Kami is a homonym for both hair and paper, which I thought was appropriate.
Last week Monday, J took me to a Hair Parade (kushi matsuri, actually 'comb festival') in Gion, where the Maiko-san were on display with their kimono and kami no ke.
"It's like jidai matsuri, but for hair," said J.
I'd already completed the pieces for the show, based on the sketches I'd done, but it was really cool to see the hair up close and in real life. On real heads.
The styles were flawless, sculpted and glossy, defying gravity but looking fantastically heavy, too. They held all manner of ornaments, flowers, and pom poms, the different configurations relecting the styles of several eras.
The sketches I made for the show are somewhat similar, with obvious differences between Heian and Meiji styles. It's an evolution of hair! I tried to explain to someone the other day how I can see the influence in how some women do their hair today. It's a more punk and loose interpretation, but nevertheless...
Here are a couple of examples of what I'm putting in the show
For these pieces, I collaged the background and then pasted the kami no ke, which I'd inked by hand and outlined in white gesso, on top. I only had about five or six different kinds of paper to use in the collages -- old calligraphic text, train time-tables, go game board strategies (?), tissue paper, funky old atlases, and the beloved brown paper -- but actually I found that limitation to be a fun experiment.
It was like painting with only six colors, focusing instead on composition and the possibilities of combination.
You'll have to come to the show to see all 8.
At the end of the Hair Parade, here's my hairstyle, unshowered and sweaty:
Wow, raw and evocative!