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Archives for August, 2013

A Sri Event at Hickoree’s in Brooklyn: 23 August-15 September

August 23, 2013

Hickorees1I am really pleased to have been invited by Hickoree’s to mount a exhibition in their store here in Brooklyn: I’ve had a wonderful working relationship with them for some time now, and they’re some of the most gracious people you can meet, so I accepted their invitation without any hesitation.

Hickorees1aThe show is opening tonight, 23 August from 7 – 9 PM, so please come if you can.  I’ll be giving an informal talk on Japanese folk textiles, and this exhibition will be running for one week–and there are a lot of textiles on view to purchase.  After this show closes, Hickoree’s will keep a lot of the textiles on view and accessible.

Hickorees1bThere’s a beautiful, indigo dyed cotton noren that welcomes you at the top of the stairs leading to the exhibition.

Hickorees1cThe owners of Hickoree’s, Emil and Sandy, asked their talented sister Liza to customize a blackboard for the event, above.

Hickorees1dAnd here are some views onto the show.  Above you’ll see a 19th century fireman’s coat from Yamagata city: it’s layers of cotton that are sashiko stitched together.

Hickorees1eAbove you see another view onto the show: the jacket on the left is a sashiko stitched work coat from Yamagata prefecture.  Behind the striped cloth in the center of the photo is a contemporary jacket by Blue Blue Japan, a detail is shown below.


Hickorees1fA very wearable sakiori hanten, or rag weave work coat, can be seen above, hanging over a table covered in a large, sashiko stitched furoshiki.

Hickorees1gBelow is a remarkable noragi that I’ve shown on this blog.  This old Japanese work clothing integrates so well into Hickoree’s, who sells wonderful men’s clothing from small makers, many of them Japanese.


Hickorees1iAbove is an old komebukuro or rice bag which sits atop a much younger kotatsugake which dates to the mid twentieth century.

Hickorees1jThe Hickoree’s staff did a wonderful job placing these old Japanese textiles in the midst of the contemporary inventory.


Hickorees1mPlease try to visit!


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A Group of Eight Traditional Zabuton: Three Different Hand Loomed Plaids

August 13, 2013

Zabuton01I love old, Japanese zabuton, or traditional seating cushions, and whenever I am able to find them in Japan (not so easy), I always buy them.  I found this group of eight on my most recent trip to Japan this past spring.

Zabuton01aThese eight pieces show what I like about traditional zabuton: hand loomed, indigo dyed cotton (mainly), hand stitching and soft cotton batting for its fill.  Inserted on the face of these zabuton is a panel of commercially produced cotton, a take on sarasa or Indian trade cloth.  I prefer the proper “back” side of the zabuton where this panel is not evident.  Were I to live with these, I’d turn them face down.

Zabuton02The indigo dyed cotton is hand loomed and was probably made in the early twentieth century or earlier.   The cloth was most likely intended to be used for bedding, and, in fact, it may have been taken from a futon cover and recycled to become zabuton.  I think these zabuton were made sometime in the 1920s or 1930s.

Zabuton02aThe pale green quilting stitches are of hemp; some are broken.

Zabuton03Each cushion measures 22″ x 19″ x 1″ or 56 cm x 48 cm x 2.5 cm.  These zabuton are available for sale, so if you’d like to know more, feel free to email me.




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A Boro Noragi: Interesting Inside and Out

August 7, 2013

BoroNoragi1bVery often in considering a boro garment or textile we admire its patching and mending: the patches and mending were originally intended to be hidden from view, so we generally look only at one side of a boro textile. This noragi, beautiful inside and out, is an exception.  Okay, its inside is shown in the photo above, but have a look at is out side, below: it’s still very beautiful, isn’t it?

BoroNoragi1aThe same is true of its two front views shown below.  Both the inside and the outside have visual merits of their own.

BoroNoragi1This is a fantastic piece.  It probably dates to the early-to-mid twentieth century, although the base cloth, the indigo dyed cotton of the bodice of the coat, is probably older than, say, the sleeves.  Sleeves tended to be taken on and off, or replaced, over time.

BoroNoragi1cThe noragi measures 33″ x 55 3/4″ or  83 cm x 142 cm.


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