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Feathered Hat – Flights of Fancy

October 9, 2011

I love my very old, vintage feathered hat – French although I feel like a Chekhov character from perhaps his play The Cherry Orchard – it reminds me of faded glory.

It’s possibly that Mrs Dalloway the chief protagonist in Virginia Woolf’s novel of the same name published in 1925 would have worn a similar kind of hat. Of course the fashionable Mrs Dalloway would have bought it from the latest society milliner in London at the time. I loved Virginia’s novel as I did Michael Cunningham’s Pulitzer Prize novel The Hours based on Virginia’s book published in 1999. In both novels the plot takes place within the span of a single day in the life of the three main women characters.

A first edition of Virginia Woolf’s book Mrs Dalloway with the original dust cover published in London, 1925, sold for $18,000 in 2009 – a record price for a Virginia Woolf book at the time.

Virginia Woolf quote on fashion – “There is much to support the view that it is clothes that wear us and not we them; we may make them take the mould of arm or breast, but they would mould our hearts, our brains, our tongues to their liking.”

Last week I went to a wonderful opening at Lesley Kehoe Galleries at 101 Collins Street. Mitsuo Shoji is a Japanese born internationally renowned ceramist who was trained at Kyoto University, Japan and was a lecturer in ceramics at Sydney College of the Arts for 29 years. He retired in 2007 and is now Honorary Senior Lecturer. When he first arrived in Australia he lived in Melbourne which was why the exhibition is called “Coming Home”

In his opening speech Mitsuo talked about the relationship of his ceramic dishes and good food. Apparently as well as being a beautiful ceramist he is a great cook. “There’s a Japanese way of thinking that looks on a piece of ceramic without food as unfinished. But put some food on it and the piece has a life, a reason to be.”

I too share the view that a naked ceramic platter cries out for the presentation of fine food.

Shoji also makes striking abstract and colourful sculpture, which seem to explore the inner self and life’s directions through inlaid coloured clay symbols.

This current exhibition is the largest solo show of his career
“Coming Home” from October 6 – November 11 at Lesley Kehoe Galleries. 101 Collins Street.

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