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Archives for August, 2012

Woven Fence in Greenpoint Brooklyn

August 31, 2012

Walking in my neighborhood I just couldn’t pass this without snapping it and sharing it.  There’s another one, more complex, around the corner from this one.  When I next pass it, I’ll post it.

Happy Labor Day.

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Temari: Large, Medium and Unusually Small

August 27, 2012

Pictured here is a fairly grand group of old temari, a temari being hand-wound ball made from leftover threads which was made as a gift for a child.  By a “grand group” I mean that these old temari are getting harder and harder to find, and seeing so many older ones of such good quality and condition together at once–from grapefruit-sized to grape-sized–is a real treat.  For me, at least.Of course the apple on the top photo is there for scale, otherwise you’d have no idea that the two temari pictured above, are so large.  The larger of the two measures 5″ or 12.5 cm  in diameter.The three temari pictured above are roughly 3″ or 7.5 cm in diameter; the temari on the right is made of a cotton core and blue and red yarns of silk floss.  This one also has a bit of a rattling sound, which is due to rice grains placed in the center of the ball.  This rattle feature was, of course, meant to entertain the child who was gifted this magical thing.  The other two temari are made entirely of cotton and they don’t rattle.These temari, above, are tiny, and each group is stitched together to form a cluster.  Each of the temari on the cluster on the lower right measures 3/4″ or 1.75 cm in diameter.

I think these temari date to the 1920s, 30s or thereabouts.  Remarkably, they are in excellent condition, and with the exception of a bit of patina from age, all the threads are intact and there is no staining or discoloration.

Really delightful.  And a real find.

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A 19th Century Kappa: Kaki Shibu Infused Paper

August 21, 2012

A kappa is a traditional Japanese cape that was worn for travel and as a buffer against the elements.  The word kappa is borrowed from the Portuguese capa as the Portuguese were said to have introduced this style of garment to Japan.Often kappa are made of cotton and they can be lined with paper infused with kaki shibu or persimmon tannin: this coated paper is semi-impervious to water, which is good for traveling in rain, and, also, when the paper moves, it makes a pleasant rustling sound.In the case of this 19th century kappa, the paper cape is the finished cape.  This is not a lining.  This is the garment which would have been worn on the street.Notice how the paper is joined with perfectly evenly matched seams, and that the pattern is one of radiating wedge shapes.And notice, too, the hand stitched details, such as the button-like disc, below, around which a cotton cord was wound to secure the garment closed.The kaki shibu-impregnated paper is leathery in look, but in this case it feels almost as if the paper is oiled.  It’s very crisp to the touch, yet it is still fairly durable.

I’ll have to look at bit harder at the maker’s mark, above, and see what I can come up with.

Even though kappa are often made of wonderful old, cottons, I generally don’t buy them, even though the cottons are fine.  Kappa are difficult to display, but I couldn’t pass up this paper one, and I think I found a good solution for showing it.

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Unusual Faded Green Cloth

August 15, 2012

By sheer coincidence, in the showroom, these two very faded, green-colored cotton textiles were sitting together.  I noticed this and I liked the color pairing of these two interestingly-colored textiles.  I thought I’d share.

The piece on the bottom is a large furoshiki; the top piece is a two panel fragment from a futon cover. 

Interesting colors, don’t you think?

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A Short Stack of Sashiko Kotatsu Accessories: Large Squares of Stitched and Layered Cotton

August 7, 2012

I love kotatsu accessories, and by that I mean kotatsugake or the quilted throws that are placed over the heated table where families would congregate to keep warm in winter months.  Very often kotatsugake can be made of sakiori, or ragweave, but in this case, they are made of layered, recycled cotton which have been beautifully sashiko stitched.  Shown here are five similar pieces, but I have others which are much heavier due to the layering of more cotton pieces.And I have them displayed on my beautiful and simply detailed Korean wooden chest.Each kotatsugake is about 60″ or 152 cm square and I think these date to the mid twentieth century.

And those of you in the New York area, please to stop by my weekend showroom sale.

Everything will be 30% off for just two days: Saturday, 11 August (12 noon – 5 PM) and Sunday 12 August (1 PM – 6 PM).

No appointments necessary for this two day event. Directions are here.

**As I’ve never done this before I don’t know if I’ll get 1 or 100 people visiting, so I’m hoping to be as prepared as I can be.

If there are many visitors at once, I ask your patience: my usual method is to book single appointments and work with people one-on-one.**






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Lotuses in Bloom: Stunning Beauty in Japan

August 1, 2012

I just couldn’t help it.  A friend in Japan sent me these photos of a lotus pond near his home, and I was so bowled over by the beauty of the images, and the quality of his photos, that I had to share.

One of the perks of Japan’s brutally hot summers is that lotuses bloom.  And these photos remind me of this fabulous item on the webshop.  Scroll through the photos, read the description, and see why.

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