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Archives for July, 2010

Taking a Midsummer Break

July 20, 2010

I’ll be back in the beginning of August!

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An Indigo Dyed Kuzufu Vest: Kudzu Fiber Cloth

July 12, 2010

Yes.  Kudzu. The bane of gardeners and municipalities in the American south where this plant is an invasive weed, overtaking and consuming tracts of plants and trees in gardens, fields and on highways.

But in Japan, where this plant is native, it was used to make cloth–very often for elegant clothing–and is processed to make edible starch.As early at the 14th century, it has been recorded that kuzufu or kudzu cloth, was made in Kakegawa in Shizuoka PrefectureKuzu fiber is flat and has a sheen; in this regard it resembles an elegant cousin to woven raffia.  The benefits of the cloth is that it held up well, didn’t soften and dried quickly.  It was used to make traveling capes and elegant hakama for aristocratic clients.

In these photos, above and below, I am hoping to show the quality of the kuzu fiber, which is very distinctive, mainly, as mentioned above, because is is very flat and does not appear to be spun.

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