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The World of Rozome: Wax-Resist Textiles of Japan

Benjamin, Betsy Sterling

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ISBN 10: 477001774X / ISBN 13: 9784770017741
Published by Kodansha International, Tokyo, 1996
Condition: Fine copy in fine dust jacket Hardcover
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4to, 223 pp., Signed by the author on a bookplate affixed to the front free endpaper. Bookseller Inventory # 069055

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The World of Rozome: Wax-Resist Textiles of ...

Publisher: Kodansha International, Tokyo

Publication Date: 1996

Binding: hardcover

Illustrator: Profusely illustrated

Book Condition: Fine copy in fine dust jacket

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st edition.

About this title


Wax resist might be called Japan's "lost art." Rozome was known early in Japanese history but never taken into the mainstream of fabric dyeing. The innovative artists of Kyoto working with this form today have reclaimed a nearly forgotten legacy. Their daring interpretations are the focus of The World of Rozome.
Rozome now seems to attract artists of a particularly independent turn of mind. Artisans in this field are able to work alone in their studios, performing each step from design through finished product without assistance. Rozome artists have developed expert techniques in shading, control and luminosity that set this form apart from the batik of other countries.
In-depth interviews with seventeen contemporary artists form the heart of this volume. The established masters are joined by younger, forward-looking artists. The styles are diverse, and the methods and materials unconventional, incorporating sprayed and rolled wax as well as synthetic wax and photograph serigraphy.
The author opens with a colorful historical section on the earliest resist finds of the Near East, Central Asia and Tang China - focusing on those presumed to use liquid wax - and follows this with a look at the origins of wax resist in Japan in the ancient capital of Nara.
A carefully illustrated process section outlines everything textile artists might need to know: materials used, advanced methods of applying wax and dye, wax formulas, pigment application, setting of dyes and removal of wax from cloth.
Vividly illustrated with numerous full-color plates and black-and-white figures, this handsome book is the first to appear in English on Japanese wax resist. The World of Rozome throws open a door on a world where innovative artists are creating a new tradition from the fragments of an ancient art.

From the Publisher:

[An online interview with the author]

*Could you tell us a little about your background?
"I have worked with the wax resist process in Europe, Asia and the USA for close to 30 years now. While living in Kyoto between 1981 and 2000, I taught, did textile research, studio work that resulted in 9 solo exhibitions and traveled in Asia, Europe, Oceania and the USA for lectures and workshops. I have recently returned to the USA and live in New England where I continue my studio work, writing and teaching."

*What motivated you to write this book? / What got you started?
"The World of Rozome was created to share the remarkable work of the rozome artists I discovered working unacknowledged in Japan. The members of both my lectures abroad and my workshops repeatedly asked for something in English on the beautiful Japanese rozome work that they had rarely seen in the West. The book got its start with the visit of a Kodansha Senior Editor to my solo show in Tokyo when I was asked to consider writing about what I loved."

*Could you tell us a little about the contents of the book?
"The World of Rozome: Wax-resist Textiles of Japan is divided into three parts that cover the historical tradition of wax-resist on fabric that pre-dates its introduction into Japan in the eighth century up to the present day, interviews with 17 producing artists with diverse styles, and a detailed technique and material section showing how rozome is presently done."

*What do you see as the centerpiece of the book? / Why is the book important?
"The World of Rozome is not only the sole book in English on this subject but also one of the few books that documents the earliest (pre-8C) wax resist in Asian/European cultures. At the heart of the book however, is the series of interviews with contemporary artists that share a glimpse of artistic life in Japan, and their love of the process and its glowing results."

*What did you learn from writing the book?
"As an artist myself who has worked with this process for more than 25 years, the opportunity to sit with the Japanese masters as they demonstrated a difficult technique and spoke of their personal motivations for continuing their work, was of immeasurable value."

*What would you like readers to take away with them after reading this book?
"I feel that the book shows the beauty and diversity of a little-known Japanese art and the skill of multiple artists who have chosen rozome as a method to express their artistic vision. Conversely, I hope that the audience will find an understanding of the historical background of this ancient process in Japan and the new contemporary techniques now used to produce this modern art."

*What are your plans for the future, in terms of new books or other projects?
"I have continued with my research into Japanese textile traditions looking at kesa or Buddhist monastic robes and, recently, mandalas. Both of these areas of research have lead to art work on these themes. An exhibition, "Kesa for the Millennium," was held at Honen-in Temple in Kyoto, Harvard School of Design, the College of St. Benedict (MN), and the Seniwati Gallery in Ubud, Bali, and is next to be held at Sumei Hall in Pasedena, CA. A new series looks at Buddhist scrolls and the mandala. I have also continued to research world batik, the use of wax-resist in global cultures, with the possibility of a future book on this topic."

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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