tsujigahana on my mind

As those of you who have come along on the Silk Study Tour to Japan, you have had the opportunity to visit the Ichiku Kubota Museum. There is not a single person that has visited here on the various tours that left this exhibit unmoved or unchanged. Many have shed tears while experiencing this place, or while contemplating what we had just seen, while enjoying the tea room upstairs overlooking the garden waterfall. Even if you know nothing about Kubota when you enter, when you leave you long for more. There is a spiritual connection to beauty in the work, the surroundings and gardens, the architecture, and a deep respect for passion and perseverance he brought forth. Even though much of the experts in the various videos talk about the painting and imagery in his works, I am in awe of his deep understanding of and connection to the materials he used, and especially of the silk fabrics he utilized to get the results he saw in his very keen mind’s eye. The way he used stitch to bind and to texture the silk was a marvel. Even thinking about it now can transport me to that place.

Back in 2009 I blogged about my first visit there I was on the first Silk Study Tour to Japan with Maggie Backman and took a day away from the tour by bus to check out this museum. Beginning in 2011, all the tours have included a stop at this wonderful place!

You can enjoy this many part documentary covering various aspects of Kubota’s work here.

and this website-

Way back in 2008 I made a little silk baby quilt after looking at some of Kubota’s work. It was a meek attempt but I enjoyed trying out some ideas. I called it the “journey quilt”, the moon to guide the way, waves to sooth, and mountains to climb. “The baby” just turned 13! Simply made so it could actually be finished, he still has it.

One weekend at the Japanese American National Museum we studied and attempted some small tsujigahana ourselves. We came to understand its complexity. I have never really gone back to studying or practicing this technique but if you are so inclined, the marvelous John Marshall is giving an online workshop all about tsujigahana! Here he gives a brief description of the process. Here is a link to John’s workshop hosted by Botanical Colors. I’m sure it will be wonderful!

That’s all today. I have had the links to the Kubota Collection in a draft post since December and thought it would be a good time to get it out there since John is doing a tsujigahana workshop next month.

11 thoughts on “tsujigahana on my mind

    1. shiborigirl Post author

      Just writing this post made me want to try a couple more ideas. It looks like John’s workshop is sold out! Guess I was a little too late to mention it. I wonder which book you are getting. I have several that Fumiko Satou gave me that are Japanese publications.


  1. D Brooking

    Good afternoon. I have enjoyed reading your posts for several years. I enjoyed making Shibori but unfortunately several of the images faded. I used the steaming method to set the colors on silk but I’m afraid it didn’t work. Is there another way for me to set the colors? I have attached an image of one of my pieces and also, I have attached one of my sublimation pieces: ink under heat and pressure until it binds with the aluminum substrate. Thank you.Daniel T. Brooking


    1. shiborigirl Post author

      Hi Daniel- I couldn’t see a link or attachment- attachments to blog comments are not possible here. I would start by questioning what dyes you are using for the silk. Silk is very easy to dye with acid dyes. Perhaps that is an issue. I am not knowledgeable about the sublimation process. I use jacquard acid dyes for my silk. Never had an issue with them fading. (I also removed your email link here) you can use the contact link to email me directly.


  2. johnmarshall302

    Hi Glennis- Thanks for the generous plug! I Imagine you already know how to do the painted detailing – just soymilk and sumi or indigo pigment, using a mensou-fude brush for the lines and a surikomibake for the shading. I have so much more respect for those of you who do the shibori and all the effort and love you must put into each piece! Gratefully, -John

    Liked by 1 person

    1. shiborigirl Post author

      I have seen it in videos but not practiced it like you have. I do have some sumi pens with very fine tips I bought in Japan. They worked for me in the past. Glad your workshop filled so quickly!!



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