Tag Archives: Boro

Early Meiji katazome

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This early Meiji period katazome is made of indigo dyed cotton that has been hand spun and hand woven. The fabric is thick and has been worn soft by years of use. This piece was probably the top of a futonji and has been pieced together from 15 small pieces of the same fabric. It has also been mended with several large patches. IMG_2404IMG_2406IMG_2407IMG_2405

This last photo shows the irregular hand spun threads that produce a fabric with such amazing weight and texture.

Crane furoshiki

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This furoshiki or “carrying cloth” dates to the Meiji period and was made from hand spun and hand woven cotton fabric. The crane was expertly dyed using natural indigo. This type of decoration is known as tsutsugaki it was created by a dyer who used a paper cone or “tsutsu”. The tsutsu was used to apply a mixture of ground rice bran, rice flour, salt, and water onto the fabric to create a resist. This resist was washed away after dying to reveal the design. It must have taken several applications of rice paste and many dips in the indigo dye bath to create the colors in this furoshiki. IMG_2350IMG_2349IMG_2353

This furoshiki may have started its life as a futonji or “padded futon cover”. The symbolism of the crane was one often used on items made to be given to a bride and groom as a wedding gift. It has several large repairs that attest its use over the years. The repairs have all been mended using hand spun and hand woven cotton. The large patch in the middle of the furoshiki is made of very thick course homespun. IMG_2354IMG_2351

Sashiko

Sashiko is a form of traditional Japanese embroidery originally used to reinforce garments and as a means of repair. In the northern regions of Japan garments were made stronger and warmer by layering cloth and stitching the layers together with long running stitches. This embroidery served a utilitarian purpose but also became a way to add decorative patterns and interest to garments and carrying cloths. IMG_2303 IMG_2304 IMG_2305 IMG_2306

Three of these sashiko furoshiki were created from hand spun and handwoven cotton which has been dyed with natural indigo. the forth furoshiki with the star pattern is made from hand dyed commercially produced cotton. 

Late Edo period katazome

This is a completely hand made cotton textile. I think it dates to the late Edo or early Meiji period. The fabric is soft and worn and has probably seen many different uses in its long life. The pattern is odd and I haven’t seen many others like it. I love the way the indigo has worn to produce an almost ikat pattern under the applied katazome decorations.

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Zanshiori

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Here is some Zanshi or “left over thread” fabric I recently found. Zanshi was traditionally woven at the end of a bolt of kimono fabric. Once the kimono length had been woven the weaver would use up left over threads and bits and pieces left at the ends of bobbins to fill up the end length of warp. The resulting fabric was used for domestic purposes while the kimono bolt was more than likely sold. Zanshi was used most often for futon covers or work clothing. Notice the variation in pattern due to the different colors of left over threads.

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In these last two photos you can see the numerous knots used to bind the left over threads.

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Tsutsugaki furoshiki

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This furoshiki or “carrying cloth” was made from rustic hand spun cotton. The design of a ginger flower kamon against a deep indigo background was achieved through the process of tsutsugaki. Rice paste was pushed through a small metal tip affixed to a paper bag. After the design had been executed the fabric was dyed and then washed to reveal the outline of the ginger flower kamon. rice paste would have then been applied again to the areas that are now white before drying for a second time.

The deep indigo color of the background could have taken, as many as, 20 dips into the indigo dye vat to achieve, while the light blue of the kamon more than likely only took a few. This attests to the great skill of old Japans rural dyers.

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This furoshiki also has some beautiful repairs. there are several mended holes within the kamon itself, but one of the most beautiful is located at the center bottom of the furoshiki. This indigo patch has been applied with indigo dyed thread. I love the unintended texture of this patch.

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Nothing Wasted

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This small tsunobukuro or “horn bag” has been made from leftover fabrics. The outer over dyed indigo green fabric once displayed a family crest of crossed feathers. It was dyed using a process called tsutsugaki. The green color was achieved by being dyed with indigo first and then being over dyed with a yellow dye to create the beautiful blue green background color. The inner fabric is a beautiful deep indigo kusari or “ikat”. Both fabrics are hand spun and hand woven cotton. The outer fabric was more than likely a furoshiki or banner before it was reworked into this bag.IMG_1763

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This bag was more than likely used for caring a lunch box. I love the pattern produced by the reuse of the outer fabric. This bag represents the Japanese value of mottainai or “nothing wasted.” This item can be purchased at:   https://www.etsy.com/listing/115393181/antique-japanese-indigogreen-boro-cotton?ref=shop_home_feat

Tsunobukuro on concrete

IMG_2055IMG_2056This tsunobukuro or horn bag was used to hold grain. It more than likely comes from Northern Japan and it is made from linden fiber or shina. The bark is removed from the linden tree then it is bound and boiled with wood ash. After boiling  the fiber is washed and separated before being spliced together to form thread. The threads are then spun and woven into shinafu. As shinafu ages it darkens in color. This bag is a deep red/brown color and has the feel of very stiff course linen. It is patched with cotton thread, white cotton cloth and several other bast fiber patches.IMG_2057

The bag is resting in the shade of some lemongrass.

IMG_2058I don’t know what this patch states. I can only make out a few of the kanji.

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