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Adding Unconventional Ideas to Traditional Crafts to Create Bingata with a Special Sparkle
post : 2019.07.05 08:00
The eye-catching works with colorful and dynamic patterns are created by the Bingata artist, Yuka Arakaki. Many share how her work “gave great energy and hope” as they saw her pieces on display. Her powerful creations are fascinating and leaves many spell-bound.
Yuka has applied glitter to the traditional craft of Okinawa, adding a special shine to Bingata.
It all started when her father, who runs a Chinsuko (traditional Okinawan cookie) shop, asked her to design the packaging for his merchandise. The name of that particular item was Kugani Chinsuko. Kugani means “golden” in the Okinawan language, and just as the name says, he requested the packaging to have “a golden shine” image. This inspired Yuka to introduce glitter into her Bingata designs. Yuka learned the skills in Bingata in her dye design course when she attended Shuri High School. Even as a student, she always wanted to “use sparkling materials on the Bingata designs.”
Nowadays, Yuka’s works go hand in hand with glitter. But there’s also another notable characteristic to her works; digital technology. She creates her designs and digitalizes them to print the patterns directly on to the fabrics for bags and pouches, masking tape, porcelain, and others. This is her original method in creating her pieces.
Presently, Yuka uses traditional Tezome (hand dyeing) and also the modern printing techniques depending on the piece she is creating. She talks about how each of these methods have their own advantages. For example, the hand-dyeing technique brings out the warmth and beauty that you can enjoy only in handmade products, and is truly attractive as it is “one of a kind”. However, pieces with this method can take months to create. On the other hand, the printing technique allows her to make large quantities in one go, and she can deliver her works to a greater number of people. On top of that, those created through the printing technique are more reasonable in cost, which is great for consumers looking to purchase something special at an affordable price. Yuka says, “There was a time when I thought that the significance of Bingata was in its creation by hand…but at the same time, I wanted to offer my works to people who were waiting eagerly.”
Yuka shares how she herself sees how her style of work has changed over the years, from her teens, 20s, and 30s. She has experienced marriage, childbirth, and has visited various places and met with many people. The inspiration she receives from all her experiences are abundant. “I guess it’s only natural to see changes in the style, as the creator is also growing. As I develop and change, I hope to continue creating pieces that I am proud of, at each and every stage of my life.”
Creations by Yuka are just as brilliant as the seas and skies of Okinawa, making them perfect gifts from this wonderful paradise. I hope you’ll pick up a piece for yourself, too, as they’ll continue to remind you of Okinawa long after your visit here.
Address: 2F Connecting Terminal at Naha Airport, 150 Kagamizu, Naha City, Okinawa
Hours: 7:00 to 20:30
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Sachiko Tachi