Tomorrow marks the last day of the Make It In Design Winter School. My final submission has been uploaded and (thanks to life-saving, child-care-providing friends) submitted with four hours to spare; result! This week’s brief is entitled ‘Kabuki’s Kingdom.’ While roughly able to to cobble together a definition for ‘Kingdom’, I drew a total blank at ‘Kabuki,’ (note to designer-self: get more cultured. It’s getting embarrassing). So I did what any self-respecting moron does; I put all my trust in Wikipedia. According to said holy grail of internet knowledge, the history of Kabuki can be dated back to 1603. As such, there are reams of information relating to this art form on the world wide web. Short on time and devoid of inclination, I satisfied myself with the nutshell definition: ‘a classical Japanese dance-drama.’

I was tasked with creating a decorative Kabuki inspired design. It had to stand out, be detailed and invoke the Japanese theatre. Key words to prompt the design process included:


Theatre           Ornate           Pictorial          Decorative           Placement           Beasts

                     Embroidery           Abstract           Japanese           Symmetry


I’ll admit …. I struggled with this one. Drawing motifs: not too much of an issue. Translating motifs into some spectacular display of visual theatre: non-starter. My first attempt resulted in some kind of tedious Japanesey patchwork thing. It did nothing to fulfil the brief, and it certainly did nothing for me. If Kabuki was an insipid Plain Jane, then I had reached new design heights:



A night’s sleep later, I adopted the layering technique. Whilst nothing about the two final outcomes screams ‘Kabuki!!!” at me, I do think they possess decorative qualities, and have an air of the Japanese about them. If nothing else, they’re an improvement on the patchwork car crash.

And my friend said she liked them.




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