Something different

On the weekend I went to a talk by Jill Grant of Kimino YES, the sort of fabric store where the goods are had to resist. Apart from discussing some very interesting pieces of fabric that she brought along, Jill also showed us some of her own collection of Japanese textiles and related objects.

A Saga nishiki loom, with paper warp and silk weft

A Saga nishiki loom, with paper warp and silk weft

There was a Saga nishiki loom with its lacquer and gilt paper warp and silk weft. The paper warp is glued to the loom and woven with a highly twisted silk thread. (You can read more about Saga nishiki at Wormspit’s blog here). The loom also had an interesting folded paper heddle used to control the threads when weaving.

A view of the paper heddle

A view of the paper heddle

Here is a closer view of the warp, the lighter section at the bottom is where the silk thread has already been woven through the paper.

Closer view of the painted paper warp

Closer view of the painted paper warp

As you might well understand, this type of delicate work is used mainly for objects such as purses and brooches, that don’t require washing.

It turned out that Jill and I also share an interest in Japanese propaganda clothing – items with motifs such as aeroplanes and warships commonly made and worn during the 1930’s and 1940’s. The example Jill had was an exquisitely woven spun paper (shifu) and silk obi. In this case the paper is white and the thick silk blue, in a pattern of planes and clouds. The double cloth weaving technique means that each side shows the reverse colour to the other.

Paper and silk 'propaganda' obi

Paper and silk ‘propaganda’ obi

The reverse side.

Paper and silk obi, mid-twentieth century

Paper and silk obi, mid-twentieth century

Jill speculated that this was probably worn by the wife or close female relative of a Japanese pilot. I was excited to see such a beautiful piece of work. Thanks Jill.

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