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weaving at Kawashima

April 11, 2011

  — I am slowly scanning my 35mm slides into the computer. Slowly is the operative word and also frustrating.

very fine silk, approx. 120/2, is wound onto square wooden bobbins so they don’t tangle. Skeins are placed on bamboo “swifts”, the machine was electric, quite fast  and wound all the skeins at the same time. If one was tangled you had to hit the stop switch FAST!  

warping was done on a table with the ito maki (bobbins) arranged in the middle, several threads are wound at a time using your fingers to keep them separate and to make the cross . Two warps can be wound at the same time, often with two weavers helping one another.

traditional kimono looms, weaving is serious business and there wasn’t much  talking. We worked from 9:00am until 5:00pm with a 1/2 hour lunch break. After supper most students wove until 9:00pm when we were locked out. 

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 11, 2011 4:32 pm

    this is fascinating. i remember putting long hours at the loom in school, but we sort of kept our own hours. i do remember leaving the art building several times very late. the lights right above the weaving look like a good idea, were they florescent? and did that throw off your colorwork? (too many ?s)

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  2. April 11, 2011 6:26 pm

    oh, you just want to keep me on my toes/the keyboard.yes to the lights – but – yarns were either white or natural and ALL design decisions were made before booking time in the dye lab and then on to the loom. Nothing is left to chance and students had to have all choices ok’d by their teacher. Sometimes the process took days.

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  3. April 11, 2011 9:58 pm

    What an amazing experience it must have been!

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  4. April 14, 2011 1:38 am

    love those itomaki. there’s something to japanese weaving tools, so simple and functional.

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