Such a geek.

I was busy reading up on shibori yesterday when there was a knock at the door. We get a lot of door-to-door folks out here, mainly church people and vacuum cleaner sales people, neither of whom I really want to talk to, so when I opened the door to find a young man in a crisp, white button down shirt that was obviously not his usual garb standing there I immediately thought the worst.

But no! He works for a local house painting business and my home is in obvious need of a good paint job, there’s no denying it. We went outside and looked at the badly patched caulking, the fading, nail holes, you name it. While we were talking I noticed his tattoos (hidden under the baggy shirt) and we started talking about art, culture, etc. then back into the house where I dragged out several books on kimono history and showed him pictures of Edo samurai, Anui textiles, and some yuzen pieces I had handy. As an artist himself, he had plenty of interesting questions and we had a great conversation.

It’s odd how I have a hard time thinking about blog topics, but give me a live human who shows a bit of interest in these textiles and I’m off for the next half hour, lecturing in an animated and enthusiastic way. Why oh why am I spending my days alone in my studio? I need an audience! I guess that explains why I majored in both theater AND anthropology in college. Yes, I’m a GEEK.

Today’s project: sewing obi. yikes.

I’ve got several obi bolts that I bought long ago, intending to turn them into bags or other accessories or to sell the fabric as yardage. With the impending doom of Fanime not far off (“doom” as in “OMG how am I going to get all of these kimono to the show in my one tiny little car? Where will my kids sit? On the roof?”) I’m looking at these bolts of obi as opportunities to enlarge my stock. With a few hours of sewing I should be good.

This morning I was ready to sell this fabric for yardage, but I’ve fallen for its charms and now I plan to sew it into a hanhaba (narrow) obi.

mukai obi 1

The design elements are tatewaku (立枠), or undulating waves of steam in indigo blue with a leaf pattern, and mukaimon (向い文), or facing butterflies in deep red and muddy yellow. There are more variations to the colors than appear in the photos and the cotton is quite heavy, rather like canvas.

mukai obi 2

I credit JAANUS (Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System) for helping me with naming these design elements. I highly suggest this site if you are looking to identify designs on Japanese textiles, art and architecture.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Kristen says:

    I repeat (from the latest post), I really like this design! It must be the use of the primary colors. In the right shade, they just fit together so well!

  2. It certainly is an interesting piece. The warp threads are quite fine, but the weft is thick and strong. I like the mix, as it makes the finished textile both pliable and substantial.

    And yes, the colors work well together, too!

  3. jenashmen says:

    That is an absolutely beautiful pattern! The colors are warm and subtle. The shapes are bold. It makes me feel both comfortable and awake.

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