Weaving in Japan was a learning feat which I would have been sorry to have not undertaken. The technical knowledge alone is something that will vastly improve my weaving, dyeing, and design planning. Not to even touch on the tools and equipment which make even the most difficult task easier, and more precise.
Kasuri weaving was a labor-intensive technique which results in an endless amount of pattern creation. Learning this skill one-on-one with a knowledgeable teacher is an experience not to be passed up. There are nuances to this craft which would have been frustrating to learn from a book; so having the teacher present to guide one through was invaluable. I feel this technique is one which I can use in my own work and is easily adaptable to one's own style.
Staying in the dorms, eating home-style Japanese cooking, and getting along with fellow students has been a fun and funny experience for me. I will miss the hot bath of the onsen, the cafeteria ladies' delicious food, and all of the yummy treats my fellow students shared with me. I never felt that my lack of understanding the Japanese language was a detriment to my experience here; actually, at times it was something to be gotten much hilarity from!
|at the Kawashima Textile Museum|
As for the world outside Kawashima, oh, what fun!
There is so much textural history in Kyoto, from the beautiful shifuku of the tea ceremony, to the incredible kumihimo which adorns the kimono, it would seem that there are textiles in every part of the Japanese life. Traditional textiles are not the only type to be found here, the modern textiles of such designers as Mina Perhonen and Sou-Sou neither disappoint nor are lacking in panache.
One of the things I noticed as I was shopping was the creative displays and incredible attention paid to the packaging; things which have been an inspiration to me, from a business point of view.
Not to be forgotten, the food was delicious! Hot giant bowls of ramen, bittersweet cones of matcha soft serve, mochi wrapped anko, revolving sushi, and the many tasty treats to be found in the basements of Takashimaya and Daimaru. Oishii! I only wish that I could fit it all in my suitcase.
Places I found of interest:
basement level of takashimaya; pan (bread)
6th floor of Takashimaya; wooden bento, shifuku
basement level of Daimaru; tea sweets, honey
basement level of Fujii-Daimaru; organic produce
Nomura-Tailor, floors 1-3; many varieties of fabric, pinbacks, sewing notions
lisn; modern natural japanese incense
Itoh Kumihimoten; just gorgeous silk kumihimo
sou-sou; really awesome tabi shoes
Gallery Kei; amazing unique textiles form japan's past, ramie, banana fiber, shifu
Ippodo; matcha tea, ocha tea, tea tasting and brewing demonstration
Kamiji Kakimoto; washi store
Malebranche; delicious matcha and white chocolate cookies, matcha icecream
La Droguerie; buttons, ribbon, liberty tana lawn, sequins
Kamigamo; 4th sunday of the month
Shijo-dori to Oike-dori, between Karasuma-dori and Kawaramachi-dori:
lin-net; linen fabric, linen clothes, linen bias tape, linen thread
avril; like habu textiles? you'll love avril.
Kyoto Design House
Ippudo; yummy fresh ramen, i ate here three times
konnamonjya (in Nishiki Market); tofu doughnuts
Saihoji (also known as Kokedera (moss temple))
Fushimi Inari Taisha
Anastasia studied in the Beginners Course and Foundation Kasuri Course of Fall 2010.
To read more about her studies and adventures in Japan, visit her blog, birds in chandeliers.