Chizuko Minamida



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Materials: Bamboo, Wool yarns, Fabrics, Line strings 
Techniques: Crochet, Coiling
Size: W50cm x D55cm x H35cm
Date Made: 1998


I wish to make work that only exists as one part of the endless renewal of the cycle of nature.

In my present circumstances, I can easily find so many of the things I need without having to make them. There are so many material things around me that I end up surrounding myself with far too many unneeded items. Despite all this, I find myself making more things. Forming images, hunting for materials, moving my fingers, expanding ideas, - I really enjoy these processes of making. When I complete a piece, however, I find that my enthusiasm evaporates. In the past this has made me feel rather negative about exhibiting my work.

All my pieces have a functional purpose in domestic life. From the outset I intend them to be returned to the earth once they have been put to good use. Because of this, I choose only organic materials. Once my pieces are buried back inside the earth they start to provide nourishment that breeds new life.

My main interest in life is to gather an understanding of the underlying order of the natural world. There are many natural phenomena and events in our world, and I used to look at these as isolated individual things. I now see them all as being part of 'Gaiya' - a theory which has broadened my view of how various natural ecologies, including our own human society, combine together to form one organic whole, a universal planetary balance. 

'Bamboo' is the best material for me. It has a light weight and there is something about its very appearance which is refreshing. I can feel a wonderfully crisp texture while cutting and splitting it vertically, and it carries a beautiful smell. Bamboo has very unique and useful qualities. Growing bamboo cleanses the air and protects against bacteria. Charcoaled bamboo becomes a filter for cleaning water, absorbing smells, or is used to condition the soil. Best of all are the new bamboo shoots of spring - my favourite food. Bamboo is not an easy material to knit with. It has, however, been one of the most common materials in Japanese life and history. There is an abundance of useful information about bamboo, and one can easily find examples of basketry technique in antique shops - all of which provides me with ideas.

I am learning now how to make baskets. It is wonderful to learn an ancient technique and an ancient wisdom. Perhaps one day, I might also create my own style.