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Japanese looms

February 16, 2011

My project for this past winter was to organize 4 generations of  family pictures and 35mm slides. First I had to buy a new scanner. Well, the best laid plans —!  As winter never really happened this year (am I tempting fate??) I have finally purchased the scanner and now have to teach myself  how to use in it, not being much of a techie it may take a while. This is the result of my first practise day.

— in 1987 I spent 6 months weaving at Kawashima Textile School in the village of Ichihara a few miles outside Kyoto. At least I was working on looms – and not computers, so the learning curve wasn’t too painful.

This was my loom for the 6 months. In the process of threading silk in a split bamboo reed.A traditional kimono loom, 4 harness. It had no metal fastenings and was held together with wooden pegs. When a peg fell out we just wrapped a piece of tissue around it, stuck it back in the hole and banged it tight with the heel of our slipper. Simple, unless it caused a serious malfunction while weaving silk sett at 80 – 120 epi. I’ll leave that to your imagination. It could be very traumatic. 

This is my neighbour’s loom, from the back.

And another view, with one of the students weaving a silk kimono length.


There were approx. 40 looms in the studio including a drawloom, several floor-to-ceiling tapestry looms, western looms and the kimono looms.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 25, 2011 8:19 pm

    and they’re all still there! actually, the room probably looks the same as when you went, maybe another loom or so added to the chaos. the bamboo reeds are incredible! one broke when i was there, but i think it was discovered before the weaving had progressed very far. i want to go back; the food was delicious, kyoto is amazing, and there are still so many things i want to buy. i discovered a love for green tea, incense from shoyeido, and baste fibers, all of which i am nourishing since coming home.


  2. February 17, 2011 2:08 pm

    of course i wish i had a similar experience…that loom room reminds me of school, buffalo state, where i fell in love with the two rooms full of looms. amazing.


  3. February 17, 2011 9:51 am

    Wow, fascinating. What a dream, to study in Kyoto.


  4. Evelyn Oldroyd permalink
    February 17, 2011 8:33 am

    What an amazing experience. The looms look very long and I am curious about the two wooden beams that appear to take something across the ends but are sticking up at an angle. Does this mean the looms can be altered to drawlooms? Looking forward to more photos. Your packet arrived, but I am not there yet to open it!


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