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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.

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.


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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.


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.


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.


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

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


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