Underlying that is the depth of the history of tsuzure-ori that started at Kawashima Textiles Manufacturers. Back in the 19th century, second generation president Jimbei Kawashima II traveled to Europe and stayed at Manufacture des Gobelins (The Gobelins Manufactory) for several days. He noticed that the techniques used in weaving Gobelin tapestries were the same as those used in Japanese tsuzure-ori, and was inspired, with the idea that great results could be achieved by making the most of delicate Japanese handwork. By realizing the true value of tsuzure-ori, he improved the manufacturing method and designs, and in addition to obi, expanded the tsuzure-ori product line with interior decoration fabric and stage curtains, devised a unique gradation technique, developing tsuzure-ori into delicate and artistic textiles.
Those traditional skills of tsuzure-ori have been passed on to the school. Ikuo Takamuki, who had taught over 20 years since the opening of KTS (1973), had been a tsuzure-ori craftsperson at Kawashima Textile Manufacturers. The textbook he created to "accumulate techniques" and "share the information that had been handed down" are still incorporated in the classes today. In addition to such traditional skills, at the school, each student's artistic expression is valued, and the fact that they can create their work from both perspectives is a characteristic of the tsuzure-ori at KTS.
Additionally, what is the feature of making artwork at the school, which differs from making products at the company? It is to have the opportunity to expand one’s potential, by using the space, and time, to take on challenges. The degree of freedom and profoundness of tsuzure-ori becomes visible precisely because one develops their expression ability on a foundation of solid skills, and is still popular among students today. There is a group of artists who continue to visit from overseas, who say they are inspired by, and find value in the time and space to immerse themselves in weaving at KTS in Kyoto, and the experience of weaving on traditional Nishijin-style tsuzure looms.
The depth of tradition and the space to take on challenges. Wide, and profound. The fact that the school has a solid foundation, on which students can realize that about tsuzure-ori, is what makes the tsuzure-ori at KTS special.
|"A large tsuzure loom in the Meiji era (1868-1912), which made large pieces possible. This was improved and devised by Jimbei Kawashima II, who was inspired by Gobelin weave. (Sugimoto 116)"|
Jimbei Kawashima II toured silk weaving factories in Lyon, France, and stayed at Manufacture des Gobelins (The Gobelins Manufactory) in Paris, for several days. There, he noticed that the techniques used in Gobelin weave, such as how the weft was woven in so as to hide the warp, how the weft yarn would be turned back in the opposite direction without passing the whole width of the warp following the cartoon to create a pattern, was the same as Japanese tsuzure-ori.
Takamuki, Ikuo. 「綴織あれこれ」『SHUTTLE かよい杼染織技法の公開』 [Notes on Tsuzure-Ori] [SHUTTLE Kayoi-Hi Sharing Dyeing and Weaving Techniques]. Kawashima Shuttle Club, 1987. pp60-73
Sugimoto, Masatoshi. 「錬技抄」川島織物一四五年史 [Rengishō Kawashima Textile Manufacturers 145 Year History]. Kawashima Textile Manufacturers Ltd., 1989. pp103-14, 116
Topic Column, LETTER FROM KAWASHIMA TEXTILE SCHOOL No. 34 July-August 1993. Kawashima Textile School, 1993.