Monday, June 20, 2016

Applied Kasuri I- Nassen Gasuri

Last week we began the Applied Kasuri course and the first technique to try was Nassen Gasuri. Nassen Gasuri is essentially a stencil kasuri, where the dye is applied directly to the warp on the loom. The stencils that were used in the past were cut from a paper made from mulberry leaves and smoked with persimmon juice and even though this paper is no longer manufactured there are still some stocks around. Today, a synthetic "paper" is available for the same purpose and lasts probably a little longer too. The back of the stencils are sprayed with glue and stuck to the warp. Acid dyes are applied with short bristled square brushes, and rubbed into the warp. A mixture of dye and meypro gum is made beforehand in small quantities and the right consistency is tested so as to make sure there are no bleeds. Too much meypro gum is not advised because when it dries it becomes very stiff. Before weaving a newly applied stencil it is very important that the dye is dry. A hairdryer is used to speed up the process. And that is it really.

I did not approach this project as an opportunity to improve my stencil cutting skills nor elaborate designs. Seeing as we were literally thrown into the deep end with regards the potential of this technique and had to produce designs before knowing its potential and limitations, I was more interested in learning what could be done and how. My design was very basic and that was ok. It allowed me not to concentrate on layout so much but technique and in the end I came up with a half tone approach that I am very happy with and has lots of potential as it can be used to replicate warp Kasuri. Very clever indeed.

To finish, the woven piece is taken off the loom and ironed, then rolled with interfacing fabric and steamed for 40 minutes. It is then rinsed with a solution, I cannot remember the name of now, to remove the meypro gum and then rinsed with cold water, spun and hung to dry.

To mark the end of this project and to seek some relief from saturday´s hot weather I decided to visit a small village close by called Ohara. It has many temples, I visited the Sanzen-In Temple and admired the beautifully manicured gardens and the hundred of varieties of moss. But the best part of this trip was that I found out that Ohara is famous for pickles and in particular Shiso dyed pickles. Shiso is a plant that belongs to the mint family and has the most amazing colour and flavour ever. To top it off you can get soft serve ice cream flavoured with it and even juice (cordial). I opted for the juice because I had just finished a green tea soft serve and you only have so much of the stuff. You can see above the juice I drank in its natural environment. They call it purple perrilla, I call it red perrila. It also comes in green, and I have seeds!!!!!


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