Just have to add this here if you haven’t seen it yet. If so, it’s worth viewing more than once.
And if you missed the video of her I shot in 2011-
Richard had translated for me back then-
Yup, it’s really interesting. Someone asks her how long she’s been at it. She answers she’s been doing it for 81 years now, and that when they all started, kids started in elementary school back then. She says they competed to be the best, from even such an age. And that back then there were lots of “shokunin”, or craftsmen(and women, I imagine), 100 or more. She says she’s from Narumi. She goes on to reveal that her age is 92 and that the woman next to her is 2 years older yet(like it’s some contest or something)
And after a second listening he adds: OOps, she’s been doing it for 83 years. Back then, you started when you started elementary school. They competed to remember different techniques and patterns. There were 120 patterns that had to be remembered, but now there are only 70 or so that are done, the others having been abandoned. She says she did a lot of work back then as a student, and then restates herself to emphasize the amt (like “I did a ton!”)
Also, please note that if you receive the daily dyer and have not renewed your subscription for the second 6 months- I will be removing your access as of this Friday the 21st. ( So please catch up on posts before then! And thank you for participating these past 6 months.)
along with stories, thoughts, and a renewed passion- i brought back a few souvenirs. mementos really, of the past. but looking forward to the future. somehow.
note the price. this is the real stuff. and you pay for it. that translates to about $850 for the roll. i would guess these were done in Japan. all this cotton shibori is sold by the roll only (full roll shibori was beyond my budget and really i don’t have a need for it but really enjoyed looking at!). no cuts, unless it’s scraps you find around here and there (which i did buy a bit of and turned into some shibori collections for the shop). some others were about $225 for a roll. they were done in China and had typical patterns. an occasional shop (not in arimatsu though) sold the Chinese shibori by the meter. not indigo dyed. these here are specifically for yukata and are more complex…not just the typical kanoko. lots more stitching here. like in the samples i brought back. the really good stuff was available in the high end custom kimono shops i saw around Tokyo. oh my! just fabulous. and very exclusive. not done in China.
the souvenir shop is open again. have a few more things to post but this is it for now. time to be done with the computer.
yes, i’m back. Japan was wonderful, of course. the tour was amazing. i’ve written a couple of post-tour posts but after re-reading them nothing really feels right. too many words. so for now, i’ll just leave you with this:
i’ll be selecting some of these to put into the shop in a couple of days but thought it would be fun to photograph them and put them up for inspiration. these were all numbered with their pattern numbers…some as high as the 7000’s.
these shibori samples were found in Arimatsu, Japan and remind me how skill can develop over time if one is willing to put time into practice. are we still willing to allow art and craft to be created in this way? these are things i wonder about these days… ~ these seem to focus on makiage, makinui,orinui,boshi,muira and kanoko techniques. there literally must have been 10’s of 1000’s made over time. mind boggling. and beautiful. part of their beauty is what this represents. at least to me.
I just finished a post over on the virtual silk study tour page which I have left open (public). Mostly this blog is password protected but thought I’d be a bit of a tease and give you a glimpse. Also a video I shot the other day had some dialog that my friend Richard was kind enough to translate for me and seems important to share with all.
While I am working on merchandise for the Houston Festival I thought you might be interested to see a video I recently watched on Arimatsu’s fall festival where several floats are paraded around town. These floats date from the late 1600’s to mid 19th century and are taken out twice a year-once in the spring (3rd Sunday in March) for the Shibori Festival and then again for the Autumn Festival (1st Sunday in October) . Karakuri dolls (mechanized puppets) decorate the floats and perform special duties such as letter writing and small papers are symbolically thrown from the floats. Note the shibori fabrics worn by the local men hoisting the float.
I have always been drawn to Japanese puppetry. When I was in college I was fortunate to take a class in puppetry from Charles Taylor where I explored and made several puppets loosely based on kakakuri. Having grown up in Japan I had also experienced several bunraku performances. Mr. Taylor’s style of puppetry was completely different but he was very encouraging of my diversions. As usual, I was on my own path.
Two summers ago on a trip to Japan with the boys, I took these videos of a kakakuri at a Kyoto shrine.
You dropped coins into a box and the kakakuri delivered a prayer paper to you which you then tied to a string holding the prayers of many others. Students were out in full force placing prayer papers in hopes of achieving good marks on their exams.
I will be in Arimatsu next May but I will miss any festival involving the floats but I understand they are housed in a float museum in Arimatsu. I’ll probably pass on that since I expect to be busy looking at shibori!