I wanted t0 do a little post on some of the fabrics I brought back with me from Japan. The first one is a bit of a curiosity to me which is why I bought it at one of the temple sales I wandered through. I’m sure this technique has a name and a history but since I had never seen it ( or noticed it) before, I was quite unaware of it. At first I was drawn to it because of the indigo, next by the hemp, and also by the subtle pattern woven into it. Then I noticed that it was also embroidered with silk here and there. Not only that, but what I saw as embroidery seems to actually have been added into the design as it was being woven. There are large floats across the back too. What is this called? Is it common? I like so many things about this fabric. I like the uncommon pairing of the course hemp and the lustrous silk. Perhaps John Marshall might know- or a weaver passing through…
The light flowers, stems, and leaves first appear as if they could be katazome, but no. The back side shows the motif as darker than the ground. A form of kasuri? Or just a kind of double weave floating the lighter weft over the darker warp threads. I just don’t know. Again, a question for a weaver to answer. And then with the silk. a soft handspun yarn lightly dyed -perhaps with madder. Three pieces of this I dug out of a pile of things under a table, appear to be an old obi.
Then there was this-
~this was found at the same flea market where I found the zakuri. the seller had several fine textiles. Makoto bought one especially nice boro kimono for his wife. This was in his scrap box (where I shop!) and I loved the color and the two way kasuri pattern. The warp is a fine black cotton and the weft a lovely orange slightly slubby fine silk. A great combo. He had several pieces and I bought only two and had regrets by the time I got home for not buying it all. To our surprise, the next day we saw him again at a different temple sale and I asked if he had brought it with him and he dug it out of a box and I bought the rest. So 5 pieces in all-a kimono that was taken apart for cleaning and never put back together. I love that about kimono. The making of them does not require cutting into the fabric except for length and in the end you can dismantle the piece and use it all over again. What plain and common sense!
Walking back to the train one day I came upon a small street where a few vendors had thrown down some tarps with kimono and fabric piled onto them. I picked up a couple of things-
The one on the left (partially shown) is a shibori noren. Likely made or at least tied in China. The other one seemed more possibly Japanese. I liked what I saw in it.
Two kasuri jackets or possibly summer weight yogi (for sleeping) – both in great condition. All hand sewn. Each use different cotton kasuri fabrics. A couple of small seam repairs and I may put one of them in the shop. It’s quite small. But the fabric is wonderful.
I’ve saved the best for last-
~this particular one appears to be quite old and with many boro patches. It employs various homespun cotton fabrics and the rope appears to be handmade from hemp fibers. Also quite large-12 x 20″ at least. The inside is more interesting than the outside-you can better see the patchwork. I would guess this one to be from the Meiji era (1868-1912). I appropriately found it at a temple sale. A few more pics of it:
And today, while silk was steaming on poles, I dyed up the mandalas I exampled in the online workshop-
that’s all I can manage right now-whoops, except for this:
Took this for a test drive and liked it-fabric is some hemp I found along with the komebukuro and I’ve backed the coasters with a little hand stitched kasuri. They’re reversible. Moons of course. I keep wondering why we can’t have hemp in this country…it’s just such a practical enduring fabric.
whoops- almost forgot the silk-some kimono lining silk rescued and indigo dyed-
There is a shop update in the near future.