Tag Archives: hemp

collected folk fabrics-indigo, kasuri, hemp and more

backside-silk floats across two flowers

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…

asa (hemp) weaving indigo

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-

cotton or linen warp, silk weft kasuri

~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!

kasuri detail

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-

komebukuro-sack for offering rice at the temple for special religious ceremonies

~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:

inside full view-1

more inside detail

edge detail and rope

bag bottom inside

outside view 2

another outside view

And today, while silk was steaming on poles, I dyed up the mandalas I exampled in the online workshop-

indigo mandala with itajime on cotton organza

that’s all I can manage right now-whoops, except for this:

itajime indigo on hemp- table mat and coasters

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-

kimono lining silk indigo dyed

There is a shop update in the near future.

I am not your aggregate

..or maybe that is all I am. At least to Google and Facebook.
Some days I want to opt out completely, to scream “I am not an aggregate of anything!” but then I realize that I still have to keep a roof over my head, food on the table and the lights on. I want to use technology- not have it use me. Is this even possible anymore?

Oh good grief- there she goes again, you might be thinking now. All you wanted was a quick trip into shiboriland or a little visit to the dyepot with some pretty pictures and a little inspiration to start the day with. But here you are. So with that in mind, I offer up a couple of pretty pictures and a word or two.


some recent work- itajime indigo on handwoven hemp and some silk gauze arashi shibori

-AND the option to get out now while you still can. Or as Flickr likes to say “Take me to the kittens!” (i’ve always liked those kittens!)

~~~well, if you are still here~~~
Jason Lanier believes it takes about 10 years for us to give up an idea we are attached to.
I’m inclined to agree. And that’s if we are really trying! He also has some pretty interesting insights into technology-where it started and where it may be going. To some he may sound negative or cynical but I can feel his optimism if we truly are willing to look at the bigger picture.

An idea that turns out to be wrong which we have attached ourselves to and have allowed to shape the ways in which we go about our daily lives is indeed a very hard thing to let go of.

Patience is required not only with others but with ourselves in order to move forward. I am in the process now of discovering that some of the ideas to which I have attached myself to in the past are simply no longer true- that they simply do not fit the paradigm in which I find myself existing. The problem I am having with this is that I’m not sure I have a new idea with which to replace the old one. It’s difficult to leave that space blank but usually that is really the answer for the moment- to just leave the space open and see what comes next.
Technology and the internet are changing so quickly anymore that I often find myself at odds with it and wondering if I am using it wisely.

It seems to me that certain basic truths are becoming more eclipsed by all the layers of busyness which I succumb to in my daily life. Eclipse as a metaphor. More on that later.

I am in the process of reorganizing a number of things-one of them is my virtual self. If you use my personal facebook page as a way of connecting to my blog, please consider becoming part of my studio page. I am in the process of clearing up my personal page and limiting it to those who I regularly connect with on a personal basis. I hope no one will take offense at this. It is also going to allow me to separate my shibori/art/craft/dyeing posts to the studio page and not bore the rest of my friends and family with all that stuff unless they specifically ask to be included by joining in over there. Less duplication and interruption. At least this is the intention. We’ll see how it goes.

If you are a regular reader here, you also know I am working on something different in the way of a subscription video series. Many thanks to those of you who have subscribed- expect to receive your link via email on Wednesday afternoon (PST). I am looking forward to welcoming you into the studio.

Change is in the air it seems. I am surrounded by it. Schools are getting back in session, seasons changing. Lots of changing energies. Fall, it seems, is upon us.

The madness has passed, at least for now. Back to the studio.

more indigo practice


First, a little business and a reminder that my new class at Joggles starts Feb. 18. If you are signed up for the class, you will receive a supply list email one week prior ( Feb.11). I’m considering trying out a few new interactive ideas with this class. What if once a week for the five weeks I set aside an additional 30-45 minutes to take a few 5-10 minute Skype calls from students? We could make appointments through the forums. I don’t know- it could be fun. Kind of like the teacher having office hours. You could show me your work and ask me questions via video conference. Of course this assumes your computer has isight or a camera.
Just a thought. Well, I simply have way too much to do right now but wanted to remind you about the class- go ahead, sign up and learn some techniques for creating some beautiful silk fabrics with Colorhue dyes. Colorhue is simple to use but does have it’s limitations in regards to making certain colors. The techniques you will learn can be applied to any dyeset of your choice.

I’ll leave you with some indigo I worked on today. All of this is already spoken for but in time there will be more posted in the etsy shop.