Enfolded Coloured pencil drawing, 335 x 400 mm. July 2014.

Coloured pencil drawing, 335 x 400 mm. July 2014.

The geiko, swathed in fine cloth, passes beneath coarse fabric panels.  She is about to disappear behind the noren curtain into Ichiriki, Kyoto’s most famous teahouse (though it has little to do with tea).

An international and insatiable public is gathered outside Ichiriki to see maiko and geiko.  After a long empty wait, all of a sudden a harried geiko walks into the fray.  The ungracious crowd exclaims and surges forward.  Grim expression on her face, she casts her eyes down, mentally blocking out cameras flashing furiously upon her person.   People jostle as they vie with one another to capture this unique Japanese curiosity.  She hastens forward.   The noren curtain enfolds her, pulling her into the inner sanctum.

A great divide can be as solid as the Rocky Mountains or the Southern Alps.  Or it can be as insubstantial and fluid as panels of fabric wafting in the breeze.  Through this floating fabric nobody uninvited may pass.  Keep Out.  Inside the courtyard oasis she lifts her eyes, breathes out and gathers herself into the charming witty hostess she has come here to be.

An unusual way of saying KEEP OUT seen outside another of the Gion establishments. I liked it so much that I photographed it, printed it and put it on my bedroom door.

An unusual way of saying KEEP OUT –  seen outside another  Gion establishment. I liked it so much that I photographed it, printed it and stuck it to the outside of my bedroom door.

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11 thoughts on “Enfolded

  1. Ann Kullberg

    Rare is the artist, like you, Julie, whose prose is as compelling is their art. Always stop to read your every post. This one is as wonderful and thought-provoking as the rest!

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Well, Ann, you see this one was drawn so soon after my trip to Kyoto that I was almost still there when I was writing the piece. I am often horrified by the behaviour I see when I am in Kyoto – the lack of respect by people. In one instance the crowd waited and when a geiko was seen to be coming a woman yelled, “Here she comes!” and everyone rushed forward. I was sinking into the ground with shame. However there are always the same Japanese people there every evening (who know the maiko and geiko very well) and I now think they must be there to intervene if anything really unfortunate takes place.

  2. Robyn Varpins

    This is a really private, intimate image. And made more so, because she is exposing her vulnerable neck. It is more meaningful when the circumstances are known too. Quite poignant.

  3. anna warren portfolio

    Finally enough Internet AND battery to comment! I just love this one Julie, keep coming back to look at it. The simple, strong forms, the colour and the intricate detail of the obi all combine to make a beautiful poignant composition. Love it!

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hi Anna, you sure are away a long time! It was the verticals which drew me to this composition. The verticals in the obi pattern talked to the verticals of the curtains. I love the satisfying composition of this one too. And even more, I love that it was such a game of chance capturing the image.


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