Thursday, September 27, 2012

KTS TV, Day 2

On the second day of the KTS TV event, the weather was much better, but the crowd was about at the same level as the day before. Over 100 kids and their parents stood in front of the stage to watch the rubber suit show, forcing me to walk behind the food stalls and enter the Volunteer Center building via the stairs to the second floor deck.  Fortunately, there was a large enough gap between the people on the deck to let me get some shots from about 100 feet from the stage. The Kagoshima mascot, with the Satsuma logo on his chest, is the black super hero on the left. The photo is kind of spoiled by the misters running at the front corner of the stage. It was a rather cool day, so the misters weren't really needed.

The reason I'd come back on Sunday was that, again, I'd been specifically asked by the International Exchange Center personnel to attend the other event they were hosting as part of the 40th anniversary of normalized relations with China. This time, it was the Chinese version of Kiri-e (paper cutting art. It was a free event.) Since I'd attended the one kiri-e class in the San-L building last Spring, I figured I'd try this one and compare the two styles.

There were about 20 people participating, with a Chinese woman acting as the main instructor, and another 3-4 staff members assisting. Initially, I was really confused about what we were supposed to do. In the Japanese class, the pattern was xeroxed on a piece of paper and stapled to a sheet of black cotton paper. You cut both the pattern and the black sheet to make the outline design, removing the white pattern sheet as you go, then glue colored pieces into the gaps of the black outline to make the finished colored picture. This time, though, we got a sheet of red plastic attached to a sheet of white paper, and the design was xeroxed on the paper side. I thought that the plastic sheet peeled off the paper as kind of an adhesive layer. I tried asking if we were supposed to cut through both sheets, and no one could understand my question. It wasn't until half an hour later that I realized that the paper and plastic were one piece. You flip the sheet over paper-side up and cut along the lines, working from the center of the image out. When you're done, just flip the sheet red plastic-side up.

The instructor had about 20 pictures affixed to the wall to demonstrate the concept. 12 of the pictures were animals from the Chinese lunar calendar. Pictured here are the fish and tiger...

Snake and horse. I like the horse best. The other 8 pictures were from the Chinese "Son Goku, Legend of the Monkey King" story. With those, the artist attached the finished cut out on a clear plastic sheet and filled in the details with colored acrylic paints.

We started with a brief history of the art (initially, China didn't have paper, so kiri-e was performed with animal skins), and then we did two "snowflake" designs, with origami paper and a pair of scissors. Fold the paper in half, then in quarters, trace the design on the paper and cut along the lines. Unfold to get the design below to the left. Second, fold the paper in half length-wise, then half again length-wise. Draw the design in pencil and cut along the lines to make the character used in Chinese weddings, below right.

We were told to take a pattern from one of 10 different designs on the table, sorted from easiest to hardest. I picked a simplified variation of the lunar calendar rabbit because it was one of the harder ones, while still looking attractive to me. The event ran from 2 to 4 PM, and the first 30 minutes were spent on the snowflakes. I expected to need every minute of the 2 hours, and having to wait 30 minutes to get started on the main project was rather irritating. Halfway through, the people working on the simpler kiri-e designs (Santa Claus, Minnie Mouse) finished and some of them started a second project. I'd just finished cutting the last of the interior on mine when the instructor said we were out of time. She gave us 4 more minutes to wrap up, and I quickly made the cuts along the exterior of the rabbit, vase and webbing to remove the outside paper. The support staff laminated everyone's cut-outs. The lamination will preserve the kiri-e, but it reflects the overhead lights too much for taking a good photo. It was a fun experience, and we were allowed to take some of the remaining sheets to work on at home.

(My rabbit)

I grabbed one sheet that I tackled that night. Chinese Dancing Girl. Took about 90 minutes to complete, and since I didn't have access to a laminator, I just put it in a clear file for protection. The paper is fairly thin, and as I'm working on it, turning the design around to cut out circles and such, the little detail parts, like fingers, fur and hair ornamentations, tend to hang up on the edges of the table or cutting board, which bends them up. I expect that the much more elaborate designs, like the lunar zodiac characters above, are much trickier to handle.

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