining traditional craftsmanship and motifs with modern materials and techniques. I’m going to begin with four miniature pieces that follow seasonal themes. These miniature pieces will serve as test pieces for my new materials, and a warm up for my larger Seasonal and Transitional pieces.
This page will serve as a catalog of all the progress updates, photos and information regarding this collection. Whether you’re a kanzashi enthusiast or would up here by accident, I hope you enjoy following my artistic journey as I bring The Pathos of Things into being.