Thursday, January 29, 2015

potd - Hera

I'm just putting out some old bone hera markers. These have traditionally been used to mark  fabric. They leave a soft silver line on  indigo for sashiko patterns. Customers often use them for scoring paper as well.  I always have new plastic ones in the shop - but these bone ones are better.

 I've taken these out of  my collection to sell (because I really  don't need so many!) You can see the rest of my collection here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

potd - Konebachi

Old konebachi bowl for kneading noodle dough... could be put to other uses!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

potd - Egasuri

I just put out this panel of egasuri ('picture ikat' ) indigo cotton with a wonderful koi carp design.  It's handwoven and  probably  dates from  early-mid 20th century but the  bubble pattern is very modern.

Monday, January 26, 2015

potd - Old Kimono Fabric

This is a roll of unused synthetic pre-war kimono fabric . Japan made a huge amount of rayon and other 'artificial silk' fabrics between the wars. I'm not really sure what this is - definitely not silk but I don't think it's rayon either.  I think it was probably quite a cheap fabric. The printing isn't very fine but the grey and orange is quite striking and a good example of how Japanese kimono designers had a knack for putting unexpected colours together. They seem to have become a bit tamer in recent decades  since kimono wearing became restricted to more formal occasions.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

potd - Retro Kimono Silks

As my stock of  old  kimono silks slowly moves toward the 21st century  we're getting less of these crazy  60's and 70's  designs.  I'll miss them when they've gone!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

potd - Katazome Boro

Antique patched and stitched boro ('rags') futon cover panel. The base fabric is very old katazome ('stencil-dye') cotton which is stencilled with a rice-paste  resist before dyeing in indigo. It probably dates from late 19th or very early 20th century but some of the patches don't look as old as the others - so it may have been used and repaired for many years.  The katazome was made as a futon cover fabric but is a more expensive fabric than the plain indigos, checks and stripes that you usually see on patched boro pieces like this,  which makes me wonder if this  belonged to a family that may  have seen better days. Most of the katazome futon cover fabrics we get come in much better,  un-patched condition.  The first  patchy photo shows the reverse side of the panel.This piece is available in the shop and on my website.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

potd - Flowers

Some of the range of traditional floral motifs that we see in kimono fabric designs... plum blossoms, paeonies, wisteria, camellia, bamboo, chrysanthemums and  maple leaves. But no cherry blossoms here - we get a lot less cherry blossoms than people expect!

Monday, January 19, 2015

potd - Antique Map

Antique tourist map of Kamakura. This is undated but is most likely  from the mid-19th century. I'll put this out in the shop soon but it's already in my online catalogue.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

potd - New Books

I was very excited recently to find a new supplier of Japanese art, design and textile books,  and my first  box of very beautiful books just arrived. Some in English, some in Japanese (with lots of pictures) and some in both. I'll be ordering more soon because there are ones I'll just have to have for myself! Titles include Hokusai Manga, Ukiyoe Cats, Traditional Japanese Packaging, Kimono History and Style, Traditional Japanese Stencil Patterns, Kokeshi... etc.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

potd - Antique Cotton Bundles

I made up more of these  bundles of antique indigo cotton remnants today.  They're small  pieces from old bedding and work clothes and come in varying conditions (some patched, stitched, holey or faded). The pieces all date from late 19th - mid 20th century (up until about the end of the war).  I sell these online as well  and they're  popular with patchworkers who are interested in traditional Japanese stitching and boro textiles.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

potd - Old Japanese Saws

Some years ago we were in an antique dealer's shed on the outskirts of somewhere on Shikoku and he had a lot of big old timber  saws like these. I remember thinking what amazing shapes they were and that they would look wonderful just hanging on a wall. We didn't buy any that day but Takashi did end up sending me quite a few. I thought we'd sold them all but last week found these three hiding away.  The ones we've sold so far were mostly  bought by woodworkers to clean up, sharpen and use. I still think they'd look good hanging on a wall as well.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

potd - Old Threads

I'm still opening up boxes  from the last shipment from Japan  and it's always a treat to see what interesting things Takashi has managed to find at auction.  In amongst the silk threads that I showed a few days ago were these skeins of wool and cotton . I'm not sure what has happened to the cotton threads -  some of them are very washed-out pale pastel colours. They're very fine and meant for weaving  but I'll be keeping a skein  of the cotton for my own stitching.

Monday, January 12, 2015

potd - Industrial Safety Posters

I've recently put out more of these old industrial safety poster from the 1960's.  The first one reads something like 'Finishing up at the end of the day - check one more time'.

. The second one with the first-aider ant says; Let's co-operate for safety. Rome wasn't built in a day...  A  lifetime of safety comes from small safety habits. For yourself , for your family, for your colleagues be willing to make 'safety habits part of you.

Friday, January 9, 2015

potd - Kumihimo

I restocked the obijime this morning.  These are the cords that are the final layer over an obi  and most of them are made by kumihimo braiding.  I'm usually selling these as belts  for customers who want to wear their kimono as a dressing gown. They make nice bag handles or curtain ties as well.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

potd - Silk Kimono Threads

Silk kimono threads - will be out in the shop tomorrow....

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

potd - Horn Bags

These are literally 'horn bags' (tsunobukuro). This a traditional bag style  made from a single piece of folded and stitched fabric. The triangular 'horns' on the top can be tied in a similar way to a furoshiki wrapping cloth to create a handle. Because the material is on the bias the bag has quite a bit of stretch - though I'm not sure what these particular bags were used to carry. They have names on them so maybe  they were for workmen to carry their personal belongings.  They're made from hemp or a similar bast fibre and date from mid last century.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

potd - Kitchen Knives

Customers occasionally ask if we ever sell kitchen knives and this is the first time that we've had any for sale. They're all quite old. The long one is apparently for cutting up watermelons. The one next to it is my favourite - it's big and chunky and solid with lots of character. I don't really need it for myself but I won't mind too much if it doesn't sell!

Monday, January 5, 2015

potd - Fukuro Obi

I had a request yesterday to add more commentary to my photo(s) of the day. I'll try and do this when I have time  - and until I run out of things to say!
I'm putting out some more obi from our last shipment. These particular ones are  formal  nui-fukuro-obi. ('stitched bag obi') which are brocade on one side with a plain colour fabric on the reverse, and are about  four metres long.   This type of obi has only been made since the 1920's and these ones were most likely woven in Kyoto in mid - late 20th century.  They are of course made to be worn with formal kimono  but most of my customers buy obi to use as wall hangings or table runners. They look beautiful over an antique chest of drawers or sideboard.

A reminder that you can click on any of the blog photos for a larger view. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

potd - Laundry

Summer is a good time to clear the shop laundry basket and I've been washing old indigo fairly constantly for the last week or two. These are  old  futon cover panels and some garment linings dating from early to mid 20th century (some a little older) - some hand woven, some not.   I unpick the panels, defluff  where necessary, cut them into usable pieces,  iron and sort  according to their condition, size and use. There is no waste at all. This is a little bit time consuming so I never have as much old plain indigo in the shop as I'd like.  Hopefully this summer blitz will remedy that.
At the textile auctions this  plain indigo is just  called  uraji ('lining') and is what has traditionally been used for sashiko stitching for 300 years or more since cotton and indigo both became widespread in Japan. As well as sashiko, cotton was recycled in traditional rag weaving (sakiori), made into bags, cords etc -  and the  rough patchwork that we now value as 'boro'. In the north of Japan,  where it was too cold to grow cotton,  bales of fabric  remnants were imported from the south.  My customers are using the fabric for sashiko and  patchwork projects and I love knowing that we are continuing the recycling tradition.
 The women who first dyed, wove and stitched these pieces couldn't have imagined them ending up on my  clothesline in Tasmania ...which is today's photo of the day...

Friday, January 2, 2015

potd - Fans

A hot day here today  - but we have fans...

Thursday, January 1, 2015

potd - Wool kimono fabric

Happy New Year!  It's customary in Japan to have an image from the Chinese Zodiac on New Year cards. This year is the year of the sheep but I don't have sheep motifs on any of my fabric so I've got a piece of pure wool kimono fabric for my photo of the day instead.  I hope 2015 is a happy, healthy and  safe year for everyone.