Morsels, Tidbits, Tasty bites! Here is where I’m gathering up recent social media posts – morsels of information about Somé as a genre. You’ll see information about studios you can visit, famous Dye-work artists, events I want you to know about, explanations of Somé-specific vocabulary and tools & lots more! you can visit the original posts and more on Instagram →
✨Senshoku ✨translates simply as Dyeing. The two kanji are Dye + Colour. So it’s more about the act of dyeing colour. Senshoku is not such a big genre in Australia at the moment but I think we can learn a lot from the way it straddles both Craft and Art in Japan. #senshoku #textiledyeing #dyeing #somé #somévocab #染色 P.s test swatches in the background were photographed at Koike Sayaka’s studio in Kyoto, sampled on wool muslin 🎨
Kuriyama Kobo: The day we went we were lucky to see some kimono bolts being readied for dyeing (blue-tinted resist paste), beautifully intricate katagami stencils and got to see the printer and hand dyers at work. (Ask a Japanese speaker to help you book, it’s a lovely excursion)
There’s all kinds of wonderful dye related studios you can visit in Japan, and many can be found in and around Kyoto. Kuriyama Kobo, (established by none other than one Mr Kuriyama in 1952), specialises in stencil-dyeing heavily influenced in style by Okinawa’s bingata technique. The studio is up in the quiet mountainous outer burbs of Kyoto’s north-west and if you’ve got more than three people you can make a booking to have a tour.
Sharing the unique dye-work of Kyoto artist Takeshi Nakajima, see below ↓ #Repost @takeshi.nakajima ・・・ dyeing is like confining a time. That’s the one of reason why I don’t control colors too much. 時が染みていく 染めるたびに感じること。 だから滲みが好き。糊を使って滲みを調整したりもするけど、無理はしない。 ・・・
I want to share with you some Somé Superstars; artists and dyers who have paved the way for the textile dyeing genre today. First up is Miura Kageo, a Japanese dye artist who specialised in rōketsu (wax dyeing), active from the mid 1940’s right into his 90’s, passing away at 99 in 2015. His works often feature whimsical vegetables and fantastic floral compositions. * He was part of the second generation (under rōketsu dyer Ogō Tomosuke) of the so called “creative dyeing” school, when dye-work in Kyoto shifted from the realm of crafts to dyeing-as-art.
Miura Kageo : apparently had little interest in gardening, travel or friends outside of his work, saying “if I’m in the studio, I’m happy”. Miura liked to add a sense of play to his works, like changing the colours of each bamboo shoot in the second image above, “if there’s no element of playfulness in the work, I give up, and it’s tiresome for viewers too…so instead of conventional details, I go for enjoyment and delight, always I want that component in my work” (From 2016 catalogue accompanying exhibition of Miura’s work at Somé Museum in Kyoto)
When brush-dyeing textiles, as opposed to using a dye bath, you’re going to want to keep your fabric taut. Enter the best invention ever! →Shinshi (伸子) These understated bamboo rods might look like a bunch of skewers but look closely and you’ll see each end has a fine needle tip. Using shinshi that are about 10% longer than the width of your fabric, you can snag the pin in each selvedge of your fabric, suspend the fabric from the two ends and you’ve got a nice twangy surface to work upon. Brilliant! P.s Shinshi rule 101 is never, ever hang fabric at eye height! Safety first everyone
head along to The Museum of Kyoto (Bunpaku) to see artworks by Satoko Aoki @tsutsugakiya_toko (one of my wonderful interviewees) 🎨 A dye artist and illustrator, her works are on display upstairs as part of special selection exhibition “Kyoto Art for Tomorrow” and also downstairs in a two-person show with lacquerware artist Shoko Tamara. It’s double the Toko artwork! 🎉 There’s only a little time left to see these shows so check the details below ↓ “Kyoto Art for Tomorrow” The Museum of Kyoto. Sanjo x Takakura St. 3rd Floor. Until Feb 4th (Sun) small entry fee. Daily 10-6pm PLUS! Pair showing with Tamura Shoko Until Feb 18th (sun) Arton Gallery, 1st floor on south face of The Museum of Kyoto Annex Free entry. 10-7:30pm *
From The Unknown Craftsman by Mingei (Arts & Crafts) Movement leader Yanagi Soetsu, who believed passionately in the folk crafts of Japan and lamented both the turn to mass production of objects as well as the over-individualistic artistic approach to making. He idealised the nameless maker but he also conceded there’s a place for a kind of artist-craftsman too.