Somewhere between cute and creepy

I pointed to a pale pink silk quilt circle covered in black netting. It was decorated with pearls and tiny fabric flowers. "What is this?"
The artist, a youthful looking lady wearing what appeared to be a flower covered apron instead of a dress, nodded. She took out a piece of paper and began to unfold it.
"Worm. Oom. Womb," she said, reading out from her notes.
"What? You mean like, a womb?" I asked, pointing to my stomach region. She nodded and grinned. I pointed to the pearls. "Then what are these?"
She didn't need to look at her paper for that. "Eggs."
I stared at the psychedelic pink and blue quilt and embroidery. The lace and ribbon trimming had been sewn carefully in line with the felt. What else had she been thinking of?
"And these mushrooms?" They looked like enoki.
She had to look up that one. "Sperm."

Minutes before, we had got out of an ancient elevator to get into the gallery of the:artist:network. The small space was overwhelmed with the bright light and works of Sakico Kawashima, an artist who had started painting with oil paints and moved on to creating her 'paintings' with embroidery and fabrics instead. What had initially seemed to be pretty if somewhat eccentric patchwork quilt, had taken on a new turn as we had found the artist wandering about the place with a plastic cupful of red wine.

"Do you intend to make this kawaii?" My companion, a photographer, asked. The artist seemed confused, then smiled.
"Yes, kawaii, and sexy, and pretty," she said, fumbling for words.
"Do you also intend to make it strange?" I asked.
"Strange? Yes, and..."
"Like a hentai?" I asked. She beamed.
"Yes, hentai!"
Hentai means pervert in Japanese. The works themselves are in varying scale, large enough to fill an entire wall sometimes, and every now and then, the 'wombs' would appear in the size of one's head. Or was this something different?
"Woman's genitalia," Sakico said, happily correcting me as she read out the words from her notes.
The embroidery was done with a machine, still, despite careful planning and sketching beforehand the work was not easy. Some of the larger pieces took at least a month to make. Those spectators newly entering the gallery were looking at the pieces as if they were confused. Indeed, had I not had the opportunity to talk to the artist herself, I suspect I would have thought it was all fine sewing skills and pretty colours.

"Maybe I should buy one of these," I said to my friend.
"I don't know if M. would approve," she said.

11:10 AM |