Featured Artist : Lisa Solomon
Artist Bio / Statement
My name is Lisa Solomon. I’m a mixed media artist who moonlights as a professor, illustrator and craft book author that lives and works in Oakland, California. Sparked from my Happa heritage – I’m 1/2 Japanese and 1/2 Jewish Caucasian, my work stems from a fundamental interest and investigation of hybridization. I’m inspired by researching my own heritage, the connection between art and science, as well as the intersection and overlap between Art and Craft. This piece I’m featuring is a massive recreation of a Senninbari – a 1000 French Knot Stitch Belt that Japanese women made for men going off to WWII. It was made with 2000 feet of cotton rope which I hand dyed with Dharma’s Fiber Reactive dye. I dyed the rope over 3 days, in a giant rubbermaid tub in my yard, using 4 different reds to achieve an ombré effect. I then tied, glued and adhered hardware to each knot.
Obviously these belts were incredibly intimate and personal. I wanted to take something very small – like the French Knot – and monumentalize it. Senninbari were also traditionally made by a room full or women – or at a train station – each woman stitching one knot into the belt. The thought was that this collective means of making would generate luck for the wearer. This idea of collective luck generation really intrigued me and was part of why I spent 6 years exploring how the number 1000 functioned in Japanese culture, both historically and still today.