Book Size 70mm, 25 pages
『過去二十年間、私はキッチンで柑橘類の皮を形作ってきました。 ピンクのグレープフルーツの皮で作業する場合、盆栽の木で作業する場合のように、破損することなく裏返して箱にするために、相手の忍耐力と協力が必要です。それらは木の型にはめられ、輪ゴムで形作られて、ゆっくり乾燥し硬化します。そののち「髄」は紙やすりで磨かれ、整えられそして２つの半分は互いに入れ子になります。ココナッツオイルを薄く塗って、ピンク、オレンジ、黄色の色調で肌の「木目」を引き出す手法でこすり仕上げをほどこします。 これは箱がしなやかで柔軟なままでいるのを助けます。それらはそれらの自然な色で残されています。柑橘系の匂いは箱の内側を擦ることで高めることができます。
『グレープフルーツの皮箱は心地良い香りがします。それらは天然の「フルーツレザー」のような感触を持っています。人々が皮の内側の肌を美しく思うように、私は箱がより美しくなるよう金箔装飾をしました。ジングルシェルの殻はレモンとオレンジの柑橘系の果物の内側の部分のように見えますが、実際には殻の外側です。私はそれらをまとめて、本を作るために一本の金色の糸で結びました。 私はたくさんのことがつながっていると思いますし、本は一つのつながりです。本は３冊あります。最初はパステルカラーの縁がついた半透明の和紙に印刷された詩、次にシェルネックレスの本、そして最後の奥付です。皮箱は本の表紙です。貝殻は本のページです。材料は既に中が外へ出て行った貝殻＋皮です。それらの中はどこへ行ったの？ あなたの指がそれらの外側に触れるとき、あなたは何かを感じます。それはあなたの内側が外側になったということです。』
The box is made by grapefruit peels turned inside-out. That "fruit leather" has been decorated with gold leaf.
The spiritual theme of the grapefruit box is to take a chance to turn "inside-out", exposing the vulnerable side we keep hidden inside.
A second theme is that often the peel is discarded and overlooked; now it becomes a beautiful utilitarian object.
'Jingle shells' look like the inside of yellow and orange citrus fruits. I glued thin Japanese papers (Ganpi) on them and made pages. I bound them in one string to make a book. Each coloring is pastel.
For the past 20 years I have shaped citrus peels in my kitchen. Working with pink grapefruit peels takes patience and cooperation to turn them inside- out into boxes without breaking, like working with a bonsai tree. They are shaped with rubber bands on a wooden form and dried hardening slowly; then the “pith” is sanded, trimmed and the two halves nested into each other. A thin layer of coconut oil is applied for a hand-rubbed finish which brings out the “grain” of the skin with tones of pink, orange and yellow. This helps the box to remain supple and flexible. They are left in their natural color. The smell of citrus can be heightened by scratching the inside of the box.
Looking through many hundreds of orange and yellow jingle shells found at the shore of Sunken Meadow Beach, Long Island, New York. They protect the vulnerable mollusk inside. They are like little jewels that glow in the light and sound like coins when jingled together. - Larry Seidman
The grapefruit peel boxes have a pleasant smell. They have the feel of natural “fruit leather”. I tooled the gold leaf decoration to make the boxes more beautiful, so that people will appreciate the skin on the inside of the peels. The many jingle shells look like the inside segments of lemon and orange citrus fruits, but they are actually the outside of shells. Then I put them together and bound them in one gold yarn to make a book. Because I think that many things are connected and a book is one connection. There are three books: first the poem printed on translucent pastel colored Japanese papers- next the shell necklace book - and the final colophon. The box is the cover of the book. Shells are pages of the book. Materials are shells + peels devoid of original living source. Where has the inside of them gone? When your fingers touch the outside of them, you will feel something, that is your “inside-out”. - Miyako Akai
Description and discussion:
“Encapsulated” incorporates an object of beauty, an object of function, and an object of wonder.
Three themes came to mind while making the boxes as I focused on the process rather than the product.
1) taking something that is discarded and turning it into a functional object of art.
2) making oneself vulnerable by turning inside-out and exposing those less desirable qualities that are hidden.
3) the shell and peel are all vessels that come from a higher energetic source that protect the valuable contents.
Encapsulated is a play on the medical term for a frozen shoulder: “adhesive capsulitis”. While going through physical therapy and stretching to the point of pain and risk being snapped like a chicken wing. It mirrors the process of taking the grapefruit peels and turning them inside out to the breaking point. It is also alluded to a “time capsule” that encloses its component parts that are linked together. The form and content match.
this project appeals to all the five senses. For many years, I have made grapefruit boxes to hold chocolate bits whose taste becomes infused with the citrus overtones. The smell of grapefruit remains inside because the skin is turned inside out. The sound inside the box mirrors the name “jingle shells” which sound like coins when shaken together. The feel of the box is like the skin that protects our body and also called “fruit leather”. The look is somewhat puzzling because the form looks organic like an English muffin. And then the viewer is surprised with the contents inside. They are natural in color with translucent hues of pink, orange and yellow.
one has to solve the puzzle of what the box is made of. Much like the grain pattern of wood is enhanced by a lacquer finish, this “fruit leather” box is rubbed with coconut oil to give a hand rubbed finish that brings out the translucent skin colored. This mirrors the thin translucent skin my mother had during the last years of her life. Holding the box in my hand was like holding my mothers hand. The nested “clam shell” box from the two sides of the grapefruit is a tribute to the shaker boxes that are nested like Russian dolls. This may take some care and patience in opening, and may resist initially.
the yellow and orange translucent jingle shells have been collected by hand after being washed up on the shore at Sunken Meadow beach, Long Island. They protect the vulnerable mollusk inside. Their color mirrors the papers and the grapefruit boxes.
The edition size:
18 has special significance which means life or “chai” in Hebrew.
Size and materials:
The outer box was 3” diameter which is the maximum allowable definition for a miniature book. The MBS have a rule that if the book is in a box, the box could be bigger than 3”. But I feel this peel box is a part of the book. Like a turtle shell is part of the turtle. That is kind of the point of the theme: that what we consider the “container” is often overlooked and discarded like the grapefruit peel. However it is still part of the grapefruit. Just because we don’t eat it- the grapefruit couldn’t exist without its skin. Our attention in life is “consumed” with what we consume! We only are concerned with what suits us and we ignore everyone and everything else that gets in our way.
However, from a spiritual point of view, the shell has to come from a higher energetic source in order to protect its contents. In other words, our human body has a skin that is the largest “organ” of the body. It protects us from the outside world. It has to be from a “higher” source not to be invaded by the outside world and the elements - sun, rain, wind, dirt, germs. Both the seen and the unseen. The enemies can also come from within. An example- our stomach doesn’t dissolve from the acid contents. So in order for our body and soul to exist as a team we need to take care of our body in our lifetime and not hurt it purposely. Just like we need to respect the body after we die and give it a proper burial.
In this case the “body” of the the grapefruit is given a second life. After being turned inside out. It now has a second purpose as a container for a book. It has become a puzzle for people to figure out- what is this made out of? It is a comfort to hold in one’s hand and soft like skin. Some people call this fruit leather, for the vegetarians!
It is an object of beauty and also utilitarian. It is an object of wonder- how did he make that? It nests back together and fits snugly together. Part of the inspiration comes from the nested boxes that the Shakers made in this country. The shape is still round but flattened and shrunk. It should last forever. I have some for the past 20 years but they have become hardened.
This book is dedicated to Bernice Seidman, of blessed memory, who passed away peacefully at age 96 and to all the mothers that create a safe container for their children. They provide the protection so the soft vulnerable “fruit” of their womb can survive. Through the process of making the grapefruit peel boxes it has helped clarify what is my mom’s legacy. And all the women that work to create a vessel for their families. Like the peel they are overlooked, undervalued and neglected. Not as important as the fruit inside. But important nonetheless! They do Holy work at creating a safe container.
We take a moment of gratitude for our mothers in this world that brought us into life.
Discussion and spiritual journey:
We cannot choose the moment of our life or the moment of our death. That is in the hands of G-d. All we can decide is what we put inside the box of life we are given. The dimensions of the box is out of our control. But the good deeds and legacy is in our power. This is my legacy box in honor of my mother. Her skin is soft and thin like the box and sometimes the box cracks and sometimes she cuts her skin. They are both somewhat fragile.
I remember that we worked on “Greetings from Here” around the time my dad was passing from this world to the other side. It was a comfort to me to work on this project with you. I am grateful to you we have become friends and can work on this project together. I thank you very much.
It means a great deal to me.
This has become a spiritual journey for me.
It was a privilege meeting you in person and doing our spiritual work together.
Book Making by Miyako Akai
2019/8/ Miniature Book Fair (Indiana)で販売。通販開始
2020/12/ Washington University Librariesに収蔵されました。
2019/8/ The Cynthia Sears Collection, Bainbridge Island Museum of Artに収蔵されました。