Wednesday, February 03, 2010
One special exhibit at the Quilt Festival was this area, where you could learn about indigo, from how it was grown ( the plant is part of the nettle family) ,harvest to how it was used. I could not understand anything of the explanation, but the pictures on the wall did the trick. On the right you can see bags ( I think made out of hemp)with the indigo, ready for use. On the table is the dye pot. All around were samples dyed with indigo. And no gloves for this man during demonstrations. When I saw him the next morning during breakfast he was very recognizable. His hands were still blue! One of our stops a few days previous was in Yuki City,where we visited Tsumugi-no-Sato. There we experienced traditional Japanese weaving and we could practice dyeing with natural indigo. We were taught how to get our white hanky ready for shibori dyeing.The first step was to copy a pattern for shibori on the fabric. Next we were shown how to stitch this pattern and pull it very tight. Once we were ready for the dye pot we were supplied with boots, aprons and gloves. The more times you dipped the fabric in the pot, the darker it got. Mine is not very dark, because it was very hard on my poor back. Once our group was finished we switched to the weaving looms. By the time we had our 30 cm of weaving, we had a good look around the small store, where you could buy beautiful garments and fabric. When we were ready to leave we each got our hanky in a plastic bag with orders to let it dry till the next morning before cutting the strings. This visit was one of the highlights of the trip for me. Back to the quilt show. In the same area as the indigo demonstrations was a collection of quilts by Kuroha Shizuko. She used almost all traditional indigo blue fabrics. She also had a book you could buy and at certain times of the day, she would sign books. The book was very good and the drawings of the patterns were good enough to follow without being able to read the book. I bought a copy of the book and here you see her signing my copy. When not busy signing books she would give an ungoing demonstration. Now it is back to reality for me. This week I started to machine quilt a large wall hanging and it is not going well. It seems that every time I finish a project I also forget how hard it is on my back and shoulders. This time I will not forget! It is just not worth all the agony and pain. I have tried different chairs, and positions but nothing seems to make a difference. But I will muddle onwards!