September 11, 2013

Zolie Elf-Åhs

To come and study kasuri and obi weaving at Kawashima Textile School was a dream come true. I have always been interested in Japan, classic Japanese art and textiles, it has been a very important and big part of my art. Even if my style is not so very Japanese.

In my art I work a lot with colors and the viewer’s perception. As an artist it is fun to use complex and time consuming techniques but if the viewer can not appreciate and understand the art itself then the entire process feels unnecessary. I want the viewers to be able to feel something when they see my art. Most of the time I can’t set a word to that feeling but in the same time I can’t decide what the viewer will think of my art. It is just a selfish wish that it will affect someone.

I like using different dyeing techniques, different types of shibori in my art. Color is always the most important thing in my work. It is the colors that set the tone of the piece, which makes it vibrate, stand out and be memorable or forgettable.

It might sound strange but the thing I like the best is when two colors meet and gently blend together. And the fact that you can never know for sure how it will be. Even if you have done everything perfect, pulled all the strings so hard and tight that you possibly can, there will always be that silent moment when you open up the kasuri or shibori. The moment of truth. Did it work? Did it bleed? In that moment you have no control. It seems that in the end it doesn’t really matter if the edges are perfectly straight or not, at least not to me, it is the hard work behind that color meeting that is the most beautiful thing.

from the KTS Graduate Exhibition, Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, March 2013

It was a wonderful thing to make a real Nagoya obi and play with kasuri. I have never been found of talking about my art, I rather let it speak for itself. But I can say that even I don’t know what that lonely samurai is doing in the night. Is he waiting for someone? Has he killed someone? Or is he just enjoying the blossoming sakura tree in the silent night?

Zolie Elf-Åhs (Sweden)


Zolie was an exchange student from HV Skola (Sweden) and studied in the Foundation Kasuri Course and Applied Kasuri Course I to III in autumn 2012.