Tamiko Kawata installations

Safety pin has been my primary medium for some time.  It functions variously as thread, yarn, clay or truss in my work process.  Safety pins entered my life soon after I arrived from Japan, out of the necessity to shorten the all-too long American clothing.

In the beginning, I made simple flat pieces, finding ways to interlock the pins as if weaving.  Each piece was an experiment and each piece took me to another unexpected stage.  Slowly and naturally I found constructing systems as I went along, using only the inherent structural properties of the pins, and I can now create from anything from drawing-like works to three-dimensional self-standing works and jewelry forms.

In 1999, I was given the opportunity to install these works outdoors.  It is a challenging and exciting practice, to expose this very domestic, usually hidden thing,  to the open, rough environment of nature, where it must face all kinds of weather and is susceptible to damage and decay.  Working outdoors gives me another angle to express my concept.

White City Detail by Tamiko Kawata, photo by Tom Grotta

I like to use materials suitable for expressing my belief in respect for common people and small lives, and things that reflect my feelings toward the American life that I have happily adopted.  The impact of the differences between these two countries, in the lifestyles and the philosophies is so great that it still preoccupies my mind, even though I have lived longer here than I lived in Japan.  Unconsciously, I continually connect two cultures.

I like to interweave these thoughts through my works… it is my diary in visual form.

Tamiko Kawata

September 2012