INTERVIEW WITH KOUBOU DEANNA

Leading up to the Tokyo Spidering exhibition at HAGISO on October 16th, there will be interviews with artists taking part in this exhibition posted here about once a week.  Please come back and visit this site often to learn more about the each artist and their working process!

How did you choose the medium in which you work?

 

The small scale yarn crochet motifs are perfect for me to take my work anywhere. While I do a lot of designing in my tatami room at home, trains, airplanes and coffee shops easily become my studio, also. Lightweight and portable, the yarns and lace in which I work are often an ice breaker on the trains. My favorite medium of fiber originally came about from the fun I had working with fibers since a child, sewing, embroidery work and weaving.
As an expat, how did you come to live here in Japan? 
My husband accepted a job here and it has been about 8 years since my first arrival. Most of my childhood was spent in Wisconsin but I have lived in 11 different states so I have enjoyed & explored many different areas of America.
Where do you find your inspiration?
The conversations I have with those who see my work often bring about my inspirations. They ask the most interesting questions and bring a perspective all their own that leads me to question my own perspective.
Which artists have been your greatest influence?

 

Several years ago I picked up the book, Textile Techniques in Metal by Arline Fisch and was immediately inspired to learn how to crochet. At the time I was working with small scale metal work, such as jewelry, and it really reminded me how much I liked working with fibers. A couple of years later I happened to meet the author/artist, Arline Fisch, at an art event and was greatly impressed with her as a person, her support for the arts community and also my ideas which she patiently listened to and offered suggestions.

 

Through my learning about yarn crochet techniques I’ve enjoyed work done by Olek, a Polish artist who presents her work outdoors, around the world, bringing it far from the granny squares I saw as a child.
Another artist who has had a great impact on my work is Sensei Kamimura, my Japanese chyoukin design instructor. He showed me quite a few things about metalwork but what impressed me the most was his economical use of tools. I had been taught in previous classes in the states that each task needed a specific tool, but Sensei showed me that by being creative I can use a single tool for many purposes. My crochet hook, one little stick, can do so many things with so many materials.

In what way does your work in this show relate to its theme of Spidering, the updating of networks?
My life in the states moved forward marked by the western calendar; seeing Easter candy in the stores, the advertisements for tax preparations and Thanksgiving feasts, none of which are present here in Japan. My internal calendar needed to be updated and the earliest, most memorable marks of time for me were the importance placed on the every changing show of flowers and trees.
The Four Seasons hanging scroll project shows these first steps I’ve taken to update my marks of time while living here in Japan.

In what direction do you see your work moving after Tokyo Spidering?
After the Tokyo Spidering show at Hagiso, I will continue my crochet work with yarns which I find to be most relaxing. Currently I am also working on crocheting with wire to bring my art into three-dimensions creating a complete environment for the viewer to become the participant.
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