Meet with Swedish textile designer

Gothenburg is the 5th largest city in Northern Europe. The day after the kimono event, I had a chance to visit Gothenburg University. I took pictures around the University. As I walked back and forth only between the hotel and museum, I had not realized that I stayed in Northern Europe before I saw this landscape.

Mr. Thomas Laurien, a researcher at Gothenburg University, helped us for our event at the Museum of World Culture. He is researching Japanese textile and design. Our company staff Sugiura contacted him and we visited the university to meet him.
He had prepared a room for us and we waited for him at the room while he brought something to drink. We found a big bread and knife on the table in the room. It looked really delicious. We wondered if we can eat it, but we waited for him patiently.
When Thomas came back with tea, he told us that he prepared the bread and berry juice for us. The bread was local specialty. He recommended us to eat it with berry juice. The berry juice was thick and sweet. I get used to sweet foods since I lived in US. But I thought this juice has rich calorie.

Thomas showed us the textile he designed. He told us that recently Japanese culture, fashion and animation are popular among young Swedish people. In his childhood, few people enjoyed making tie dye at home, but when Japanese tie-dye textile came in from Japan, tie-dye immediately become popular and famous in Sweden. Now, “Popular in Japan” or “Japanese things” are recognized as catchy things in Sweden. This story reminds me that European brands looked really cool in my childhood. I was surprised at a heightened visibility of our culture.

Using slide shows, Thomas told us what he wanted to express by his design. His textile was not made in Japan. Japanese art and design stimulated his sensitivity and he created his own world. This design title is “freedom”. The category of the design is YURAGI, meaning fluctuation. Fishes are separated by net and inside fishes and outside fishes met at the net’s whole. It looks like the fishes are inside the water and caught by the net. It was wonderful work.

He also collaborates with designer and makes his world with shape of the clothes. I remember this picture’s art theme is “King”. I saw some of the European style arts in his work.

Making these design and clothes, Thomas studies Japanese kimono history, textile technique and additionally, he has detailed knowledge of Japanese culture.

We discussed a lot about tea ceremony. I love one of the tea ceremony rooms, “ZANGETSU no MA”, meaning the room of the moon at dawn in Japanese
We cannot see moon directly in this room, while we just use full moon light indirectly during the tea ceremony. We enjoyed moon light from the roof light window, called Tsukiage Mado. At the tea ceremony, we meet with our own calm heart under the dim light from the moon. Astronomy, season, tea ceremony room and the people, all these things collaborate to make a tea ceremony. We never enjoy the same tea ceremony any more. That is really priceless. I think tea ceremony is one of the most difficult arts because we enjoy the “time” at the moment. He empathized with me. He has a sensitivity to capture a “moment” and expreses it with textile design. Indeed I had notice that he likes the word “YURAGI”.

When we left the university, we shook our hands and said “Let’s keep in touch”. I had a really good time talking with him. He reminded me of the tea ceremony and I really felt I will appreciate the present moment.
This is one of his works. You can see airplane left side of the shoulder. Is this expressing sky? From his slide show.


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