Wednesday’s post was long enough so I didn’t add specific information about the side trip I’m taking after the Silk Study Tour to Japan ends. Prompted by one of the tour participants who is researching the mud dyeing traditions of various cultures and locales, I was inspired to go and see this for myself and add to my Japanese textile knowledge. I will spend 4 days there learning and exploring the textiles of Amami Oshima. Amami Oshima (oshima means island in Japanese) is the northernmost island in the Okinawan archipelago.
While the Ryuku Islands (and Okinawa) are well known for their Indigo dyeing and beautiful weavings using tropical plant fibers, Amami Oshima is known for its tradition of plant and mud dyeing on silk, often supplemented with indigo. Its beautiful and intricate weavings using the previously bound and dyed warp and weft threads are called Oshima Tsumugi. This link has a good description of the process and terms. Japan seems like it is filled with endless opportunities to learn and discover so many textile traditions and this is one I have not previously explored. Interestingly, I realize I have already collected a small sampling of these textiles! I’ve seen them here and there in Japan and picked some up when the price was not too steep just to study and enjoy them. A sampling:
A recent video shows more of the process and the issues facing the economics behind weaving this very time consuming textile. There is also a lot of indigo dyeing that occurs in the Ryukyu Islands perhaps in part due to its tropical and mild climate as well as the weaving of choice bast fibers, especially on Okinawa. I expect I will also see some of that on Amami Oshima as well. I also read where they produce a special type of sake there using sugar cane…will have to try it!
So the fabric collections I will be putting together for you includes one selection that will be collected only from Amami Oshima and I wanted to explain a little bit more about what that was all about. You can see the various collections that can be ordered here in the shop.
I look forward to sharing my Amami Oshima adventures here on the blog in early June.
Another month comes to a close here. We are getting some good rain again and are grateful. A cold and wet day means a good day for working inside and cleaning up paperwork, posting online, and answering emails.
shibori curves… like life and the unexpected curves
first time student was patient and deliberate-guntai shibori
Unfortunately, one of those emails was accepting the cancellation of two spots for this year’s Silk Study Tour to Japan. This year’s tour has been the year of cancellations! Never before have I had this many having to bow out of the tour! Almost all for health reasons unfortunately. What a disappointment for those who have had to back out! Every time I have been able to fill in the earlier spots but now, here we are in the home stretch, having to fill in a couple of spaces. Would you or someone you know like to join us? This tour is an exciting and educational adventure into the textile world of Japan wrapped in the culture and beauty of the Japanese people.
What will you experience?
a visit to a traditional sericulture farm
a visit with an indigo dyer
entrance into the beautiful museum of Ichiku Kubota
a night at a resort hotel overlooking Kawaguchi Lake
tour of a Silk Museum (or two! Yokohama optional)
several nights at a resort spa ryokan (inn) with traditional Japanese baths and a lovely traditional Japanese dinner
two nights in Tokyo Ginza area with free time to visit museums,shop and a day side trip to Kamakura and Yokohama-optional
a stop at a kimono museum (if open)
a visit to an obi weaver
a visit to Tomioka Silk Mill (new World Cultural Heritage site)
a stop at a textile museum
a morning at the famous Kyoto temple sales
a visit to the shibori museum in Kyoto
visit the Amuse Boro Museum in Tokyo(optional) Sadly, this museum is closing March 31
a visit to a washi studio (handmade papermaker)
a visit with a modern sericulturist
and any added invitations we may receive and accept! (we already have a few!)
a workshop with a natural dyer
a workshop with Ton Cara-a silk processing and weaving studio
Not to mention all the small moments that you will experience if you wonder and notice!This year (we always have repeat travelers as it is a trip that can be taken more than once), we have the honor to include once again, the author of the book American Silk, 1830-1930:Entrepreneurs and Artifacts, by Jacqueline Roberts and Madelyn Shaw. This book details the history of silk production in the US and is a wonderful look at early entrepreneurs and the textile mills pre-synthetics. I enjoyed it very much.
Coincidentally, I met Jacqueline at a Costume Society of America convention many years ago when it was in San Diego (2007 or ’08). She had a table in the vendor room and I saw her book on the table as I passed by. Of course I stopped and talked to her and bought the book. It was several years later that she came on the silk tour and I recognized her name. I had to ask if that had been her I bought her book from and of course it was! How interesting that our paths would cross like that!You can book the tour with or without airfare- ask me for the Land Only price. More info here. Single supplement also available. Please share with anyone you know who might be interested!
This little moon fragment carried me north recently to lead a shibori and indigo workshop for the Central Coast Weavers. It was a wonderful group of women who weave and share an enthusiasm for fiber in many forms. The workshop space, a large private studio affectionally known as “The Barn” kept us warm with a wood burning stove in one corner, fed with a kitchen area stocked with home baked breads and more, and busy with a large working area. Rosemary and Kay, the owners and creators of The Barn, have the second floor space lined with rows of large floor looms- maybe 15-20. I don’t think I have ever seen such a variety of large working looms in one location.
Previous to the workshop day, I gave a lecture on silk at their monthly members meeting where they have a “show and tell”. Some of the things that they brought to share with members included this wonderful rug that was woven by one of the women. I think it was my favorite!
hand woven wool rug by Central Coast Weavers member
I can’t remember her name but she is the one holding the rug at the far end. They also had a little fundraising raffle at the meeting where members bring something fiber related they no longer need and if it is something you would like to re-home you can put some of your raffle tickets in the cup for that item. Everything found a new home-plus the guild got some money for new books for their library. Lovely to see and thoughtfully purposeful!
The Barn workspace-a half-view
There is a new package being prepared for Wendy. It will contain a set of needles and indigo threads.Someone might have a desire to add to the cloth in their own way, to hold the needle in their hand and feel of the thread as it is pulled through the cloth. It might just start someone wondering.
a moon divided,united in stitch
across many moons
Right now though, the 3rd storm of the week here is drenching us-as if trying to wash away and clear out all the drama of this past week. I welcome it. I just hope all my monarch cats are finding refuge out there somewhere. And that the sun will come out next week and dry out my poor flooded studio space!
leave it to jude and the other clothmates to distract me from my other work today. but being sunday it felt right to follow and honor the muse with a little free weaving. even the moon was game. collecting and catching cloth and ideas for the boro panel of the jacket.
i started a flickr set for extra pics from the workshop here.
started in on some of the large custom indigo boro packs and some base dyeing for ribbon and pocket squares. tonight i’ll be at the ironing board then out to wrap the silk for the discharge bath tomorrow.
last night as a guest of diana (thank you!!), i attended a lecture, dinner and opening of the 67th Scripps Ceramic Annual, which is the longest continuous exhibition of contemporary ceramics in the United States. it is her alma mater and the same college where Paul Soldner (contemporary raku master- now passed) taught ceramics. Paul Soldner himself curated this annual exhibition for over 30 years and now it features a list of guest curators. it was wonderful to see what support they have engendered for ceramics there- many long time contributors and patrons to the program. 67 years is a LOT of ceramics! I particularly liked the works by Brendan Tang and Matt Wedel. although i listened to the hour long talk by this year’s curator, i wasn’t buying all of it. i admit, the balloon thing just wasn’t working for me or even the clay pieces with the rotting tomatoes- no matter what kind of spin you put on it. from my perspective it was definitely trying my patience to convince me it was worth being part of the show. i must be getting old or something…
sometimes art just gets to conceptual for me.