February 8, 2011

Maeve Mulcahy

Watching the leaves fall
Six weeks at Kawashima Textile School

In the west, we see Japan as a beautiful mystery, a culture that embraces tradition and technology with such ease and precision. I was very inspired by the beauty of everyday life in Kyoto, the ritual of drinking tea, taking a bath and eating a bowl of rice, watching a monk sweeping leaves and elders tending to their gardens.

I came to Kawashima Textile School to learn the basic theory and methods of Kasuri weaving, and thanks to all the time and support I received from the teaching staff, I was able to experiment with the kasuri technique and create a large work which showed my understanding. I enjoyed using native natural dyes, and binding the yarn to create the patterns that I envisaged. I found working with the Japanese raw materials such as Ramie, Hemp, and bast fibers really inspiring, and I hope to experiment with them more in the future.

Autumn was such a beautiful time to be in Kyoto, watching the leaves turn crimson red and the night skies clear. It was nice to see the students wearing bright coloured felt and wooly hats to school as the days turned more cool. I was so happy to be able to see exhibitions of Japanese Textile artists in the city, and really got a sense that there is a thriving Textile community alive in Kyoto. At Kawashima, I was able to watch other students create beautiful Kimono cloth and see some really innovative ways of creating textiles, I was touched by the other students warmth and friendly nature, they made me feel right at home.


Maeve studied in the  Foundation and Applied Kasuri Course of Fall 2010.