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Here’s another instalment in the long-distance notebook collaboration I’ve been working on with my friend Yoko for the past few years. I sent my most recent notebook entry off to Japan in late February, and as it has (long since) safely arrived at its destination it is (long overdue) time to document it here!

In her previous entry Yoko had ingeniously flipped the notebook (a simple 21 x 21 cm square, ringbound, kraft paper notebook from Muji) 90° to create an expansive portrait, rather than landscape, orientation image.

notebook [tokyo] – yoko’s previous entry, double-page spread
(artwork © yoko hayashi)

(You can check out more pictures of Yoko’s previous entry here)

I was really taken with this orientation and somewhat abashed not to have considered it before. I was also very enamoured with the magical universe Yoko had created and wanted to ‘dig deeper’, so to speak… What better way to do this than to travel straight down into the earth below Yoko’s enchanted, snow-laden village.

notebook [tokyo] – seedlings

One of the (many) great joys of this collaboration is the unfettered ‘playground’ the notebook provides: when we began the collab we had two simple tenets: “No Pressure. No Rules.” – so anything goes, and working in it is a welcome opportunity to step away from other projects, to explore ideas for possible future projects, to experiment in a new or different medium etc. I hadn’t done any papercutting for a very long time and was hankering after a bit of scalpel action…

papercutting work-in-progress

multi-layered papercuts in fiery-coloured mulberry/kozo paper
[sunrise and a (grubby!) window make a good lightbox in a pinch]

I also used it as an opportunity to pay homage to our beloved (and very deeply missed) Gira, who we lost to cancer – at the very young age of five-and-a-half – in November last year. Figuring out how to draw a curled-up feline skeleton was both tribute (Gira knew a thing or two about the contented curl-up!) and catharsis…

And applying hundreds of copper and bronze gouache dots to the loamy earth was comfortingly cathartic too…

notebook [tokyo] – gouache stippling as moving meditation

Here are Yoko’s pages and mine combined into a single image, so you too can journey down through this world’s cool, crystalline firmament to its fiery, molten core…

notebook [tokyo] – four page, vertical spread
(artwork top © yoko hayashi)

notebook [tokyo] denotes the notebook that started its life in Tokyo, and notebook [amsterdam] denotes the notebook that started its life in Amsterdam

The preceding Amsterdam/Tokyo project posts can be found here:
(1) | (2) | (3) | (4) | (5) | (6 – part I) | (6 – part II) |
(7 – part I) | (7 – part II)

At last, I’m back with new instalments from the long-distance sketchbook/notebook collaboration I’ve been working on with my friend Yoko Hayashi.

It’s always a thrilling day here when a MUJI notebook sized package, postmarked Tokyo, lands in my letterbox!

mujinotebook collaboration - post packagaing

In my previous entry (which you can see here) I’d left Yoko with a rather awkward, untidy-back-of-embroidery page to work with…

muji notebook (tokyo) - back-of-embroidery

I was intrigued to see what she’d done with this page. I knew it would be beautiful and inventive, but I wasn’t prepared for just how beautiful – there was actual gasping when I turned the page to reveal Yoko’s most recent entry…

mujinotebook (tokyo) - artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook [tokyo] – detail (artwork by yoko hayashi)

This fine lace-like filigree evokes a constellation of delicate celestial bodies or magical snow crystals.

Although they are painted they have an enticing three-dimensional quality – like real openwork – that makes one want to reach out and touch them.

muji notebook (tokyo) - artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook [tokyo] – double page spread (artwork by yoko hayashi)

The village beneath this constellation (itself, it would seem, born of fallen stars/snow crystals) exudes a peaceful otherworldly calm, and that deep stillness that almost always accompanies abundant snowfall.

muji notebook (tokyo) - artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook [tokyo] – detail (artwork by yoko hayashi)

Soft, substantial snow came to Haarlem a few days after the notebook arrived. Coincidence or enchantment? I favour the latter…

muji notebook (tokyo) - artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook [tokyo] – all artwork by yoko hayashi

notebook [tokyo] denotes the notebook that started its life in Tokyo, and notebook [amsterdam] denotes the notebook that started its life in Amsterdam

The preceding Amsterdam/Tokyo project posts can be found here:
(1) | (2) | (3) | (4) | (5) | (6 – part I) | (6 – part II)

All artwork in this post is copyright yoko hayashi


Soon after I had started work on the drawings for my ‘amateur naturalist’s specimen collection’ print series I was approached by Chômu Press about creating a book cover illustration for one of their new releases (Nick Jackson’s ‘The Secret Life of the Panda’). The brief I received from Chômu contained phrases like “There’s a scholar studying tiny creatures under a microscope in sixteenth century Holland” and “There are repeated animal references… (birds of various kinds, an ermine, a cockroach, a water flea, vipers, rabbits, fish, river dolphins and so on). Often these have a scientific quality – like the study of biology and anatomy, or the collecting of specimens” – Um… yes please! I’d like to work on that!

concept sketch & drawings for the book cover illustration

I presented several different concept sketches to Chômu, but it was the rough sketch of a collection of specimens laid out in a grid (intended to simply represent a specimen display cabinet as though viewed from above) that they wished to pursue… and so the early work I had done on my ‘specimen collection’ project inspired and informed the creation of the book cover illustration, and work on the book cover illustration fed back into my growing series of specimens. A very happy bit of synchronicity!

some of the drawings made for ‘The Secret Life of the Panda’ book cover

The author and the publisher made the bold (and exciting!) decision to leave the cover entirely, mysteriously free of text (apart from the ISBN on the back and the Chômu Press logo on the spine).

‘The Secret Life of the Panda’ book cover

I had the opportunity to read the book in its entirety earlier this year… it’s a hauntingly memorable “fusion of realism and dream-like fantasy”, an always intriguing, at times disturbing, collection of finely-crafted stories. But I am no skilled literary reviewer – you can read reviews and find out more about ‘The Secret Life of the Panda’ on the Chomu Press website >

* apparently not a valid Scrabble word… but I like it!

Way, w-a-y back in August last year I posted briefly about an illustration I was working on for the NarcoAgent website. I finished it shortly after that post and it has since been gathering (digital) dust on a forgotten shelf of my hard drive. The ‘Mixtape’ project for which is was originally intended is now online, so the illo has finally been dusted off and put to good use.

More importantly, you can listen to some great music here (and if you like any of what you hear then please do support the artists by buying their albums – preferably directly from them, their label, or an independent record store :) 

 mixtape illo

 

Mixtape’ illustration

some of my work, available on etsy
support worldwide wild cat conservation

copyright

All images and words on this site are © suzanne norris / sakurasnow unless otherwise specified.

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Beautiful, enchanting (and almost certainly enchanted) creatures by Japanese artist Yoshimasa Tsuchiya [@yoshimasa_tsuchiya_info]. Currently on display in an exhibition entitled ‘Private Myth’ at Amsterdam’s Jaski Gallery [@jaskigallery] - The five works shown here are: Nessie (detail) | Woodcarving, crystal & polychrome, 2018, 24 x 49 x 18 cm Qilin | Woodcarving, crystal & polychrome, 2018, 40 x 44 x 17 cm Leopard (detail & complete work) | Woodcarving, glass doll eye & polychrome, 2018, 21 x 38 x 14 cm Deer (detail) | Woodcarving, crystal & polychrome, 2018, 34 x 24 x 14 cm Unicorn | Woodcarving, crystal & polychrome, 2018, 35 x 24 15 cm - #yoshimasa_tsuchiya #privatemyth #woodcarving #sculpture #art #wood #creatures #animals #mythical #chimera #qilin #unicorn #nessie #lochnessmonster #leopard #deer #jaskigallery #amsterdam -
This is the 8th instalment of the long-distance sketchbook/notebook collaboration I’m working on with @yokocelt. IG is not the best platform for displaying tall, portrait orientation images so I’ve split it into two parts (swipe left for the bottom half) but you can see the full image, various details, work-in-progress pics and Yoko’s previous entry to which this is a ‘response’ over on my blog, link in profile: tinyurl.com/y9tssgba - #yoko_suzanne_collab #mujinotebook #collaboration #cross_section #earth #seedlings #cat #skeleton #bones #earths_core #molten #fire #gouache #ink #papercutting #mulberrypaper #kozopaper #colour #pattern #tribute #gira #rip -
Space invader vs Hermes… - #graffiti #streetart #mosaic #tiles #spaceinvader #ufa #invader #hermes #mercury #caduceus #staff #serpents #wings #relief #sculpture #architecturalsculpture #stonework #brickwork #negenstraatjes #centrum #amsterdam (artist: invader) -
A post in honour of this little fella, who would have been celebrating his 6th birthday today. We still – and always will – sorely miss the tummy-tickles and all the good times we shared together. Happy birthday Gira! #gira #rip #best_fur_buddy #studiomate #cat #russianblue #greeneyes #grey #furry #stretch #catsofinstagram #fuckcancer
When the furry host at your temporary AirBnB lodging doesn’t want you to leave… #attemptingtopack #suitcase is futile! Thanks Mustard, aka The Colonel, for the warm welcome and fond farewell #mustard #ginger #cat #airbnb #capetown #southafrica #catsofinstagram
Powerful, compelling work by Zanele Muholi, from her 'Somnyama Ngonyama' (Hail the Dark Lioness) series. -- 1. ‘Thembeka II, London’, 2014, 50 x 46 cm, Silver gelatin print 2. ‘Somnyama Ngonyama II, Oslo’, 2015, 50 x 43.6 cm, Silver gelatin print - #zanelemuholi #photographer #visualactivism #art #portrait #selfportrait #blackandwhite #photography #zeitsmocaa #contemporaryart #museum #capetown #southafrica - @muholizanele @somnyamangonyama -

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