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a second hanten

May 28, 2016

a lesson in patience

the homework we all received and spent considerable time stitching

mokume shibori

P1080434was to be the lining for our second hanten

without any instructions for the stitching

I decided on a checkerboard pattern

and a large circle on what was intended to be the center back

after indigo dyeing it, I was pleasantly surprised with the results

P1090074we  took our dyed fabric to the river to rinse

it’s a climb down

P1090071and the water is cold

P1090069but it gets the job done – and it’s fun

next we designed and cut a stencil for the pattern on the back

P1090009we tested the size with pottery plates from the kitchen

P1090090time to do some samples

before going to Noguchi-san’s home and workshop

P1090116where the Master will supervise the pasting, sizing and dyeing of each piece

P1090135as there is a seam down the center back

the stencils are carefully marked in the center

and positioned on the fabric to allow for a seam allowance

the circle pattern should fit together exactly when stitched

P1090123paste is applied

P1090142a very fine sawdust is shaken over the paste to help it adhere to the cloth

P1090165Noguchi-san’s wife sits in the yard and bastes all the pieces of each hanten together

pin boards are hooked on the ends and they are stretched out in the air

P1090174each piece is brushed with a wash of soy milk and sumi

P1090169the soy milk is made on site in a homemade machine similar to a juicier

P1090193when dry it is on to the indigo vats

P1090202where Noguchi-san does the work while we watch – patientlyP1090207when the dyeing is finished he puts everything through 4 clean water rinses

Noguchi-san is a 7th generation katazome dyer

his son is now working with him and learning the skills

unlike many of the older craftspeople around the world

hopefully these skills will be passed on

it is an incredible privilege to spend a day watching and learning

P1090879at home, the finished hanten

P1090881inside and out.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. May 30, 2016 4:07 am

    What a process! Thanks for capturing it so well and sharing it. I love that photo of you and the hanten is beautiful!


  2. May 30, 2016 2:48 am

    your hanten is gorgeous, but to me your photo in the river cuts it! such happy glow.


  3. May 29, 2016 10:06 pm

    Such a gorgeous hanten, Jean! Thanks door sharing its story.


  4. May 29, 2016 7:59 am

    A special post Jean. How lovely to see Noguchi-san again and to work with him and I love the way you all used the river water to rinse your work, however chilly it might have been. Your hanten is wonderful, I think this was an extraordinary time for you all.


    • May 29, 2016 8:22 am

      Lis – fantastic day at Noguchi-san’s as always, he hasn’t slowed down one bit! – we got to meet the grandchildren at the end of the day. It was a very special time, over all too soon. I thought of our old group often.


  5. May 29, 2016 7:22 am

    Love the snail-like process…so many steps, but what a wonderful final result. I’ve been wanting to dye some yardage in indigo, but it must be challenging to get an even result without Noguchi-san’s traditional setup.


    • May 29, 2016 7:38 am

      Kristin – yardage is tricky depending on the volume. Try placing shin shi along one long edge and folding it back and forth, of course you need a vat large enough to immerse all the material.


  6. May 29, 2016 6:09 am

    Such beautiful work! Thank you for sharing the process with us.


  7. vdbolyard permalink
    May 29, 2016 5:49 am

    jean, the photo of you in the river is delightful! i’m surprised by the river being given it’s own stairway…


    • May 29, 2016 7:44 am

      Velma – thanks, I was surprised that we all had cameras in such a watery environment. The iron “steps” are strongly embedded in the concrete.


  8. trl710 permalink
    May 28, 2016 11:08 pm

    Jean-your hanten is beautiful.
    What is the purpose of the soy milk wash and sumi wash?


    • May 29, 2016 8:18 am

      Tobie – soy milk can be used similar to a mordant, it is thought to aid the bonding of dye to fibre. I have never seen the combined use of soy and sumi before but the addition of sumi should give a deeper stronger colour to the indigo. If you google Naga-ita Chugata Aizome dyeing technique and read the report by Karen J. Mack there is good info on both the Noguchi history and the dye process.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. McKay permalink
    May 28, 2016 5:41 pm

    Beautiful work, Jean.


  10. Den permalink
    May 28, 2016 5:09 pm



  11. emilysuzanna permalink
    May 28, 2016 5:04 pm

    Amazing process. Thank you so much for letting us see it. I love the finished piece.


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