Japan Tour 2018 – Day 8 – We took an hour ride in a taxi from our hotel in Yonezawa to a small village among rice paddies and cherry orchards named Shirataka. We visited the studio where a seldom seen form of ikat is done by wrapping threads onto boards to resist the dye to make the patterns. Here are warp threads that have been dyed. Next they will go to the weavers studio to be put on a loom and woven.
Here is one of many boards used to make a simple or complex pattern. If you zoom in you can see the silk threads wrapped on the grooved board. The dye eventually will flow through the channels of the grooves. Note the cut out at the edge for a pattern There would be 40 or more boards wrapped and stacked and held tightly next to one another in a press like device.
This is an example of one pattern of cloth woven with both warp and weft threads dyed with the boards forming the resist and dyed areas of the pattern. The dye was black. The threads were white to begin with.
During dyeing, the wrapped boards would be stacked in the holder on the left in the photo and the dyer would pour the hot black dye over the stack. He would dip and pour the dye over and over for perhaps a half hour. The dye would drain through the pattern grooves and run out a spout below back into the dye pot.
Here is a stack of wrapped boards in the holding press. You can see the threads wrapped on the edges of the boards. You can see evidence of the pattern on the side of the stack. The whole thing would be turned on it’s side when the dye is poured over it so the dye can drain down through.
On the loom a black warp is added on the beam but the pattern portion is separated so it can be adjusted by individual threads as needed during weaving.