Thursday, April 22, 2010

saving the best for last

This has been a busy week. Betsy Sterling Benjamin, who is the tour leader, worked in Kyoto as a batik artist for many years and has amazing contacts.

We began the first day with visits to the yuzen dyeing museum, the Nishijin weaving center and the well known indigo shop Aizen Kobo. These were all places I had visited the first time I was in Kyoto by myself and I will save descriptions for a later post when I can put up pictures.

The next two days we visited four totally amazing batik artists, in Japanese the term is rozome. The first one fed us what was supposed to be a light lunch but it was totally gorgeous. These visits will be better shown with puictures too.

The fourth day we went to a factory that weaves absolutely enormous theater curtains on the largest loom in the world, as well as tapestries and obis and the finest and most delicate weaving done with fingernails. Then we visited the Kyoto Seika University, an independent art school, and got to meet some students and faculty. The textile department would fill any American student of textiles with joy. Huge, well equipped and comprehensive. Wow.

We finished the day with a visit to a mountain hot spring resort, an onsen, for a soak in an outdoor heated pool with a relaxing view of the mountainside. We had dinner there and returned down the mountain by train.

We had a day off for sightseeing and visiting the temple market on Wednesday.

Yesterday we woke to pouring rain and caught the high speed train to Nagoya for a visit to Arimatsu, the world famous center for shibori. Ed and I had visited there as tourists but this trip was an entirely different animal. We were met by Mr. Takeda, the owner of the laargest shibori company and a descendent of the founder of the craft here four hundred years ago. We visited the shibori museum and then walked to see the factory of a contemporary shibori artist. He makes fabrics for Issey Miyake, curtains for Tiffany, and other marvels. We had lunch and then trecked along the Tokkaido to see the home and business of Mr. Takeda. This Edo era mansion is a wonder itself but he took us back to seek a display of modern kimonos and another of indigo dyed kimonos, some more than a hundred years old that I have seen pictured in books. He offered us tea in a tea house that 230 years ago was host to shoguns and daimyos. Shopping and the train trip home finished the day.

I can hardly wait to show you pictures.


Anonymous said...

words cannot express enough can they?
will be waiting for photos which will only tell a part of the story. there really is so much to see there. and to learn.
fascinating- thanks for sharing it!

beadbabe49 said...

I'm looking forward to the photos too!

kit said...

I can hardly wait to see the photos!

dorie said...

hello Karen, this is all very interesting and new for me. Have read some of your posts and seen beautifull works of you. Will come back to learn more and follow you when time is given me. Thanks for sharing.

Claudia G Coonen said...

been in Betsy tours there before too, it's amazing artists and her connections are fantastic, to meet many of the artists of Kyoto. Not to mention Kyoto! Betsy had a show at a temple in Kyoto there once when I was there too, so inspiration yeah? would love the pics...