Graham Leslie McCallum

The tree of happiness flowers and fruits most abundantly for the creative man

400 Japanese Motifs

400 Japanese Motifs - Graham Leslie McCallum

 

400 Japanese Motifs is a comprehensive collection of motifs drawn from Japanese arts and crafts. The motifs were gathered from suits of armour, to fine silk kimonos, to temple bronzes, to delicately glazed porcelain vessels. The artist, the craftsman, the teacher, and the student, will find the motif or pattern that will give them inspiration, direction and instruction. For the lover of design and beauty, this book is full of the kind of creativity that will brighten and delight the eye. I have included many well known Japanese motifs in this book, such as the crane motif, the fan motif and the cherry blossom motif.

Japanese art is a significant influence on many contemporary creative disciplines, such as Graphic Art, Fabric Design, Interior Design, Needle-Art, Fabric Design and Ceramics.

If you are looking for that perfectly sublime flower pattern to grace your appliquéd cushion, maybe an amusing animal motif for a charm bracelet, or perhaps a striking koi fish tattoo for your shoulder – this book will not disappoint.

The contents of this book are divided into the following chapters… Flowers and Plants/ Animals/ Birds/ Fish/ and Borders and Patterns.

 

INTRODUCTION OF 400 JAPANESE MOTIFS

For me, nothing quite captures the sheer talent and inventiveness of the people of Japan, as do the toggles (called Netsuke) that were used on men’s clothing. Carved from wood, ivory or horn, or fashioned in clay and porcelain, or sometimes carefully woven from cane, the Japanese craftman-artist was able to capture much of the essence of his green and mountainous homeland. Subjects range from the awe-inspiring, like dragons and monsters, to the uplifting, like soaring cranes and summer swallows; and yes, even to subjects like the humble field rabbit, house mouse and grass cricket.

‘400 Japanese Motifs’ is a comprehensive collection of motifs drawn not only from netsuke, but also from many other Japanese arts and crafts. I know their intrinsic creativity will inspire you to similar inventiveness. From within these pages – the artist, the craftsman, the teacher, and the student, will find the motif or pattern that will give the inspiration, direction and instruction they seek. For the lover of design and beauty, this book is full of the kind of creativity that will brighten and delight the eye.

Japanese art and design has had a pivotal influence on the art and design of the World. Quite arguably, this style has had a greater influence on Western art, graphics and applied design than any other. When Japanese art reached Europe in the 15th century, it had an immediate influence on the artists and craftsmen of these lands. Japanese artefacts were avidly collected (as they are today) and their unique designs, as well as the motifs and patterns that they were decorated with, were copied and recopied. This emulated art was to eventually birth a style in the West known as Japonaiserie.

In the 19th century, Impressionist and Expressionist artists such as Degas, Van Gogh, Toulouse Lautrec and Gauguin were exposed to the bold forms, shapes and subject matter of Japanese woodprints. Many of these forms and much of this styling found its way into their now famous paintings. So too for this manual, I have sourced many motifs from these inspirational woodprints.

Besides Painting, Japanese art has been, and is, a significant influence on many other creative disciplines, such as Graphic Art, Fabric Design, Interior Design and Ceramics. Today’s decorator will find rich inspiration in the fine motifs I have sourced from the porcelain and pottery of Japan. In fact the oldest presently known pottery, originated in these islands.

Japanese textiles are another source for this book’s motifs. These brocaded, woven and embroidered fabrics were generally decorated with traditional motifs. Many of these images, such as the crane motif, the fan motif and the cherry blossom motif have entering the iconography of what is intrinsically Japanese. These well known designs are to be found within this book, as well as many other lesser-known motifs. I know that Needle-Artists and Fabric Designers will find this book to be a generous source of imagery.

Even in the present, Japanese creativity remains as influential as it has proven to be in past centuries. Japanese animation and interior design is currently a vibrant source of inspiration for contemporary cartoonist and interior designers. In a very true sense, it is a design style for designers.

What accounts for the remarkable longevity and vitality of Japanese creativity, and its inspiring content? The reason must surely be found within the aptitude and talent the Japanese artist and craftsman has at synthesizing the complex natural world into an imagery that is understated, refined and sensible. He does not seek to impress, but rather, bases his work on a modest sensibility, coupled to careful and considered application. In addition to this, Japanese artists have never thought it beneath them to source their motifs and imagery from everyday events, humble objects and domestic animals. This simplicity is the reason why Japanese art applies itself so perfectly to modern minimalist taste, and allies itself so closely with a modern lifestyle that seeks to un-clutter the environment. Many of these homely images have been assembled in this book for your benefit and pleasure.

I have harvested the motifs in this book from the broad field that is Japanese arts and crafts, so that in application, your particular artistic pursuit is richly catered for. The motifs were gathered from suits of armour picked out in intricate silver tracery, to fine silk kimonos, decorated in exquisite embroidery; from bold temple bronzes, to delicately glazed porcelain vessels.

If you are looking for that perfectly sublime flower pattern to grace your appliquéd cushion, maybe an amusing animal motif for a charm bracelet, or perhaps a striking koi fish tattoo for your shoulder – this book will not disappoint.

Tapping into this rich vein of Japanese creativity, will most certainly lend your creations warm intimacy, sprightly humour, and enduring vitality.

Graham Leslie McCallum

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: