On arrival in Kiryu I found the supporting brackets being fixed to the wall with the help of three sculptors who rose and fell on wonderful vertical forklift arrangements, (made in USA). This was for the horizontal top bar which was already drilled very accurately with holes every 10cm. The 9 strips were fixed, one at a time, to this by small steel bolts passing between the two woven-in rods at the top of each strip. This made a very neat fixing and was the idea of Minori Yamazaki, the overall organiser of all the art objects in the building. Then the stretch rods were inserted and new ones cut for the lower half of each strip. Two steel tapes hung from the top fixing bar to keep everything level. Each stretch rod was fixed at one end with a twist of steel wire so it could not ever fall out...they do have earthquakes in that part of Japan!
It took a full 3 days to get the 9 strips up; then another long piece of steel was bolted to the bottom to line everything up. The hacksaw blades I had brought with me just lasted out; breaking at the final cut. I was helped endlessly and unobtrusively by my erecting crew. I did go up in the forklift 'people-carrier' once but most of this work was done by a Mr Yano, who of course got nicknamed Mr Yoyo because of his constant up and down journeys. Only at the very end did he confess he was scared of heights!
The lighting of the hanging was not ideal at night time but will be altered in the future. By daylight the glass ceiling was an excellent source of light.
I saw in the making and finishing Mr Arai's steel yarn work for the Centre. He had got 16 students each to weave about 5 metres of material using the yarn warp and weft, in any colour or weave they liked, with frequent changes of both. These were stitched edge to edge then put on a large mesh work screen. Then Mr Arai, poised on a ladder and hanging onto a roof beam, directed them to fold and crease and move this about, to create a 3-D surface of great interest and variety. They then stitched this into position and onto the mesh backing. It was then carted on a truck to the Centre and the screen screwed to the wall. It was interesting to me that we had both approached the project by making strips, but whereas mine gave a very geometric and ordered result, Arai's result was completely organic and suggested all sorts of images from nature.
The building was opened on May 11th, 1997, with a wonderful performance by a drummer and ending with the last movement of Beethoven's 9th symphony! Sheila Hicks had an exhibition there and had designed a huge stage curtain to descibe which would be a story in itself. She is having a show of steel textiles at MOMA.
I feel I was very lucky to be in at the start of the stainless steel yarn story, which I hope sincerely will continue to develop.