[ Content | Sidebar ]

Archives for May, 2011

Genki Tenugui: A Message from Tokyo

May 27, 2011

Even though news reports of the Fukushima nuclear power plant are not on the  front page days, the problems for the Japanese people have not abated, and the overall mood in Japan is tense.  Still.   Amy Katoh, the author of many fine books on Japan and Japanese culture, has transformed the window of her famous Tokyo shop, Blue & White:  Amy has posted messages of fortitude in her window, and has created a tenugui bearing the same words, shown here.Here’s what Blue & White has to say about this tenugui:

On March 11, when the Great East Japan Earthquake devastated Tohoku, Sayoko Hayasawa started brushing words of encouragement and hung them in the window of Blue & White to comfort passersby and give them courage.  People smiled and even cried when they saw the messages and drew so much strength from them that we decided to dye our Genki tenugui to help people get through the shock of the multiple disasters.

Itsumo Isshouni: Always Together
Kibou: Hope
Te wo tsunagou: Let’s Join Hands
Yuuki: Courage
Makeruna: Don’t Give Up
Minna no chikara: The Power of Everyone
Genki: Energy
Gambarou: Let’s Go Forward
Daijobu: It is alright

Japan still needs help.  Please consider giving a small amount to the Japanese Red Cross Society.

In: - 5 Comments

A Shibori Juban: Hand Spun Cotton and Botanical Indigo

May 24, 2011

With the weeks of rain we’ve been experiencing this spring here in New York, I had to show a shibori juban that’s all about rain, birds and a spring-like feeling.
A juban is a garment worn under a kimono; in the past they were often piece-constructed from “flashy” or contrasting textiles, many of which were “recycled.”  The bodice of this juban is of hand spun, hand woven cotton that has been shibori dyed in botanical indigo. The particular passage, shown below, feels like spring: new blossoms, a soaring bird–and  tendrils of what may be weeping cherry branches suggest rain.The indigo color of this juban is beautifully rich and clear–and the toothy, hand spun cotton is the perfect vehicle to accentuate the rich, blue color of the dye.And the rustically rendered umbrella, below, which is set in a gloomy patch of dark indigo, really matches the wet, cold, brooding weather of the east coast.
The sleeves and the eri, or collar, of this juban are made of commercially produced cotton; very often juban were made of a mixture of cloth, and, that said, very often the sleeves and collars of garments in old Japan were repeatedly taken off and replaced due to wear.On the hem of the garment, above, seen on the lower left just next to the umbrella image, you’ll see an image from Genji ko, or an incense naming game that dates back to the 11th century.  Even the partial lining of the juban, seen below, has a wonderful fragment of old shibori.  The bodice of this juban probably dates to the late nineteenth or early twentieth century–the sleeves and the collar are younger.

In: Tags: , - 6 Comments