August 22, 2013

Two Panorama Views of Our Show at Kafka's

On Sunday evening, an amazing Vancouver photographer known for his mind-bending wide-angle views, came to shoot some panoramas of our show. Click and drag to move around, and +/- to zoom.

Got a Mac, iPad or Flash issues? Click these HTML5 links:
View #1
View #2

Now that you have a good view of the show, we can post our 'statements':

Aya: Heavy Lines

My work is usually representational, so I used the daily deadlines of a recent Thirty Days Project to challenge myself to work in abstraction. Selecting a few of those thirty pieces for further examination, I studied with a classic sumi-e teacher in Osaka to learn new brush and ink techniques in order to express them more completely.
The finished pieces are abstractions of real-world subjects and their simple, bold, dynamic lines belie the technical and physical demands involved in their creation.

Keith: Heavy Skies 

Lifted Condensation Limit: the flat bottom of towering clouds caused by cool temperatures condensing the moisture out of warm, rising air.

Tadao Ando: self-taught Japanese architect whose designs include spare, angled slabs of unfinished concrete that follow the forms of their surroundings and use light and shadow to create a sense of improbable buoyancy.

Extruded Polystyrene: rigid, light-weight foam, often used for non-load-bearing architectural structures. Its closed-cell structure gives an appearance similar to concrete when used in ink-based printmaking.

Horisusumi: 彫進み “progressive carving”, a printmaking technique using one block to apply multiple colours to a print, carving away new sections of the block between print runs until nothing remains and no further prints are possible.

See more on
Aya's portfolio site
Keith's portfolio site

August 19, 2013

More Photos of Our Show...

We had an amazing local photographer come and take some special photos of our show at Kafka's. We will post the results here in a few days.
Aya's cats and crows are selling well.

Aya's three large paintings catch the reflected evening sun.

Aya's Heavy Lines 04.

Keith's Heavy Skies series.

August 16, 2013

Our Show, "Heavy Skies & Lines", at Kafka's in Vancouver

We have been working all through July and August, preparing our work for this show at Kafka's.

Planning the arrangement.

The curator, Michael Schwartz, helped enormously with the installation.

Vinyl lettering looks great applied directly to the wall.

Aya couldn't resist including some of her animal watercolour pieces. They were the first to sell.

Opening night.

Many thanks to everyone who came out on a damp Thursday evening.

Tim Gerwing played music from his Thirty Days Project work.

May 13, 2013

Imported Cheese

A very good friend of a very good friend has been studying cheese-making in Switzerland and making cheese in northern Japan.

She kindly brought some for us to sample.

Delicious, dense, slightly crumbly, like a fine grana. I wish we could get this without involving quite so many airplanes.

March 9, 2013

Vancouver: A Sign of Spring

A sure sign of spring showed up last week: a lawn suddenly scattered with crocuses.


February 18, 2013

Black Garlic

We have been making black garlic, fermenting entire buds slowly over two weeks and then drying them for another week.

With a texture like soft, creamy dates, the black garlic adds a dark, fruity richness to roast beef gravy and goes amazingly well with most cheeses.

January 27, 2013

Burns Supper, 2013: Toast To The Lassies Revised

The dirge of winter upon us, we were happy to be invited to one of the season's highlights: the Robert Burns Supper.

The haggis (both traditional and veggie) were particularly tasty, and the whiskies included a Talisker, a Balvenie, two Ardbegs and a very special Bunnahabhain.

There was much delight in readings of all sorts, and even a multi-media rap extravaganza. That is not a joke, it was incredible.

Aya gave an energetic and sincere rendition of the Selkirk Grace while wearing a tiny hat that she had decorated.

Keith had to find a way to up the ante on last year's sideburns.

Our starlit, effervescent Host and our robust, erudite Chairman generously invited Keith to repeat his Toast To The Lassies that he wrote for last year's Supper. That original contained some now-outdated material, so he gave it a re-working and even managed to memorize it. Here it is, with the borrowed bits glossed below:

A Toast to the Lassies.

To honour the Lassies from the heart,
I think we must really go back to the start,
While Evolution's advances may sometimes perplex us,
Its best move was our split into two different sexes,

None of us here, of course, can remember,
What life was like before there was gender,
Think of the emptiness, the complete perversity,
Of life in the time before biodiversity,

But we left that tangled bank1 behind,
And what a pleasure, then, to find,
The act of mating befits the Id2,
Far more than parthenogenesis3 did,

It has been the root of all our thriving,
As we've increased it's been rhythmically driving,
Over aeons, our selections;
Selfish genes4 cloaked in affections,

Now here is Mars, and here is Venus,
And vive la difference between us,
This twinkling binary constellation
Illuminates our primal fascination,

Man's life is enriched by these cherished Others,
Friends, sisters, lovers, wives and mothers,
He's charmed by their wild and graceful eccentricity5,
And clumsily joins in an eager domesticity,

To a marriage a Lassie brings what she will,
Her blend of strength and passion and skill,
She offers her Self, her sincerest treasure,
And a Lad reciprocates with pleasure,

For every man quietly comes to know,
Whether or not he lets it show,
That without Woman there is no Man,
Woman is, therefore I am,

So Eilidh, Shawna, Tracey, Janet,
And Aya (the origin of life upon my planet),
Please take this crude communication,
As pure and deep appreciation,

I've made this project too complex,
While that's a birthright of my sex,
My caveman forebears doubtless would,
Have simply grunted, "woman good",

And now the toast at last is here,
Raise your whisky, wine or beer,
And as we drink don't think me rude,
If I ask that we might all include,

Not just the Lassies in our quorum,
But all their kin who've gone before 'em,
Their living faces freshly bloom,
In every flower in this room.

To the Lassies!

©Keith Ikeda-Barry


January 25, 2013


We were just back in cold, cold Toledo to attend my father's retirement party. This nice little write-up appeared on his company's website. Read the whole thing here.

Chris Barry looks back at 45 years in glass.

17 January 2013

Chris Barry had just returned from two years hitchhiking around the world when he was offered his first job with Pilkington, in Canada. Dismayed by this evidence of a free spirit, one of his new bosses warned: "He's not stable - he's not going to stay."

Chris BarryForty-five years later, Chris is still here. But only just - at the age of 72, he will be retiring from his role of Director of Technical Services, Architectural Glass, this month (January).
Born in Ireland, Chris gained his engineering degree from University College Dublin and worked for Smith Control Systems in the UK before setting off on the extended gap year which so unsettled his future employers at Pilkington.

Read the rest.

December 20, 2012

Christmas 2012

Best wishes for a very happy holiday season to all our friends and family on both the internet and the outernet.

With love from Keith and Aya.

October 17, 2012

Pork Pie and Éphémère Apple Beer

We have written before about Éphémère Apple Beer.
One thing that it pairs with particularly well is a pork pie from Oyama Sausage Company.

Crispy, flaky pastry filled with dense, flavourful pork sausage. A perfect match for the green apple flavours in the wheat beer.

Available from their shop on Granville Island, if you're in town. 

Not sure how we missed this when we posted about Summer Goodies a little while ago. Aya's tomatoes had a ripping season once the weather got warm. The red ones came in by the handful. When they were finished, the yellow, pear-shaped ones came in by the bowlful.

October 12, 2012

Japanese-Style Bath in a North American Bathroom

This is the view from the tub (o-furo) at a hot-springs resort (onsen) in Kanazawa, Japan.

Even if the ocean is inconveniently distant when building your onsen there are other options for a nice bathing environment.

Gero onsen enclosed the o-furo with bamboo screens, delicate trees, and river rocks.

Ha-ha! Mini legs.

Another tub at Gero onsen.

The courtyard in a private home is an opportunity create a beautiful bathing environment.

Even in smaller home a bathing room can be a serene, beautiful place.

Here is the view from the average North American bath-tub.


Why do we put the clean and the dirty in the same space?

Unable to renovate the bathroom and bring it up to Japanese standards, Keith sketched out some ideas for a work-around.

Coolite Bamboo on Hastings Street in Vancouver sells blinds and screens, cut to measure.

The screen is heavy enough that it stands beautifully on its own. With a potted plant from our balcony, things start to look much better. Perhaps something grassy, with a stone or two, can replace the potted plant in the future.

We'd still like something to hid the tank. Perhaps a framed painting that could come down off the wall when needed.

The screen rolls up and fits nicely into the bathroom cupboard after a relaxing soak.
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