“Tide and time wait for no man,” is a common quote in the West. The Japanese have a similar expression in shiodoki (潮時), which literally means “time-time.” However, the nuance is a bit different than the Western expression – a bit closer perhaps to our expression to strike while the iron is hot. Shiodoki connotes just the right timing in a givensituation, referring to the point at which a fisherman must launch his boat to optimum advantage.
Having chosen this theme, I started having fun with puns and associations. Below is what I came up with as my finished piece, The Goddess of Ebb and Flow. I will have this doll on display at the instructors exhibit at Convergence in Long Beach, July, 2012.
The face is constructed of wood and paper clay, with an overlay of powdered seashell (gofun 胡粉) mixed with pigments. The surging waves that make up her hair were done with spray insulation over a chopstick armature. The textiles are all fabrics I have dyed using natural dyes on silk, katazome with rice paste resist.
From the back you can see two kanzashi hair ornaments. The one to the upper left, above, is constructed of cloisonné and coral, and the one to the lower left of the hair is in the form of a jellyfish. The jellyfish is constructed of the plastic lid to a slurpy for the hood, an oven light bulb for the stomach pouch, Austrian crystal for the tentacles and oral arms, and Chinese cloisonné for the interior eye spots.
The primary kimono is traditionally dyed and sewn, with padding at the hem, and the design dyed to match at all seams. The weave is rinzu (綸子) – a jacquard woven with a pattern of waves, over which I dyed a pattern of surging waves and the inner workings of a stop watch. The lining is safflower-dyed momi (紅絹).
Above is a detail of the back, showing the crest. The crest mimics the one found on the fisherman’s robe, below. The character shio (潮) means tide. Notice the seam down the center back.
Above is a miniature version of a fisherman’s robe called a maiwai (万祝) and can most easily be seen in the back view of the figure at the top of this page. It is falling off her shoulder and trailing behind in a casual air. In this case the proportions have been distorted slightly to allow for better drape on the doll. The fabric is silk crepe dechine with a traditional cotton lining.
The image on the maiwai depicts Urashima Tarou as he leaves the Dragon King Palace at the bottom on the ocean. [Urashima Tarou saved a sea tortoise from the tortures of young children along the shore. He was later rewarded for his kindness by being escorted to the Dragon King's Palace, where he was luxuriously entertained. Eventually he grew homesick and was given a special tamatebako box to take as parting gift.] Shown above is the Dragon King Palace in the background, Urashima Tarou with his fishing pole in hand, and the tamatebako on his back, as he bids one final farewell to his hosts and he rides the ancient sea tortoise back to his homeland.
Below is an diagram of some of the iconography used in this piece.
A. Surging waves form the coiffed hair. Spray foam insulation, spray paint, and mica.
B. Fisherman’s float used to hold nets up when cast into the ocean. Hand-blown glass.
C. Jellyfish kanzashi (hair ornament), constructed of the plastic lid to a slurpy for the hood, an oven light bulb for the stomach pouch, Austrian crystal for the tentacles and oral arms, and Chinese cloisonné for the interior eye spots.
D. In the West we traditionally perceive a man on the moon in the shadows of the craters, whereas in Asian cultures the shadows are seen as a rabbit pounding mochi (rice cakes). And of course, the moon has a major influence on our goddess’s activities. Paper clay, glass, and porcelain.
E. Han’eri (decorative collar) gold leafed with pattern of rock crabs. Gold on silk.
F. Obi woven with a pattern of a dragon, king of the ocean. Silk.
G. Crystal orb that controls the tides (also often depicted as a pearl). Crystal.
H. Maiwai fisherman’s robe (described above).
I. Kosode kimono woven in silk with a leno weave (karamiori) pattern of surging waves.
J. Time acting as an anchor, trapped in the gripping flow of the waves. 1950s Buluva clock.
The base of the doll is a redwood burl.