News Letter

News Letter

Thursday, July 20, 2006

No 134

Hello from Japan! This is Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News Letter No.134.I visited an atelier of a dyer, Mr Yasuhiro Takahashi on Saturday. As I mentioned in my last newsletter, he has been a dyer nearly 40 years and from ten years ago, he is doing a project of restoring and re-creating of dyed fabrics from Edo period and he is one of the most famous expert of recent dyeing field in Japan. He lookes like a big bear but he is a very quiet man-I noticed his finger tips are all dyed also which can tell his work.I knew him from ten years ago and I felt so honored to meet him again - this time I could meet him to work together. I was too happy and bombard him withquestions! (Thank you very much Takahashi san)
Generally, it is considered that chemical dye stuff is used after Meiji period(1868-1912), but actually it was started in the end of Edo bakufu-government of Edo. The colors which did not exist were done by chemical stuff, so it may sound strange but supreme items of that era often has chemical dyed stuff used(because the chemical dye stuff was very expensive)It reminded me of Shobo banten(Fireman's jacket ) from Edo period, which had very strong purple color so it was the reason.Takahashi san said dye stuff have been basically the same going back to the time of Nara period(Nara period 714-784). Dating the things from that era is quite difficult by seeing the dye stuff or colors and rather designs and the fabric can be a better clue.Regarding dye stuff. it can be 2 major kinds. Just as Yuzen technique, use dark colors applied by brush(fude) or just as Ai dyeing, soaking into Ai many times-one time soaking can only made very light color)The former dyeing(Yuzen) is invented by Miyazaki Yuzensai in early Edo. According to this technique, all colors are said to be made by four basic dye nama enji(cochineal insect )yellow- syou(tree sap )blue- airou (indigo)black-kuro (Japanese ink)
The shading of three primary colors seemed to have produeced all colors. To fix the colors, `gojiru'(juice made by grating soya bean )is added.Takahashi san showed me a part of his collection from Edo period. How gorgeous and genteel the colors on the kimono! I was fascinated by the coloration. They are not dusky ( I thought natural dye stuff would not be so bright)He also showd me the dye stuff for soaking. Akane(root of tree, red color), Kariyasu(plant, yellow), benibana(flower red), and other plants as Suo, Ukon, Yamamomo, Binroujiand more. About half of these dye materials needs catalyser to help the coloration. After Meiji period, chemical materials have been used but before that, `ash' was used. He said the effect differs according to the trees used to make ash. He is researching ash and by now only certain kinds of trees could work as a catalyser( the trees such as peony, hisakaki, sazanka, ocha, sawarutagi)In olden times there was an occupation `haiya'(ash seller) who makes ash to sell to dyers, ( and actually they were said to be very rich).Takahashi sensei is very interested in making ash and he is planning to stay in the mountains to make ash from trees he can obtain, and sell in an event in May. Ash(hai) are used to refine silk thread, as a glaze of pottery also, and I feel it is a very unique blessing from nature.He showed me one of his work- supreme woven fabric(tsumugi) called Ushikubi tsumugi dyed with genteel pink color. It had butterfly and flower motif with such subtle colors dyed with Yuzen technique(Itome Yuzen). He made is as a scarf and I fell in love with a first sight. The silk thread is Japanese silk and Ushikubi tsumugi is a finest kind of tsumugi(woven fabric), it is dyed with the same dye stuff from Edo period , using the same technique from Edo period. The scarf is just like a gift from Edo period. He offerd this scarf for our Tour J Artisan website, so I will be showing the photos soon.He said he can make about 10 scarves -- we would like to ask your idea again just as we did last time with Tsuzure bag designs. We would like to show you the examples of designs and we will be very happy if you could let us know which design you like.We are looking forward to offering Takahashi san's silk scarves in the near future.
*The Tsume tsuzure bags will be finished in the end of March or the beginning of April.(we cannot wait to show you!)
We are adding obi, karinui, bolts and tea ceremony set today. We hope you have sometime to check our new arrivals!
Ichiro & Yuka WadaKimono Flea Market "ICHIROYA"
e-mail: info@ichiroya.comaddress: Asia-shoji Bldg.301 1841-1 Nishi 1 chome Wakamatsu cho Tondabayashi city Osaka 584-0025 JAPANTEL&FAX ****( international number ) - 81-721-23-5446


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