Best on show in Bath

The Degree Shows are a wonderful showcase for the talent, skills and creativity of each graduating student, who have worked hard to evolve and to realise their ideas through creative practice. Anita Taylor, executive dean, Bath School of Art and Design

It’s a privilege to support young artists by attending their exhibitions and buying their work. The end of year graduation shows at art colleges across the country are wells or mines, of new creative talent which develops and grows during the three years of study. It’s also a great opportunity to pick up affordable work – before artists get famous and prices rocket.

Everyone can champion the next generation of ‘movers and shakers’ in the world of art, craft and design.

Ryoji Morimoto with his textile art work – Japanese Legend

Bath School of Art and Design held its annual Degree Show 8–16 June, 2019 and I went along to support a friend of mine, Ryoji Morimoto, whom I met through Bath & Beppu Friendship Association. He studied Textiles and Fashion and is now starting his career as a print and embroidery designer.

He explores Japanese symbolism which has existed since ancient times to create contemporary textile products for fashion and interior.

Ryoji grew up in the countryside in Japan, where little has changed in the way of modernisation. The legacy of the past remain in the old buildings and nature flourishes unspoilt.

‘My grandparents told me,’ Ryoji says, ‘about various Japanese beliefs belonging to Shintoism Buddhism and Japanese symbolism. Many animals, flowers, trees and nature have special meanings in Japan. People used to translate into motifs and place on household items such as clothes.

‘In Japan people used to be more superstitious. Nowadays however, many people in the cities do not find it important anymore. For example, the Pine tree is regarded as a plant God or Goddess. This tree symbolises longevity, steadfastness and wisdom in old-age. Additionally, some colours have special meanings to such as those used on kimono clothes in Shinto and Buddhism buildings and in Japanese ceramics.

For example: Shuiro – vermilion, is the colour which expels evil and disease and this colour is used in the Shinto buildings.

Designer statement:
‘I am a textile design graduate experienced in both print and embroidery profession and interior design. Using the skills, I create lively and modern large pieces of fabric from both fashion and interior and it will fit best within a simple on minimalist type setting.
I focus on making eye-catching contemporary designs by contrasting colours using silkscreen and digital print and making textual contrasts using appliqué hand and machinery.

Hand painted leather handbag – Ryoji Morimoto

I take inspiration from my everyday surroundings particularly the shapes and lines. I collage my drawings and paintings to recapitulate the day the imperfect geometry of nature. usually my motifs consist of easily recognisable things such as flowers, plants, animals, buildings, utensils and landscapes however I have to draw or paint them in a non-realistic way. Thus, my designs are sometimes abstract or deformed although still recognisable. and throughout this I still aim to make contrasts such as pairing natural fluid shapes with straight lines.

I also think sustainability is important and so use scrap materials left over from other samples and from scrap shops. I focus on not only the visual aspects but also the concept behind pieces of work. upon viewing my work concepts and not always immediately obvious that is because they are drawn from small elements of daily life which themselves don’t attract much attention.’

Good luck to Ryoji and all his fellow students for the future.

Such a variety of work in various media and installations.