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Kawashima

June 22, 2016

in 1987 I spent 6 months at Kawashima Textile School

living in residence, studying kasuri/ikat

back referal_0004threading silk at 80 epi – in the heat

kasuri 001to weave weft kasuri

but before that there were days of resist tying and then dyeing

I spun the weft from cocoons which had a hole cut to let the moth escape

back home I made it into a hanten style jacket

so what does this have to do with anything?

I visited Kawashima for the first time since 1987

P1090703still the same – but

new equipment, better lighting and a fresh coat of paint

P1090693still using Le Clerc looms – see the logo on the loom?

P1090702these impressive bobbin winders are new

P1090704the Japanese equivalent of a warping board – now

they are made to warp from itomaki (square bobbins)

Kawashima_0001classmates back then…

I had one built when I came home but don’t have the space for it now

Kawashima_0007the electric bobbin winding machine – then

but it is still there in the same place

P1100014and “my’ loom is still there but the traditional Japanese looms didn’t seem to be in use

we were given the grand tour by the Principal and the one teacher still there from 1987

they had even found my class picture and had it on display

 arigato gozaimashita to Kawashima and principal Masada-san

for a wonderful, surprising welcome

wow, great memories!

Kawashima also has a museum, sorry no pictures

it features the company and the factory, is worth a visit and is free

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. June 22, 2016 12:32 pm

    Wow, what a great trip down memory lane. So nice to return to a place and see some things are still the same.

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    • June 22, 2016 12:37 pm

      Heather – it was a great look back. The sleepy, rice growing village had totally been swallowed by family residences, no countryside/land anymore and the school had been painted pink! I was surprised at the welcome.

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  2. June 22, 2016 3:39 pm

    What a lovely visit you had! How sweet they managed to locate a class photo to welcome you. It would be wonderful to have such a school here in western Canada but sadly textiles don’t get the same reverence that they do in Japan. At least my guild has recently been sponsoring some popular weaving classes and loaning equipment for them. Gotta start somewhere, eh?

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    • June 22, 2016 4:59 pm

      Louisa – textiles are still respected in Japan but I don’t know about the younger generations. I’ve just started teaching two beginners and always feel hopeful.

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  3. June 22, 2016 5:11 pm

    What a wonderful experience that must have been! You were probably about my age…The equipment looks like fun. A neighbor from my old home says her daughter (age 12) is really into weaving, so there is hope!

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    • June 22, 2016 7:54 pm

      Kristin – approx. 8 of my beginning students have become very good, weave all the time and are taking workshops so yes there is hope and I have done my little part.

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  4. June 23, 2016 3:14 am

    Going back to a fondly-remembered place like this can be scary! I’m so glad that it was still special and wonderful.

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    • June 23, 2016 7:44 am

      Kerry – I missed my nursing class reunion while I was in Japan – happy to have a good excuse, not a fan of going back in time but Kawashima was short and fun.

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