Tuesday, February 1, 2011


One of the most difficult things about owning KimoYes is parting with fabrics that I absolutely love. I hate uploading beautiful meisen silks and kasuri cottons, but I know that these fabrics will be truly appreciated and used by their new owners. 

I have, however,  allowed myself a small but growing collection of  Japanese textiles. I come across many intriguing pieces and am often fascinated by the complexity of process and design.

One such process is katazome. This is the process of dying a fabric with the use of a resist paste and stencil (katagame).You often see vintage heavy indigo cotton panels with a katagame design. These panels were usually used to make futon covers and when sewn together could simulate the more expensive Japanese brocades. You also sometimes see the dying method used on silks and hemp.

Katagames are finely carved and typically the size of an A4 page. They are durable and can be used many times. The art also involves lining up the katagame so that the continuous pattern is seamless. The  example above, however, clearly shows the join!

The second piece from my collection is obviously the work of a more skilled person, although indigo dye runs are present. I think that I prefer the first piece as the imperfection gives you a greater insight into the dying process. I believe that both pieces date back to somewhere between 1920-30.

1 comment:

www.kimonoboy.com said...

If you like old Japanese indigo cotton textiles then you might wish to read about their fascinating history at: