Manufacture

 

I produce gender independent kimono fabrics

and a variety of women's kimono sashes

also called a Nagoya style sash.

 

It has already been 12 years

since I started to devote myself seriously

to the art of weaving and wearing Kimono.

 

I’m not only engaged in manufacturing,

but also an enthusiastic wearer of Kimono myself.

 

I want to come up with a special design,

such as I myself personally would like to wear.

 

The texture is not too hard,

and not too soft.

The design is fashionable,

but not too stylish.

 

What I personally search for is

“beauty without artificiality”

just enough to change the mood.

Dyeing

 

Most of all my works are made

by dyeing 100% plant materials.

 

I use dyes that are made from plants,

handed over by a friend,

bought at the store.

 

Most dyeing plant materials have medicinal properties

which have supported people’s health since ancient times.

 

Until Edo period when dyeing plant materials were popular,

it was said that, when being on a trip,  getting injured or sick,

people should just tear their own robes, decoct them

in order to benefit from the medicinal effect.   

 

Hues of the colors depend on the time

and the place the plants were picked at. 

I try to dye,

following natural changes according to the seasons.

 

One of the late Mr. Maeda Ujyou’s lessons is…

 

For starters of dyeing,

first make up your mind with Shimenawa,

(Japanese sacred rice-straw ropes.)

Your mind will get purified naturally

and you will certainly master necessary skills.

 

Not mind made of shape,

but shape made of mind is the fruit of the genuine mind. 

 

By striving for perfection,

I hope that I can achieve and create beautiful colors.

Design

 

My designs originated from impressions obtained

from dyed and woven stuff textiles,

Buddhist art, tea-sets, pictures,

and books of different periods given to me.     

I take in and absorb these impressions,

drawing them out in images using colored pencils. 

Finally I bring them down to paper

and use a computer to make them up.

 

What I’m looking for is “beauty without artificiality.”

 

Aiming to come up with a “good one”

designing elaborately,

we’d finally end up in artificiality.

 

There is no evident,

but I don’t feel artificiality

in ancient Buddhist statues, pictures and outstanding craftworks. 

Simply sophisticated beauty. 

 

It’s like the mood around it changes. 

It’s like I deepen my awareness. 

 

Our ancestors teach us

that even if we produce something artificially,

it’s possible to attain true natural beauty.

 

Wonderfully dyed and woven stuff textiles

are just one example fabricated

in Meiji and Edo periods. 

I can feel a unique sense of beauty and elegance

in a manner that reflects Japanese own true spirit.

 

For instance, Keicho style kosode

(quilted silk garment made in Keicho era.)

The design itself is so beautiful.

The color tones down, but it is gorgeous.

 

Or striped and splashed kimono

in Meiji and Edo periods made of limited materials,

 

They point out the most of “something” in “nothing,”

and it’s neither too much nor too little beauty.

 

In a sense, these are conflicting dyed textiles,

dyed and woven stuff textiles.

But I would like to be not only an ARTIST

but also an ARTISAN

that is skilled in both dyeing and weaving. 

I as such want to do my best

to bring them together and unite them. (ARTISANT)

Weaving

 

I have learned all skills in weaving

from my teacher, Mr. Yoshida Kouzou,

over a period of 4 years.

 

“You can do anything.”

This is my teacher’s concept. 

If you imagine more delicate and freer works,

you can create new skills to fit the image.

 

From Uki-ori, Soshiki-ori to Tsumugi-ori,

from various skills to delicacy,

to sift the color to fit the thread.

 

I aim to make works that go well together.

 

I want the cloth to be stable but not hard.

In order to make it more comfortable,

I weave thinner than usual,

but in a high density.

 

Sometimes I even hit the cloth with stones

to make it softer.

 

I know

that a great deal of trial and error process will be required

in order to achieve desired results

in design,

color and fabric,

but I’ll just try.

Title

 

~やまと歌は 人の心を種として

よろづの言の葉とぞ なれりける~

in古今和歌集-Kokinwakashu- 

(Collection of Ancient and Modern Japanese Poetry)

a preface written in kana

Tanka poetry reflect the human mind,

as the leaves grow, into a lot of words.

 

Long ago, the word meaning

“language,” also referred to as “-koto-.”

言の葉-Kotonoha-” came from tanka poetry. 

 

The Japanese language contains a lot of beautiful sounds.  

It used to be expressed in a natural way

as a result of ancient Japanese

leading a modest and delicate life.  

 

I love the so-called “Kotonoha,”

that’s why I name most of my works

after finishing weaving.

 

I sometimes design the work

that I imagine from Japanese.

Just like I would name a child,

who is born

and who I would meet for the first time, 

I seek a suitable name for the work done. 

 

Infinite “Kotonoha” make the work done much deeper. 

Clay dyeing

 

As its name suggests,

clay dyeing is the skill of dyeing with clay.

 

When extracting the essence of plants by boiling,

the dye liquor’s molecules are so small,

that they will penetrate the yarn.

On the other hand,

clay’s molecules big enough to stick to the yarn.

How well you can make the molecules smaller,

make them stick to yarn deeply

and wash  extra bigger molecules away

is important on dyeing. 

 

Long ago,

on Manyoshu (the oldest Japanese anthology of tanka),

a lot of tanka poets composed tanka about loess.

A song,

“Hanyu-no-yado (Home! Sweet Home!)”

also shows the meaning.

 

~白波の 千重に来寄する住吉の 岸の黄土ににほひ行かな~

by 車持朝臣千年(Kurumamochi-Ason-Chitose, a tanka poet)

“A lot of whitecaps wash against this Sumiyoshi  

Let’s dye with beautiful loess of the shore.”

 

Over about 1300 years, 

a Manyoshu researcher

who sought to revive the colors today.

 

After he revived the colors, 

it was my teacher in his young days,

Mr. Yoshida Kouzou, who he had asked to weave.

Since then, Mr. Yoshida had researched

“loess” or “red clay” called rare cloth

and passed  on his skills to me.

In 2013, I got my certificate.

 

From now on,

I will continue my studies,

aiming for further development on interesting colors. 

Sayaka Watanabe

Dye and Weave  KIMONO・OBI

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