Okinawa Tourism Information:Zumi(Wonderful)MiyakoIsland!KyokoOgawawhoWeavesHerWorkwithSpiritualLeavesofKuba(StudioYui)

Zumi (Wonderful) Miyako Island! Kyoko Ogawa who Weaves Her Work with Spiritual Leaves of Kuba (Studio Yui)

post : 2018.06.30 21:00

“Studio Yui” is a studio / gallery of a craft artist named Kyoko Ogawa, and it is located in a downtown area of Miyako Island. It has a casual atmosphere that people can stop by after walking the neighborhood. 

This studio was used to belong to Kyoko’s father who was a painter. After Kyoko took over this studio from him, she started to exhibit some artworks, and she also works on making her artworks at this studio. The day I visited this studio, potteries made by her acquaintance were exhibited. Croton and a lamp shade made by Kyoko made potteries look well. 

Kuba (Livistona) is believed as a spiritual tree in Okinawa, and it grows in many spiritual spots of Okinawa. Also, greenery kuba trees grow at the eaves of this studio and welcome customers while receiving sunlight. 

“As a craft artist, I am just expressing its attractiveness and possibility by using materials in our daily lives. While involving with craft art for many years, I started creating my own art. If I really have to express about my work in a word, I would say the characteristic between art and craft art.” Kyoko said. She shows respect to kuba trees as a material and spiritual object. By the way, don’t you think a leave of kuba and Kyoko’s palm are very lookalike?

Leaves of kuba were used as materials to make everyday tools and toys long time ago. If you have visited Okinawa before, you might saw a fan or hat made with leaves of kuba. The object on this photo was created based on an inspiration that Kyoko had when Kyoko visited Kudaka Island, known as the island of God. She makes a variety of artworks from palm-sized objects to big-sized objects that can hang from the ceiling or decorate walls. 

This is a lamp shade which goes well with modern buildings. It seems like Kyoko’s artworks have a “remnant” of kuba tree itself. Also, its organic atmosphere creates the natural situation.

This work is titled “Eleven,” and it looks like spiral galaxy or spiral dragon. She reflected her thought to this work to show respect all humankind since everybody has different personalities and thoughts. She looks at things from a craft artist’s point of view and creates her works by getting inspiration. Also, each work is filled with strength and patience that remind of dream and roman. 

Dry, tear, roll, weave, and tie leaves... Leaves transform into many shapes on the Kyoko’s palms.

Her works are made with kuba shoots. On the other hand, the number of kuba trees is extremely low on Miyako Island compare to Mainland Okinawa or other remote islands because of overexploitation. Kyoko took this issue into her heart, and she and her friends made decades and hundred years plan for the future of Miyako Island and started a project to revive “the forest of kuba.” She involved with this project as a craft artist who gets precious materials from the land of Miyako Island, and also as a resident of Miyako Island.

Strap part of this shoulder bag is made of a flax cloth and dyed with berries of kuba. A series of bags include the combination of Miyako cloth are available as well.  

These bags are made with many materials, but they look natural. Even they have presence, they do not disturb the space. Also, people can enjoy touching them or staring at the afterglow of transparent leaves under the light. 

Weaving plants and using them as tools. This wisdom is in common to all humankind. Her inquiring mind encouraged her to do work more effectively in many countries such as Indonesia, the United States, Vietnam, and Europe. She studied on plants as materials, and baskets. She also worked on workshops and installation in these countries. She works from craft artist and artist from point of view. Her works seem bizarre and unique, but they actually have images to express universal truth. Probably that is why these shapes look familiar to me.

These are rounded kuba bags. Of course, these are the only one bag in the world. According to Kyoko, “I can fix them when they have fray.” That sounds great that these are useable for many years. 

I feel like observing “the transformation of plants” when I have Kyoko’s bag. Green leaves get cut off from tree stems and dry day by day. Drying sounds like the end of lives of plants, but it might be transforming into another form of objects by remaining the image of kuba. For example, metamorphose of creatures. That is what I believe. 

And, I feel much fulfilled just by looking at them and keeping them with me. 

This might digress from the main topic, but I heard “swag” has been very popular at flower shops these days. “Swag” is a style to decorate flowers, and it is more casual than wreath. What you need to do is to tie flowers together and hang on the wall, and people can enjoy looking at the process on how flowers transform from fresh flowers to dry flowers. Plants not just get dried and end their lives. Swag is a way to cherish the time to look at plants to get transformed, and it sounds very wonderful. Kyoko’s works are also the way for plants to “transform.”  

Studio Yui
Address: 549 Hirara Shimozato, Miyakojima City
Tel: 0980-72-2582
Business Hours: 11:00-19:00
Closed: irregular

Okinawa CLIP photo writer Naoko Tsuruta