[ Content | Sidebar ]

Archives for April, 2010

A Cloud of Rustic Tabi Patterns

April 30, 2010

Have a look at this arrangement of wonderful things: this cloud is composed of old, tabi patterns which were cut from recycled, thick paper.  They’re really, really fantastic.

Tabi1aThere are over 30 pieces.  Judging from the various sizes of the each of the patterns, it seems they are size graded, but in no particular order—certainly not in the jumble in which they were found.Tabi1b

Tabi1cEach piece is fascinating.  They probably date to the 1930s or so.Tabi1dI just find this an amazingly and visually fascinating group.  Having the patterns arranged on my wall has given me such pleasure: what a treat it is to look up from my work and to see this in the distance.Tabi1e

In: - Comments closed

Rustic Himo or Rope from Twisted Recycled Cloth

April 27, 2010

Today I am showing something wonderful and unusual: it is a length of himo or rope that has been made by twisting scraps of indigo dyed cloth and forming a long, blue cord.

Himo1This mess of blue cord, on the right, is the prize.  It is not often that you see rustic rope of this kind that is made from such luscious scraps: twisted in the jumble are pieces of indigo dyed tsumugi or hand spun silk and katazome dyed indigo cloth–among which are scraps of Edo komon, a kind of small figured cloth which was produced in the 19th century.Himo1b

Himo1cOne never knows the intented function of this kind of rope: it could have been used for everyday activities, or, maybe, it was used in the deep countryside for their local matsuri or shrine festivals.  In any case, coming across a rope that is so rich in various types of antique indigo cloth is a real find.Himo1dThe cloth used to create this rope seems to belong to the late nineteenth century.Himo1e

Himo1fThis lovely ball of himo, shown above and below, is more typical of the kind of rustic rope you find for the reason that the cotton that is twined to make the rope is both hand woven and machine made.  Most likely this ball dates to the mid twentieth century or thereabouts.Himo1g

In: - Comments closed

The Beauty of Phulkari: Flower Work Embroidered Cloth of the Punjab

April 24, 2010

Today I am sharing some fascinating information on Punjabi phulkari and bagh as researched and presented by Frederic Rond of Indian Heritage Gallery which is located in the heart of Paris.  Frederic Rond is passionate about Indian art and culture, as can be seen by visiting his website and reading his research: Indian Heritage Gallery presents tribal and classical works from India and the Himalayas and shows both objects and textiles.

Mattu01Frederic sent me the link to his website where he launched a new page showing his research on phulkari: what a boon to us who love Indian textiles.   I think we can all benefit from Frederic’s thoughtful and precise text and the marvelous historical photos that serve to illustrate his words. WU3G8304 OK copieEnjoy viewing these images of phulkari and bagh from Indian Heritage Gallery:  these beautifully shimmering textiles  were produced by hand embroidering silk floss onto a hand spun and hand woven cotton base.  Thread counting is the basis for the embroidered patterns.WU3G8338 OK copieSome of the more elaborate works, such as these, are like a length of supple, woven gold.WU3G8339 OK copieRond writes about phulkari, “Phulkari, a rural tradition of handmade embroidery, literally meaning ” flower work ,” was perpetuated by the women of Punjab (North-west India & Pakistan) during the 19th century and till the beginning of the 20th century.”  WU3G8351 OK copie

Rond continues, “Generally fabricated by a family for its own use, the fact of having completed a phulkari signified an important step for a girl on her way to becoming a woman.   Techniques and patterns were not documented but transmitted by word of mouth.  Hence, each regional group was identifiable by its unique embroidery work.  The word phulkari usually indicates the shawl that was loomed and embroidered to cover women’s heads or to be displayed in the gurudwara (Sikh temple.)”

In: - Comments closed

A Hemp Hanten with Tenugui Patches

April 20, 2010

Today I’m showing something beautiful and unusual: it’s an asa or hemp sleeveless hanten (work coat) that has been patched and mended with scraps of tenugui. BlogTenugui1Tenugui are thin, cotton “towels”: they are made from a simple, unfinished length of cotton and imprinted with designs.  Tenugui are sometimes given as gifts by businesses to clients, so the business name or some image associated with it will be stenciled on the tenugui.  Tenugui are also sold at tourist destinations as a souvenir of the place.  Tenugui are ubiquitous in Japan.BlogTenugui1aThis hanten, which probably dates to the mid-twentieth century, is lavishly patched with tenugui pieces on the front, back, and inside of the coat.BlogTenugui1bEach angle of this coat is excellent.  The back is good; the front is good; the inside is good.  I’m just showing front and back, which I think have a lot of appeal.BlogTenugui1c


In: Tags: , - Comments closed

Natural Indigo Dyed Cotton Yarn and Unbleached Cotton Yarn

April 17, 2010

More threads from my recent trip to Japan–this time, shown on top, are four skeins of natural indigo dyed cotton yarn from Shiga Prefecture.  On bottom are six skeins of undyed cotton which may or may not be hand spun.

Cotton1aEach of the skeins of indigo dyed cotton weigh 8 oz. or 227 grams.  The cotton skeins weigh 3 oz. or 85 grams each.  I’ll be offering all these for sale on my website this coming Wednesday.Cotton1bThe natural, indigo dyed yarn is very deep in color and tone, and has a very nice, purplish cast.Cotton1cSince these yarns have been coffered for, well, probably, decades, I am not sure how easy they’d be to untangle to use for weaving or some other fiber project, but in and of themselves they are really lovely to look at.

In: - Comments closed

Rustic Tabi Sewn from an American Flour Sack

April 15, 2010

What a nice surprise: this pair of white, cotton tabi from Nagano Prefecture are fashioned from an American flour sack!

Waraji1I love the cross-cultural aspect of these humble tabi, which must have been quite exotic in the time and place they were sewn.  For as unusual as this is–and it is–this reminds me of a wonderful work coat that was lined in a flour sack from Portland, Oregon which passed through my hands some time ago.  Here’s a link to the coat.Waraji1aIt’s not at all usual to find this kind of cloth in old, Japanese textiles, and the American flour sack makes these tabi special.  What’s also nice is seeing how tabi were fit into waraji, the woven sandals of old Japan.

In: - Comments closed

A Very Beautiful Seate or Backpad

April 12, 2010

Today I am showing a beautifully “minimalist” seate which is a pad to protect the back while carrying heavy burden.KeiSeate1This one is woven from rice straw and cotton; 3/4 of the rice straw weft is covered with cotton which, over time, has been abraded, leaving only traces of the original cotton.KeiSeate1aI love the fancy, knotted stitch, shown below: what a beautiful detail.KeiSeate1bThe abraded cotton is just beautiful as it creates strata of very subtle neutral and blue tones on the surface of the seate.KeiSeate1cI estimate that this piece dates to the beginning to the middle of the 20th century; rustic, handmade country accessories like this were still in use in remote areas of Japan into the 1950s.

In: - Comments closed

Switches of Hemp Fiber

April 8, 2010

Today I am showing something akin to yarn: nicely braided and twisted skeins of hemp fiber which are waiting to be plied into weavable yarn.HempBlog1The ten skeins sit atop a tansu and beneath a beautiful, early 20th century child’s Omi jofu hemp kimono with a lavish semamori or stitched, protective amulet–and under the hemp switches is a marvelous curiosity: it is a 19th century indigo dyed koyori (twisted paper) braided bag which used to hold boxes containing Japanese swords.HempBlog1a


HempBlog1cIsn’t that small cascade of braiding, above, just beautiful? Doesn’t it resemble some kind of marvelous insect?HempBlog1dThis is a beautiful study of natural, bast texture.  The color is oddly beautiful, kind of like a slightly oxidized brass.HempBlog1e

In: Tags: , - Comments closed

An Array of Old Threads

April 5, 2010

To follow my last posting (below this one) which shows three cones of hand spun cotton yarn, I decided to show some more threads.   In this case, I am showing a group 14 skeins of antique and vintage yarns, comprised of hemp, cotton and raw silk.Ito1They are beautiful to look at, which is the reason I am showing them today.  There is not much to discourse on about them, but since yarns such as these are the soul of all textiles, I thought some artfully arranged photos may be inspiring.Ito1a

Ito1bI’m not sure the date on these yarns, but most likely they are from the early-to-mid twentieth century.  As they’ve been coffered for so long, they may a bit hard to untangle and are probably best enjoyed as an accessory–or as research tool.Ito1cIsn’t the cotton kasuri yarn, below, beautiful?Ito1d

In: - Comments closed

Three Cones of Hand Spun Cotton Yarn

April 3, 2010

Today I am showing three, small cones of hand spun cotton–Japanese of course.

HandSpun1In the  Japanese language, hand spun cotton is referred to as te-tsumugi and when considering old, cotton, Japanese folk textiles, the ideal pieces are sewn from hand spun, hand woven cotton.HandSpun1aIt’s a real treat to be able to study this hand spun cotton yarn–and it’s even better that the yarn is wound into such wonderful forms.HandSpun1bThe three cones are sitting upon a vintage Japanese zokin, which is a sashiko stitched, cotton dust cloth.

In: Tags: - Comments closed