Kokontozai: KASHIYUKA’s Shop of Japanese Arts and Crafts /[Yuki Tsumugi Textile] | ページ 2 | カーサ ブルータス Casa BRUTUS

Kokontozai: KASHIYUKA’s Shop of Japanese Arts and Crafts /[Yuki Tsumugi Textile]

『カーサ ブルータス』2020年11月号より

Searching all of Japan for handcrafted items that express its heart and soul, our proprietor, KASHIYUKA, presents things that bring a bit of luxury to everyday life. What we discovered this time around is Yuki Tsumugi, with its 1500-year history in Ibaraki prefecture. Here originated a type of silk textile that is woven using a method unique in all the world.

Viewing the process called kasurikukuri, which is officially recognized by UNESCO as an “Intangible Cultural Heritage”. Strands of extremely thin silk fiber are segregated and bound with cotton in such a way as to obstruct dye penetration.
“Ordinary Tsumugi will use thread spun by machine as it’s pulled off the cocoon. But with Yuki Tsumugi, trained artisans draw the fiber out with their fingers, and hand bind it into a thread form filled with air, rather than tautly twisting it. This rare production technique isn’t used anywhere else in the world.”

As an artisan tells me this, the extremely fine white thread emerges like magic from between his fingers. I touch it, and it’s astonishingly fluffy. I realized that the reason Yuki Tsumugi is both so light and warm is that air is trapped within the fabric itself.
Textile is draped to demonstrate the shape of a finished kimono. “Pattern coordination between the fabric and the obi sash is fantastic as well,” says our shopkeeper KASHIYUKA.
The material is submerged in water, then dried in the open air.
I was also fascinated by the process of kasurikukuri, by which the silken thread is bound with cotton and dyed in such a way as to form patterns. And the intricate detailing of these patterns is mind-boggling. The most famous of these is the hexagonal kikko pattern, where it’s not unusual to have as many as 160 shapes arrayed side-by-side across the 14-inch span of the fabric. Jibata, the ancient mechanical loom technique, is equally amazing. The warp strand is wound about the weaver’s waist, and the body is used to adjust its tension as they go. The roots of the technique go deep, as evidenced by haniwa, ancient terracotta funerary objects, that were unearthed at the tomb sites of nobility, depicting the shape of a jibata loom. Textiles made with the jibata possess an exceptional texture, but call for greater time, skill, and strength to produce. I was told that these days it is rarely attempted at all, but for Yuki Tsumugi and Echigo Jofu textiles from Niigata prefecture.
The traditional jibata loom produces just 6 to 7 centimeters a day.
After the demonstration I had the opportunity to be draped in Honba Yuki Tsumugi textile from head to toe, and I was entranced by its light, smooth feel.

“The hand-spun thread is so fragile that it’s sized with a flour mixture. Over time, as the textile is washed, dried, and worn, it begins to soften and conform to the body. The fuzz of the cotton jointure falls away, and what is left behind is the lustrous foundation of silk,” This explanation by the artisan excited a twinge in my heart. Yuki Tsumugi would become more beautiful through use, generation after generation… as my esteem for kimono grows ever stronger.

Yuki Tsumugi textile by Okujun

Right: Honba Yuki Tsumugi, produced by Jibata, with both hand-spun warp and weave. The pattern is “grape arabesque”, said to attract good fortune. Inquire about price. Left: Stole of Honba Yuki Tsumugi. Inquire about price.●Okujun / 12-2, Ōaza-Yuki, Yuki-shi, Ibaraki. Products are on exhibit at the "Tsumugi no Yakata" museum, which includes a shop and learning center.

Yuka Kashino, known as KASHIYUKA, is a member of the electro-pop group Perfume. Their single "Time Warp” is on sale now. On Oct 23, "Perfume COSTUME BOOK", a photo book beautifully showcasing 15 years of costumes that have shaped Perfume’s image and aesthetic, was released. Her favorite museum is Chichu Museum in Naoshima, especially the Turrell room.http://www.perfume-web.jp
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