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A Wood and Bamboo Spinning Wheel and a Shibori Futon Cover

Written on November 17, 2010

Today I am showing two items from Tohoku, or the rural north east region of Japan: a spinning wheel used to spin nettle yarn and a shikon (gromwell root) dyed futon cover.The spinning wheel is from what is now the city of Hanamaki in Iwate Prefecture; the beautiful, muted and warm shibori dyed cotton futon cover could be from Akita, or Iwate Prefectures as shikon dyeing was practiced in this region.

The spinning wheel still turns very gracefully and with great ease; it is an extremely delicate contraption that no doubt worked hard in its lifetime.  The futon cover is resist dyed using a stitched form of shibori and the pattern is that of a fishing net.  It is remarkably regular in its design and execution: very impressive.This five panel futon cover is truly an eye dazzler, and those of you who know about Japanese natural dyeing know how rare it is to find good examples of shikon dyeing.  The color is rich and subtle: it is a very warm purple, at times it seems infused with red, other times it seems to have a bluish cast.  As well, the kumo, or spiderweb forms inside each “net” shape are amazingly regular in size and intensity.  I’m loving this futon cover right now, and I have it hanging so it can catch my eye from wherever I happen to be standing.

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  1. Comment by Nicole:

    that futon cover is so gorgeous!

    November 18, 2010 @ 8:06 pm

  2. Comment by velma:

    stephen, i am swooning. gromwell dye, this spinning wheel, i am overcome. beautiful.

    November 20, 2010 @ 8:51 am