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Archives for August, 2009

Three Panels of Patched Cotton Kaya: Mosquito Netting

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Indigo Dyed Cotton Kasuri Warp Yarns from Kurume

August 24, 2009

Shown today are indigo dyed cotton yarns to use in the weaving of Kurume kasuri, a very distinctive form of ikat from Kurume on Kyushu Island that is characterized by its bold, geometric designs: white-on-blue.

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These warp yarns, when rolled into balls as they are here, make beautiful objects: each is many, many meters long and are all the yarns are tied by hand before dyeing.

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Last week I offered one for sale on my website; I will be offering these, too, in time.  If you find that you just can’t live without one, don’t hesitate writing me, I’ll be happy to make sure you get a good one.  The largest one is 11″ or 28 cm in diameter and in addition to the stark white-on-dark blue dye on this large ball, there are also some areas of a pale blue color, called asagi.

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Have a look at a YouTube video showing some of the dyeing process of Kurume kasuri, here.

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They’re really beautiful, aren’t they?  I believe they are from the 50s or 60s–possibly later.

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