Sunday, November 16, 2008

Takayama and Shibori

We spent two days in the mountain town of Takayama. It is a charming place, touristy of course, but authentic. I suppose it has about 50,000 people, the size of Corvallis, but they have spring and fall planting and harvest festivals with huge ancient floats and 300,000 people show up. Fall color was just magnificent. I discovered to my delight that the wood block printed, stuffed fabric folk toys I have been looking for all over Japan are made there. This is the garden of the ryokan where we stayed, seen from our second floor room.

Today we took the train back down the mountain to Nagoya. We managed to get ourselves to Arimatsu, the home of the finest shibori in Japan. It is located along the Tokaido, the old road from Tokyo to Kyoto. The old merchants buildings still line the streets.

How about this elegant noren!

Business is down these days I suppose, and they outsource some work to China, as in all the kimono industry, but you could shop till you drop easily enough in the shops there. I did not want to buy a whole bolt of anything, and the space left in my suitcase is really tiny after five weeks of travel and shopping and all the gifts people give you. My quilts took up a lot of our luggage allotment too, so I restrained myself (pretty much).

There is a nice small museum. There were 50's era posters with kimonos like the antique ones I buy to take apart and resell, and a delightful old lady demonstrating hemp leaf pattern wrapping.

They were moderately impressed with the old nui (embroidered) shibori kimono I remade as a jacket.

Two more days of train travel and we leave for home. Thanks for following along with me. I will keep you up to date with new posts on current projects and Japanese textiles in general.


Anonymous said...

"really tiny" space in the suitcases is a big understatement. There is NO space. They are BULGING! And I get to carry them up and down stairs.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the posts about your trip to Japan. I will be visiting Arimatsu for the first time in May and am really looking forward to it!

Terry said...

Karen, I have so enjoyed "traveling" with you. I hope we get to see some of the stuff you are bringing home!

Ahava Hopps Brooke said...

I just found your blog. I'm stunned (and envious) of your great experiences. Thank you for sharing these great photos and post. I look forward to reading them in detail in the future. Thanks!