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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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Mottainai The Fabric of Life: Lessons in Frugality from Traditional Japan

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.

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