Big Rapids works celebrate Japanese-inspired art in new exhibition

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LARGE RAPIDS — Artworks welcomed a large number of local and international artists to its new exhibition, Made in Japan?, which officially opened debuted this week.

Michiko Takahashi came from Japan to exhibit her calligraphy at the Batdorff Gallery. Made in Japan? will be exhibited until September 29 at the Batdorff Gallery.

Pioneer Photo/Brendan Sanders

The art of calligraphy was made by Michiko Takahashi, who was originally from Japan but came to the United States and Big Rapids for the first time since 2001, when she came with her students to the region. This year she returned this year to visit friends in the area, staying with 2021 arts patron Jane Torry. This made it possible to show the art of calligraphy here at the gallery.

“It is an honor to have my artwork displayed here in Big Rapids.” Takahashi said.

Tom Tamasek's pieces have been featured at the gallery.  Made in Japan?  will be exhibited until September 29 at the Batdorff Gallery.

Tom Tamasek’s pieces have been featured at the gallery. Made in Japan? will be exhibited until September 29 at the Batdorff Gallery.

Pioneer Photo/Brendan Sanders

Tom Tamasek’s pastel paintings spanned the back wall of the Batdorff Gallery, giving attendees the chance to see some of Japan’s landscapes in the form of pastel paintings. Tamasek spent time in Japan while participating in an artist exchange program in the early 2010s.

“When I got home, I did this work for an exhibition based on my time there. A number of them sold out, amazingly,” Tamasek said. “I didn’t think there would be much interest when I had my first show. It was the leftovers I still had at home, and when (exhibition coordinator) Roxanne (Cullen ) talked about the show, she said to bring them.

Sally Rose was a teacher at Central Michigan University for years, teaching fiber design courses at the university. His work features rice paper, which is made of, surprisingly, not rice, but rather kozo or paper mulberry. The creative pattern in his works was utilized through the “shibori” technique which involves sewing, folding and tightly pressing the paper so that it resists the indigo dye.

Sally Rose's rice paper work at Artworks Made in Japan?  Gallery.  Made in Japan?  will be exhibited until September 29 at the Batdorff Gallery.

Sally Rose’s rice paper work at Artworks Made in Japan? Gallery. Made in Japan? will be exhibited until September 29 at the Batdorff Gallery.

Pioneer Photo/Brendan Sanders

“It takes several hours to cook a few hours to do the leaf,” Rose said. “Then I like to add color. The technique is what you would call tie dye, but in Japan it’s much more sophisticated. It’s called shibori. It’s the process which I used to add the pattern to that, and it went into a natural Indigo vat. It’s, again, historically very accurate, culturally, something that happens in Japan.

Made in Japan? The gallery is set to run from now until September 29 at the Batdorff Gallery. hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday.

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