Christopher Farr Debuts Artful Collection of Rugs with Makoto Kagoshima and Chariots on Fire
One-of-a-kind rugs translate the ceramic artist's playful botanical prints into painterly floor coverings made from hand-knotted, hand-spun Afghan wool
Based on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu, Makoto Kagoshima is revered around the globe for his exquisite ceramics that feature hand-drawn botanical forms. In his work, bulbous blooms and leafy vines float freely in a carefully orchestrated compilation that the artist adorns with painted bursts of color and unique textures.
Now, those striking ceramic forms are being translated into textiles thanks to a collaboration with rug maker Christopher Farr and Venice, California, art and design gallery Chariots on Fire, which first brought Kagoshima’s work to the United States.
“I first saw Makoto’s work at the home of collectors Kevin and Alisa Ratner and while I was there I also met Ritsuko Yagi, founder of Chariots on Fire, who subsequently introduced me to Makoto at the opening of a show of his work,” Farr tells Galerie. “I was immediately inspired by his unique, one-of-a-kind works of art, and seeing each item shown as part of a collection was truly enthralling. We began the conversation of transforming his designs into a collection of rugs. It’s a project that has taken over two years to produce because it was so important to capture the energy of his work within what is a new medium of expression for him. I do think it is perhaps the best work we’ve ever done.”
“Nothing could be edited without disturbing the perfection of the artist’s own vision”Christopher Farr
On view in Christopher Farr’s Los Angeles showroom, the collection translates Kagoshima’s distinct designs onto nine, one-of-a-kind rugs made of hand-knotted, hand-spun Afghan wool. “Makoto’s ceramics could be followed exactly in shape form and color, and other than scale, nothing could be edited without disturbing the perfection of the artist’s own vision,” says Farr. “Changing color to match a designer’s scheme was not an option. These rugs are one-off artworks that happen to be on the floor and are designed to be the inspiration and starting point for the designer. Being one of a kind they will be treasured as heirlooms and valuable assets in the coming years.”
The debut coincides with an exhibition of Kagoshima’s work at Chariots of Fire, who helped the artist select prints that could be translated into rug designs. “Ritsuko and I picked ceramics from the Chariots on Fire archive which we felt would be a fun play of scale that led to the textural and colorful translation of ceramics to wool,” says Kagoshima. “The color translation was lead by Ritsuko to remain true to the spectrum and tonal variations of the glaze firing apparent in my work. These rugs are meant to bring vibrance to the surfaces of modern and classic interiors.”
Intentionally crafted in a circular design to mimic the shape of Kagoshima’s ceramic plates and platters, the rugs transcend both artisans expectations. “Both mediums, ceramic and weaving, are very much about the importance of hand craft, texture, materiality and color,” he says. “But when we started exploring the designs, we discovered the ground color Makoto uses for many of his ceramics is a stony off-white with a multitude of subtle tones—this palette corresponded perfectly with the weave quality we have in our production center in Aqcha, Afghanistan, which has the spirit and quality that echoes Makoto’s process. This is the common ground that has proven key to the successful translation from ceramic to weave.”
“These rugs are meant to bring vibrance to the surfaces of modern and classic interiors”Makoto Kagoshima
Kagoshima too found a surprising synchronicity in the collaboration. “I was surprised by the artistry and advanced skill of the craftsmen who created these rugs,” he tells Galerie. “Also, there is gradation in the way this particular wool took the dye, which is very similar to the way my glaze appears on the surface of my ceramics. This gradation gives wonderful depth when the material is woven into shape. Clay and wool is an entirely different material however, I was very happy to be able to create something with the same soulfulness.”