Friday, July 8, 2016

Kasuri sampling, parties & fish feeding

It is only now, that we have to create our projects from scratch, that we realize how much we were spoon fed in our last projects. Actually, we couldn´t have got through the amount of work we did otherwise. Two weeks have passed and today I finally managed to get my samples off the loom. 

The design seems simple enough, but there are a lot of calculations to do. And I decided to go with natural dyes which slows everything down even further because of all the preparation of the yarn, pre-mordanting, brewing of plant materials etc. But it is fun hanging out in the dyeing room and trying to communicate with Hori-sensei who is responsible for this department. Yesterday I caught him practicing his golf swing. Apparently you can watch but you must not interrupt and no one thinks this is strange. The not so fun part is the colours not coming out anything like the samples. The only one that really worked was logwood, so I might have to rethink my plant material or my approach. For two of my colours I was actually using cochineal and after those colours not really turning out either I have decided to save money and spare the dead insects.

Before dyeing even became a concern, I spent most of one week binding Kasuri. Then the loom had to be set up as per usual. I am so tired that I can´t imagine having to do all of this again but on a larger scale and getting that all done in just another two weeks. But I am happy with the results, especially with the tiny nassen gasuri.

And to slow things down, all of a sudden we are having parties and getting dressed up in kimonos. Fun!

The first party this week was the Tanabata. In this party we honor the weaving princess, who only on this day the 7th of the 7th month can meet her lover, but only if it does not rain, which it didn´t. It is a sad story. But we get to eat sweets and play games and I won a brass reed sleying hook used to sley very fines yarns like those used for weaving kimonos. Next week we will get to visit one of the floats that will parade in the Gion Festival, also happening this month. So many things to do and so little time.

Last weekend I finally made it to the Golden Pavilion and it was so boring I won´t even bother to show it. On the way back and after much walking I came across a small shrine between Nijo Station and Kyoto City Hall. There was a vending machine, and for 100 yen you got a wafer biscuit filled with pellets to feed the koi fish and turtles and the leftover wafer was for the ducks. Best, most sensible packaging I have found so far in Japan and the best random 100 yen spent.

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