December 20, 2010

Winter Vacation

The school will be closed for winter vacation from Dec. 23 to Jan. 10, 2011.
We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

December 3, 2010

In a Nutshell by Alice Miyagawa

In April 2005, I came to KTS to do hands-on research into basic weaving and dyeing techniques, focused on natural fibres and dyes. My previous experience and study in this area of textiles had mainly been theoretical, so studying at KTS gave me the chance to engage in and more fully understand textile art practice. My Japanese language skills were very limited (!) but the teachers and staff were all very kind and helpful.

Throughout my half-year of study, I researched the application of dyestuffs to different types of fibres, and the processes involved in creating handspun threads from plants and animals. I used a variety of looms to learn structural weaving techniques.

Amongst other things, learning how to create Kasuri cloth, over a two-month period, was a challenging and rewarding experience. I sampled the four main techniques: weft kasuri, warp kasuri, double kasuri and picture kasuri, then went on to design and create a 5-metre linen cloth dyed with indigo. These processes have given me a greater understanding and appreciation of many different aspects of textile art.

During this time, I began teaching English at the school. My after-hours classes continued from 2005 until March 2010, with the intention of resuming in April 2011. My background in textiles and teaching provides a solid foundation from which to direct students’ learning. KTS members learn English for a variety of reasons: to study, travel or exhibit overseas, as well as to communicate within Japan with visiting students, teachers and artists, and to research using English language materials. As well as gaining conversational skills, students learn how to discuss and present their own and others’ artworks, sometimes including reviews and portfolios.

My other work includes teaching established Japanese textile artists (privately and at Gallery Gallery), tailored studio-visit tours for art enthusiasts, and translation work (for example, this website and during tours). I continue to research and explore Japanese art practice, particularly fibre arts.

Foreigners are welcome at Kawashima. Whether as a group organized by their school or institution, or as individuals coming independently, there are unique experiences waiting for those who are ready to delve deeper into the world of textiles.


October 18, 2010

Studying in Sweden

Kyoko Nakahara, a third year student at KTS, has just started to study at HV Skola (Sweden) as an exchange student. There she will study Swedish techniques, such as Rollakan (Swedish carpet weaving), since she has been working on interior. She had decided to go to Sweden after meeting Kerstin, who came to KTS from HV last spring.

Third year students at KTS have the opportunity to study abroad via exchange programs at HV Skola (Sweden) and Kuopio Academy of Design (Finland).

sample work at HV

Kräftskiva! Crayfish party!

September 4, 2010

Natural Indigo Dye Workshop (closed)

Photos from our workshop in July:
Dyeing handwoven silk scarves using natural indigo leaves freshly picked from the school's garden.

The last day of the workshop was a one day bus trip to Mr. Hiroyuki Shindo's studio and his Little Indigo Museum in Miyama, Kyoto, a historic village of thatched roof dwellings.


May 20, 2010

Aoi Matsuri (by Kana Suda)

The first years of the full-time program at KTS visited the Gosho (the Kyoto Imperial Palace) to observe the Aoi Matsuri (“hollyhock” festival) procession, which was held on Saturday, May 15th.

Aoi Matsuri is one of Kyoto’s 3 major festivals, along with Gion Matsuri and Jidai Matsuri. It is also the oldest existing festival in Kyoto, and is held annually on the 15th of May.
With much thanks to Mr. Tara’s advice, we arrived at the Sakaimachi Gates an hour prior to the start of the parade, and were fortunately able to stand in the front row of the observation area. The procession lasted for approximately an hour, during which countless men, women, and children gracefully glided past us, in their delicate, classic Kimonos. The designs of the kimonos replicated that of which were worn by nobilities during the Heian Period, and looked quite different from what we are accustomed to today. Unlike what most people would expect from a “festival”, the Aoi Matsuri procession was carried out in a very quiet and noble atmosphere (except for the voices of the hundreds of excited spectators and policemen). Even the horses and oxes were beautifully “dressed” with ornamental head pieces and colorfully woven ropes, and made me really feel the sensitive nature of the Japanese culture.

After the last of the parade had left the gates of the palace, Mr. Tara took us to a very nice steakhouse for lunch, and going along with his recommendation, I ordered Hayashi-rice (onions and beef cooked in demi-gras sauce and poured over rice) – it was delicious! Class was dismissed after lunch, but the majority of us decided to go visit the various exhibitions and galleries scattered around Kyoto City. Mr. Tara was kind enough to join us for the whole day, and he shared his insights with us regarding the culture of Kyoto (he also gave us a quick tour of some of his favorite bars and restaurants as we passed by them on our way to the galleries!!). An exchange student from Korea was also able to join us, and as we usually don’t get to talk to her during school, this was a wonderful opportunity to get to know her.

So, I have blabbered on for some length, but what I really want to say is that we had a great time getting in touch with the beautiful culture and art of Kyoto, and Mr. Tara, we very much enjoyed your company. Thank you!

For those of you who want to know more about Aoi Matsuri, here are a few links:

Kyoto Prefectural Government, Division of Tourism
Japan National Tourism Organization

March 10, 2010

Shifu Workshop summer 2010 (closed)

Shifu Workshop by Keiko Yoshida
Aug. 28 -Aug. 31     10:00-16:00
Tuition Fee: 29,400yen
Material Fee: 5,250yen
Capacity: 10 students
Held in Japanese and English
*This workshop is intended for experienced weavers (of at least one year).


In some parts of the world people call Japanese paper “Rice Paper” but actually there is no trace of rice or rice straw in Japanese "Washi". You probably have heard of "Washi" and know that it is the traditionally produced paper made from bast fiber in combination with the unique techniques that have been developed in Japan since the beginning of the 7th century but have you ever heard of "Shifu?"

Shifu is a woven cloth produced using paper yarn made from "Washi". In our workshop we will weave a table-runner using ramie (a plant of the nettle family native to tropical Asia, Boehmeria nivea, family Urticaceae.) as the warp and "Washi" paper yarn as the weft. The process of making the paper yarn from "Washi" will be the primary focus of this workshop. We will precut the "Washi" paper into thin strips, roll it into a kind of thick uniform bundle and then tear every other cut to create a single long strip. Finally we will spin this into a single long line somewhat smaller than yarn but larger than thread. Does this pique your interest?

Keiko Yoshida
In 1985 Keiko Yoshida completed the Advanced Textile Research Course at Seian Women's College in Kyoto Japan. After working for a period of time at HINAYA Inc., a traditional weaving company in Kyoto, she became a studio weaving artist. While researching paper weaving she learned how to make washi paper yarn from Ms. Takiyo Hattori and Ms. Hiroko Karuno. Currently she is producing handwoven textiles and is an Adjunct Instructor at Nagoya University of Arts and Kyoto University of Art and Design.


To apply, please contact us using our inquiry form or by e-mail, and we will send you the application form. Please fill it in and send it back to us by July 23.

Please let us know if you would like to stay at our dormitory during the course.
Check-in:  Friday Aug. 27

Please do not cancel. We may charge you a cancellation service fee.

Graduate Exhibition

The Graduate Exhibition at the Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art has just started today. Along with the first year, second year, third year and technical study course students' work, this year we have work of our international students and alumnae.

Kawashima Textile School Graduate Exhibition
2010.3.10 (Wed.) -14 (Sun.)
9:00 - 17:00
Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art (Kyoto-shi Bijutsukan)