September 17, 2013

Patricia Schoeneck

As I Remember It

In my work I have tried to express memories in colours of my time at Kawashima Textile School and in Kyoto. I arrived in May 2012, the sun was warm, the mountains were all so green. I found friends and the Hibiscus was in full bloom. The last week it started to rain but it was still so beautiful and warm.

I wanted to use the kasuri technique that I learned from my Japanese teachers at the same time as I tried to find my own expression. To achieve that I have laborated with colours and shapes. To create depth in the colour of the figures I have dyed the warp and the weft iwth different colours. I choose to work with linen because the fibre is strong and has an interesting structure and shines almost like silk. I like to call it the Nordic Silk.

Patricia Schoeneck (Sweden)

Born in 1980, Stockholm, Sweden
Handarbetets vänners skola, Weaving and embroidery, Stockholm 2010-
Kawashima Textile School, Kasuri foundation and applied I, Kyoto May 2012
Nyckelviksskolan, Textile art and design, Stockholm, 2010
Konstfack, Art teacher education, Stockholm, 2007-2009
Konstskolan i Stockholm, Art foundation studies, 2007
Stockholms Tillskärarakademi, Pattern construction and couture studies, 2006

Patricia was an exchange student from HV Skola (Sweden) and studied in the Foundation Kasuri Course and Applied Kasuri Course I in spring 2012 (She has shared her thirty-two days in Kyoto on her photo blog, trettiotvå i Kyoto!). Patricia worked on this piece that autumn after returning to HV Skola. She will be coming to KTS again in autumn 2013 to study kasuri for another month.

September 11, 2013

Zolie Elf-Åhs

To come and study kasuri and obi weaving at Kawashima Textile School was a dream come true. I have always been interested in Japan, classic Japanese art and textiles, it has been a very important and big part of my art. Even if my style is not so very Japanese.

In my art I work a lot with colors and the viewer’s perception. As an artist it is fun to use complex and time consuming techniques but if the viewer can not appreciate and understand the art itself then the entire process feels unnecessary. I want the viewers to be able to feel something when they see my art. Most of the time I can’t set a word to that feeling but in the same time I can’t decide what the viewer will think of my art. It is just a selfish wish that it will affect someone.

I like using different dyeing techniques, different types of shibori in my art. Color is always the most important thing in my work. It is the colors that set the tone of the piece, which makes it vibrate, stand out and be memorable or forgettable.

It might sound strange but the thing I like the best is when two colors meet and gently blend together. And the fact that you can never know for sure how it will be. Even if you have done everything perfect, pulled all the strings so hard and tight that you possibly can, there will always be that silent moment when you open up the kasuri or shibori. The moment of truth. Did it work? Did it bleed? In that moment you have no control. It seems that in the end it doesn’t really matter if the edges are perfectly straight or not, at least not to me, it is the hard work behind that color meeting that is the most beautiful thing.

from the KTS Graduate Exhibition, Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, March 2013

It was a wonderful thing to make a real Nagoya obi and play with kasuri. I have never been found of talking about my art, I rather let it speak for itself. But I can say that even I don’t know what that lonely samurai is doing in the night. Is he waiting for someone? Has he killed someone? Or is he just enjoying the blossoming sakura tree in the silent night?

Zolie Elf-Åhs (Sweden)


Zolie was an exchange student from HV Skola (Sweden) and studied in the Foundation Kasuri Course and Applied Kasuri Course I to III in autumn 2012.

September 4, 2013


“Utopic” was my first thought of planning a trip to Japan to study weaving. A year and a half later I was in a taxi, surrounded by steaming mountains in the Ichihara district, driving fast towards the final destination- Kawashima Textile School. The moment I set my feet inside the school, I felt at home. I was greeted with kind hospitality and warm curiosity by everyone- the staff, teachers and students.

After a small tour around the school and dormitory, I discovered that the facilities are not filled with modern machines such as digital looms and devices to spin or dye materials. Instead, I found myself in a school that uses basic traditional tools, has an amazing dyeing kitchen and people whose knowledge about traditional weaving and dyeing became priceless to me. I had amazing tutors who put their heart and soul into teaching us the basics of Kasuri and I have to admit- their patience was remarkable.

Another inspirational aspect of the school was the work ethics. I learned to be more thorough, detailed, organized, and even from the creative point of view my ideas became more well thought through. I enjoyed observing other students’ work processes- especially the ones that were studying kimono weaving, who were faithful to one design for several months.

All my weekends were filled with long bike rides from the dormitory through autumn colors to the center of Kyoto.

I might say that Japan with its rich culture was so inspiring that at one point it became overwhelming for me. That led me to another way of experiencing Japan- by simplifying the information and amazing environment in my head. I think that was the point where I started to understand the soul and philosophy behind Japan, Kyoto, its traditions, and the Kasuri that I was weaving behind the loom.

from the KTS Graduate Exhibition, Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, March 2013

Working with kasuri was a big challenge for me. But after working with my first samples I started to understand the philosophy behind it. For our individual project I wanted to integrate this technique into my world.

To create two delicate luxurious scarves I used the combination of silkwool and wild silk and only natural dyes. In the first scarf I wanted to use the kasuri for making an optical illusion with the kasuri shape and gradient color mixtures. The second scarf opposes with “fantasy” kasuri, trying to use the strict and traditional technique in a new context. Without no rules or design, this scarf is made by only using my intuition.

The experience of learning traditional Japanese weaving was an influencial and amazing period for me as a young textile designer from Europe.

Johanna (Estonia)


Johanna came to KTS during her fourth year at Kolding School of Design (Denmark), in autumn 2012. She studied in the Foundation Kasuri Course, and Applied Kasuri Course I to III.