2024 Japan Trip, Day 11 – Two Artists on Our Way Out of Kyoto

We visited the studio of Mr. Shinto, a very famous artist and indigo dyer. His technique we call pole wrapping or Arashi Shibori. Cloth is tightly pleated on a pole then put into the dye. The dye doesn’t get to the inner part of the pleats so the dye gets only to the edges of the pleats. I was very surprised to see the openness of the weave and thinness of the cotton fabric.


His set up for wrapping: cloth is bunched together one a beam and wound on to another beam where the cloth is tightly pleated. The second beam is actually a drum.


He uses these tools to push the cloth into tight pleats. Someone asked if he would sell the tools. They are from Amazon!!


Here is one of his poles filled with the tightly pleated cloth ready to be dipped into a deep dye vat. The vats are under ground to keep the perfect temperature.


We drove onward to the studio of Tamiya Roden where they have developed a way of putting mother of pearl onto paper, then cut it into strips to weave as wefts in high end textiles. In the photos see the shell and the gold strips.


These weft strips have the image of petals in the mother of pearl applied. The gold is gold leaf put onto Japanese paper—a traditional technique in Japan. I saw gold on paper wefts being woven the first time I came to Japan 50 years ago.


Here you can see that each paper weft only goes across the cloth just once. In other words a new strip is used for each weft. Fine regular wefts separate the strip wefts.


Again, one weft per strip. However on many cloths it looks like they figured out how to make a single weft go back and forth continuously.