August 28, 2009
While I was in Japan last month, I came across a stack of panels of patched, cotton kaya or mosquito netting, three panels of which are shown here. These panels were taken from a full kaya, which was a tent of gauzy cotton and was feature of almost every home in old Japan–Japanese summers are hot and sticky, and mosquitoes are everywhere.
I think these panels look best when suspended and back lit; in this way, the layered patches play best against the translucent, gauzy cotton, creating a beautiful contrast.
By seeing these three panels together, you get a good sense of what the owner of this full kaya would have seen in their own home: quite a beautiful display of patches and unintended visual syncopation.
Notice, too, how the blue, vertical stripes are woven into the cloth: at each selvedge edge they are given 1/2 their normal width: this was done to create visual coherence when one panel was placed next to another panel. The flow of stripes would be even all around the kaya.
Over time, starting soon, on my website I will be offering these kaya panels for sale. If you’re interested in them, please don’t hesitate writing.