I recently found these two wonderful books on shifu, paper thread making and paper thread weaving. The first book Kigami and Kami-ito is beautifully laid out and the images are inspiring. A Song Of Praise For Shifu is exceptionally full of information about paper making, as well as, the regional variations and history of shifu.
I have been collecting antique daifukucho, or account books. Some of these daifukucho date to the 1840’s and were used by a lumber company, but most of them date to the 1880’s and 1890’s. In the past it was common for these books to be taken apart and the strong kozo paper cut up to make paper thread which would be used as weft threads on a hemp or cotton warp. I bought many of these thinking that I might try my hand at making shifu using antique paper, but each page is like a work of art and I don’t know if I can ever bring myself to use them. You can purchase late 19th century daifukucho through my shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/luckyredbat?ref=hdr_shop_menu
I recently ordered some beautiful hand made kozo paper and tried making kami-ito, paper thread using the books on kami-ito and shifu I mentioned above. I cut the kozo paper into thin strips leaving both ends attached, then I left the paper strips under a damp towel overnight, in the morning I rolled the moist paper on concrete blocks, and then spun the thread using a Japanese spinning wheel.
This small two panel furoshiki was probably part of a set of three or four and has been decorated with a family crest indicating it may be part of a traditional wedding dowry. It dates to the late 19th century and is made of hand spun and hand woven cotton. The color is a worn grey which I think may have been obtained by using sumi ink as a dye. The small tsutsugaki pine tree design in the corner is wonderfully simple and sweet.
This small kimono for a baby was made out of old material called boro or “rags” pieced together to make usable fabric. The boro material was intended to be the liner but, I have decided to show it off as the shell. the boro material probably came from an indigo dyed tsutsugaki furoshiki or “free hand resist dyed carrying cloth”. These were traditionally given in sets to a new bride and groom and were often dyed with the families mon or “crest”. I love the idea that the newlyweds used it until it became tattered and then remade it into clothing for one of their children. The outer fabric shown below as the liner has a design of small dogs. This fabric was factory made and was meant to replicate a double kasuri or “ikat” material. This fabric shows patches that do not make their way through to the lining material meaning that this material had been used and repaired at the time that it was made into this garment. More than likely it was also a hand me down.
This antique katazome of overlapping squares has been hand dyed with indigo on beautiful well worn machine woven cotton. I love the bold design of this fabric and I think there is something really modern about the design. The fabric was more than likely created for a nuptial futonji given to a bride and groom on their wedding.
This vintage Japanese cotton plaid was hand woven using machine spun thread during the first half of the 20th century. The weaver included chunky silk threads in the weft to mimic the texture of hand spun threads. The deep indigo colors are great and the fabric has a wonderful worn feel. this fabric had been used as the top of a futonji.