Do we ever stop to think about what we step on as we walk on our paths? Magnificent tiny flowers, weeds really, are growing there quite beautiful and hardly noticed or appreciated. Stop before you step and you will discover a whole unnoticed kingdom blooming underfoot. Stop and you will find what our flower loving Sayoko Hayasawa looks for as she takes walks in any neighborhood, any vacant lot, any cemetery to see the unplanted gardens blooming there.
A customer kindly remarked recently that Blue & White is a museum. No higher praise, I thought. But to add to this, I hope it can also be seen as a nature walk. On her days off Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays, our very talented chief of staff, Sayoko Hayasawa spends her days walking and plucking flowers in Kamakura, in Aoyama Cemetery, in Daikanyama and other unsuspected places where weeds and wild flowers grow, and comes in to work the next day with little wet towels filled with blossoms and leaves and berries that she proceeds to arrange in perfectly mundane and unnoticed containers. The result is tiny miniature imitations of the natural world. As someone noticed yesterday, Blue & White products on display come alive with her flowers. Hayasawa san brings the outside into the shop and it breathes life into otherwise inanimate things. For anyone interested, the flowers are also for sale – a sweet and thoughtful birthday present or hostess gift. They are always my first choice as something to bring someone who is sick or has invited me to supper.
Who would have thought that these simple no big deal flowers that we often step on thinking they are just weeds would become such eloquent syntheses of nature itself? The glory usually goes to the roses and the chrysanthemums and the carnations. But who ever notices these tiny no big deal flowers that peak their heads out in their season? Hayasawa san does, and she gingerly picks them with her pristine Chanel polished nails (no gloves for her!) and brings them to the shop to give them new life. A life that she orchestrates with other leaves and sprigs and berries in a jar or pot that can be as mundane as the glass pudding container that she buys at her fancy Meidi-ya market, as much for itself as for the sweet pudding it contains.
Not all of the containers are even visible, but the textiles on which they are perched are enhanced by their beauty. This one a gossamer hemp stole of two or three times dipped indigo and white.
Who knows the names or the genus of these anonymous flowers?
Anonymity can be beguiling.
Plucky purple stitches on a white dust cloth are a perfect partner for this plucky arrangement of rust colored leaves and a lavender aster.
It’s true. Everything in Blue & White comes alive in the company of natural arrangements of flowers picked from the roadside. A colorful sashiko pin from Tamagawa Special Abilities Center, and some small Otafuku amulets.
Stripes loud and clear lead to a joyful arrangement of tiny pink and white flowers in a small blue and white cup.
Subtle stripes of hemp kimono material run diagonally under this equally natural arrangement of nejiriso – sometimes we know the names! – and wild asters and leaves and seed pods? Anonymous or no, the effect is stunning.
The glass pudding jar again with an assortment of wild asters and leaves and no name flowers on a crossing of different indigo carp banners by Factory Ai.
A spikey arrangement of ferns and leaves and berries in a tea cup or large blue and white sake cup on an indigo and white striped stole by Factory Ai.
Two complimentary arrangements swim in a stream of an indigo and white stole dyed by Factory Ai.
On an elegant background of charcoal dyed table cloth or bedspread, hand stitched with a wandering sashiko pattern and windmill motifs on the edges, a whole woodland of flowers and leaves and berries can be displayed to bring the peace and quiet of nature inside. Here Hayasawa san has arranged a number of pots and containers with the silent beauties she finds on her long walks in the city, mind you! and has put them together in original and delicate portraits of nature itself.
(Like the other textiles pictured in this blog, the background bedspread/table cloth is for sale upon request)