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An Unmade Resist Dyed Noren

July 30, 2011

The graphic quality of Japanese design–and its impact on Western design and Modern art–is well known.  This unmade, stencil resist dyed noren, a traditional curtain which often is displayed outside a shop or restaurant, has a strong modernist appeal.
You can see how the noren was dyed in one, continuous piece.  It would have been cut and arranged in order for it to display a cohesive design or motif.  This one has been cut, but not entirely, and it hasn’t yet been formed into a noren.I really love the strong geometry and the way that the design has been broken.  Visually this is really interesting. I also really like the contrast of white against inky, deep, indigo blue.  The blue color is so deep it reads black.In trying to mentally construct what the noren will look like when it is stitched and finished, it seems to me that I may be missing a piece or two.  Through time as this unmade noren has changed hands before it arrived to me, it’s quite understandable that a piece or two could have fallen by the wayside.The cotton is hand woven very tightly.  As the noren was probably going to hang outside, the cotton was woven with the intention for it to hold up against the elements.These pieces probably date to the early twentieth century.  In time I will be offering them for sale on my webshop.

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A Large, Magnificently Dyed Noren: Stylized Wisteria Crest

April 22, 2011

What a marvelous design, an over sized family crest or kamon, depicting stylized wisteria, or fuji, beautifully centered on a four panel indigo dyed cotton noren, or traditional door covering.
Of course I am showing this hand spun, hand woven indigo cotton noren now: in just a few weeks we will be seeing wisteria in full bloom.The crest is resist dyed–the Japanese resist method uses rice paste to cover and protect an area of cloth from dye.  In the case of this noren, I am not so sure the mon was drawn by hand using the tsutsugaki method as is often the case: a very large stencil may have been used to guide the rice paste onto the cloth–but maybe not.The circular forms are so perfectly circular.  To me this is really impressive.  And the resist dyeing on this is clean, clear and very elegant.I love the way the stylized wisteria flowers cascade downward in a gentle curve and become incrementally smaller as they bend; there is almost a fractal-like quality to this traditional design motif.The cotton is beautiful.  The selvedges are rough and wonderful.  The size proportion of the mon in relation to the size of the noren is just right.  Most likely this noren dates to the late nineteenth century.This beauty measures 65″ x 55″ or 165 cm x 139.5 cm.

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