July 12, 2012
About a year ago, on a shopping trip to Japan, I bought a full bolt (about 13 yards or 12 meters) of shifu, or cloth woven with paper yarns. Here it is: the bolt is warped with cotton yarns and the weft is paper and cotton intermittently.At the time I found this, I was hesitant to buy it as it was expensive–handwoven shifu always is. But I couldn’t resist. In these details you can see the slubby nature of the cloth; these slubs are the paper yarns. Really lovely, aren’t they?In old Yamagata prefecture, known as Shonai, there was a tradition of paper/cotton weaving, and my hunch was that this bolt is from Shonai as it looks like the kind of paper/cotton weaving from that area. The person from whom I acquired this bolt said it isn’t Shonai, but I have my doubts.Likely this bolt was intended for use as a futon cover; in fact, I had (and sold) a Shonai paper/cotton futon cover that very much resembled this, which further reinforces my gut feeling that this is Shonai.I love the cobalt blue quality of the indigo–and the slubby texture. One of the many interesting things about shifu is its weight: because paper yarn is less dense than cotton or bast, it’s usually lighter in the hand than cotton or bast woven cloth.This cloth is thick, so the full bolt is quite hefty in volume. It’s also in pristine condition: it appears that this piece was woven, stored, and never touched. I think it’s beautiful.
In: Tags: shifu
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November 6, 2011
The exhibition at the Portland Japanese Garden, Mottainai, The Fabric of Life: Lessons in Frugality from Traditional Japan opened on 4 November. Here are some installation shots.
I’m exhibiting with my friend, Kei Kawasaki of Gallery Kei in Kyoto. Kei and I decided that I would show indigo dyed cotton boro pieces and she would show bast fiber and paper pieces. The items I have contributed to the show can be seen below.Above and below is a large, woven cotton boro mosquito netting or kaya.
Above and below are sashiko stitched pieces. Centrally place above is a large, sashiko stitched kotatugake. To the left and right are garments from Yamagata prefecture.Stitched aprons and zokin can be seen above.
Above and below are sakiori garments.
Above is pictured a boro yogi or sleeping kimono, while below you can see noragi or work coats.Below is a fantastic boro futonji or futon cover.This piece, below, a shinafu or linden fiber tsunobukuro or horn bag is filled with balls of shredded indigo dyed cotton yarn and twisted paper yarn. Kei brought this to the show to act as a transition between her bast fiber textiles and my indigo dyed cotton ones. It’s an amazing object. Kei’s other textiles can be seen in the images below.
Above and below are some woven paper garments. On the photo, above, situated on the right is an okuso zakkuri or a coat made of woven hemp waste. Below, seen in the middle, is a fujifu or woven wisteria garment and a shinafu or linden fiber garment to its left.
Below are two elm fiber garments: to the right is a traditional Ainu attush, to the left is an unusual dochugi or traveling coat, made from ohyo or elm fiber. Since this dochugi is made from traditional Ainu cloth, we can assume that the cloth was traded with the Ainu by a merchant from Honsu island.
A marvelous, resist dyed ramie kazuki from Yamagata prefecture can be seen above and below. A kazuki is a kimono-shaped veil which was worn on the head by upper class women.Below are repurposed paper items. A splendid bashofu or banana fiber kimono from Okinawa can be seen below.All of the pieces are for sale through the Portland Japanese Garden. If any are interesting to you, please let me know and I will put you in touch with the Garden.
In: Tags: asa, bashofu, benibana, boro, kasuri, katazome, kaya, komebukuro, noragi, sakiori, sashiko, shifu, temari, tsunobukuro, yogi, zanshi, zokin
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