The Magic of Japan: Educator, Victoria Aleporos
We’re so blessed to have Educators on-board who live and breathe design, and Victoria Aleporos is a perfect example of this passion. Victoria is a registered Architect with over 20 years’ experience working with architectural and interior design firms, as well as running her own business – our Vic is one busy bee!
Just back from a trip to Japan where she went on a magical tour of traditional craft workshops (some in random places even taxi drivers couldn’t find!), and accompanied by the amazing Natalie Miller of Natalie Miller Design fame, we sat down with Victoria and got the inside scoop on the talented artists dedicated to hand craft as well as museums and yarn shops. She also managed to uncover where to find the best ramen (because after all that touring, a girls got to eat!)…
“The life lesson for me going to Japan was the simplicity in the Japanese lifestyle. The main focus in the lives of the craftspeople I was introduced to was their craft – they operated in modest work spaces, ate simple food and were very family oriented.”
You met with some incredible handcrafting artists – can you share a highlight from the workshops?
“The standout would have to be learning about Saori weaving in Izumi Osaka with the master of weaving, Kenzo Jo. We had the pleasure of meeting his 103 year old mum, Misao, who is the founder of the Saori style of weaving. Saori is a free-style hand weaving movement and is all about self-expression through weaving – there are no mistakes, no restrictions and no failing! This “non-technique” is meditative in nature and we spent three days absorbed in yarn, looms and Japanese sunlight under the guiding hand of Kenzo, his staff and Natalie Miller. Creating wall hangings, scarves and clothing, the day went so quickly we had to force ourselves to stop weaving to eat lunch!
With indigo being a colour of the moment, tell us a bit about the Aizenkobo indigo dyeing workshop…
“We visited the Aizenkobo indigo dyeing workshop and met with Kenichi Utsuki, who explained to us how they achieve the deepest and most beautiful Indigo blue you have ever seen. An experience not to be missed.
You met with several fabric/textile artists too, how did you find these workshops?
In a word, incredible! Hand dying scarves at the Kyoto Shibori Museum and understanding the Shibori technique was so gratifying. To learn ancient techniques and create felt with masters like Avril Peprin, in the quaintest studio in Ichijoji Kyoto, then chasing this experience with an extremely filling Ramen in the area renowned for it…total design and foodie heaven.
It sounds like an inspirational trip! Do you think the experience might influence how you approach teaching?
What I valued most about this trip and the workshops was that I became the student learning something completely new. It’s good to have the roles reversed and take instruction. You then reflect on your own teaching style and understand how a student feels when they start our course.