How was it, how was my trip to Japan? I can hear you are all asking! It was amazing trip. It was well worth the wait, the worry and anxiety. I'm glad I didn't cancel the trip. Many caring people were asking me how was the situation in Japan. I didn't notice anything different in the people. From what I saw on the television the people of Fukushima are well care for from the Japanese government. They are very brave and courageous people and they will come through this. Many of them were worried about me being there so soon after the disaster.
I don't know where to begin. I thought the tour was amazing, but better things were yet to come. I will just have to blog whatever come into my mind. I will be talking about my trip for a long long time so hope you wouldn't get bore hearing about it.
OK, my first post is about Blue Heaven. Blue in this case represents indigo blue. I had three chances to visit the indigo artists. First one was with the tour. The second one was arranged by my host family, and the last one I was invited.
Can you imagine a better looking sitting room? A comfy chair with an indigo cloth thrown over the back! A book in your hand and you can spend the afternoon there. This is the sitting room in the Japanese Textile Workshops studio.
These two pieces of Shibori were pre-prepared before we went to Someori-San indigo studio. I didn't know if we would get a chance for a dip in the vat (the cloth, not me), but I thought it wouldn't hurt taking a piece to try. The one on the left was mine and the right one was Ayako's (my Japanese friend).
This is my piece of Shibori after I removed the threads. The colour gets lighter after it dries.
Elizabeth (I met Elizabeth in an online workshop) and I had a chance to have our photo taken with Fumiko Sato-San. This beautiful energetic lady is a living indigo artist. We were welcome to her studio to see her dyeing in action. I was there as part of the tour.
These fashionably indigo clothing were on displayed in Sato-San's studio. I didn't get any of the clothing, even though I wanted too! I did get some indigo pieces from her scrap basket. I bet you didn't notice me crushing the bag of scraps in the above photo?
These are Sato-San indigo vats. They are her treasure. They have pride of place right in the middle of the studio! She has six of them going all the time. We were warned not to fall in. We would have been very blue if we did!
If you ask me what I did most on my trip? I would say I smiled a lot until my cheeks hurt. Ayako told me I was having a party in my sleep! Here I was wearing a real BORO jacket. It was in perfect condition and on my back was a farmer's rain coat made from hessian (I hope I'm right!). Behind me is an indigo vat. It has proud of place by the front door of the house!
Ayako is kneading an indigo piece between each dye. I have a feeling that she was every happy dyeing too!
This lady is a student of English, but that day her English lesson was playing dyeing with us. She really enjoyed herself. Wouldn't you be with a result like that!
Bryan the owner of Japanese Textile Workshops was helping us unfold our pieces. He said this is what he likes best. Seeing the result of each Shibori after it is dyed.
This one is my piece. We got to do two pieces that day. How generous of him! Each of the pieces is long enough for a scarf. I learnt how to fold this pattern that day too.
Let me tell you a bit about my experience with BORO. I have often used this word in my blog. But this term is seldom used in Japan. It's a forbidden word. BORO means rag, clothing of the very poor farmers. It reminds the Japanes of a sad past in feudal times.
There I was proudly showing off my BORO patches on my jacket to everyone. I was looked at strangely when I did that. People who know me know that I love vintage clothing and re-purposing my clothes. Today even the Duchess of Cambridge is called a thrifty princes. I just thought I would share with you the meaning of BORO and why the Japanese do not like to use it.