Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 17


Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 17 – This is woven with Linden bark and the cloth is called shinafu. Cathy and I had visited a shop so I knew what I was looking at. It was way too expensive for us to buy any because one had to buy a whole obi length at 5.3 meters at great expense. When my workshop teacher showed us this piece of his work I just had to have it. I told myself I would share it with others. If anyone is interested let me know. 5 centimeters would cost about $30 for a ballpark figure. It is rare cloth made of linden wood bark. A meter would be a nice length to appreciate the sumi ink painting as well as an example of the cloth itself.

If you can believe it, this cloth is woven with the fuzz on the fiddleheads of fiddlehead ferns. Again it was too rare and precious and only available for a whole length of an obi, 5.5 meters. The more I saw it in my workshop teacher studio, the more I just had to have some. So I have shared a bit with other trip people. The cloth looks boring perhaps but it has been very moving for several people besides myself. More information follows. This cloth is slightly less costly than the bark cloth and I do have some left to share.

The fuzz on these fiddleheads is what the cloth is woven with. Zenmai is what the cloth is called.

This is what I wove in the workshop on a small frame loom. The warp is hand spun silk and fiddleheads fuzz. Our teacher started us out weaving “Mt Fuji” at the bottom then we were on our own. He had some examples which gave us ideas for the hour we had to weave. The fuzz is so short it couldn’t be made into a thread so it had to be mixed with silk. We had silk fibers as well as the fuzz to work with and I experimented as I “wove” trying everything. The top is just the fuzz laid into the warp since it was impossible to weave it in. I found it interesting to handle the silk fibers and how hard it was to pull them apart to try to mix in the fuzz.

Here is the silk and fuzz fibers that I tried to mix together. The little brown spots are the fuzz alone. Again the cloth is called zenmai.

This close up of the zenmai cloth doesn’t quite do it justice but is is close. You can see the tiny bits of the fiber mixed with the silk. The warp is plain white thread. Silk?

3 thoughts on “Japan 2018 Shibori Symposium – Post 17

  1. How inventive the Japanese are – who would have thought of weaving fiddlehead fuzz!
    Love what you wove. We will have a great visit when I am in California in November.

  2. That is amazing how they can take those fibers and weave them into a cloth. I was trying to learn how they made a denim out of a mix of abaca and was told that Japanese did the financial backing of it and the raw abaca is shipped to Japan. When at the PTRSI in Manila they said they make the fibers shorter which takes away from the strength but allows it to become able to be woven like cloth.

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