Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Uchiwa Fans

Walking the streets of Tokyo or other large city on a humid Japanese summer day you are often presented with  small uchiwa fans advertising local businesses.  Promotional uchiwa are not a new trend. They were a popular advertising medium in  the Taisho period (1912-26) and possibly long before that.  The fans below  probably date from that period. I don't collect fans but I kept the first two because of the textile designs. The third one belongs to my son Hikaru who is a train enthusiast.

This first one is from  Yajima's general store in present day Kofu.  The woman is wearing what appears to be an Arimatsu shibori yukata with a stunning plover design:

On the reverse side the old phone advertises a two digit phone number and tells us that the shop sells such things  as cosmetics,  school requirements, 'zakka'  general goods,  small items for the home, Western goods etc.
The next uchiwa is advertising a kimono/clothing shop.  The woman on the front seems to be holding her own uchiwa with a sun design that reflects the design on the actual uchiwa. The other items are bolts of kimono fabric. They are beautifully presented held together with red thread. I still often get bolts of  old  kimono or lining silk presented like this.
The design on the reverse features paper tags typically used for labelling kimono fabrics and a pair of 'hasami' scissors . I'm not sure what the needle like thing  attached to the hasami is.
This final uchiwa is advertising a food shop with items listed including sweets, oil, 'natto' fermented soy beans, sugar etc.



Wednesday, September 5, 2012

In Store...

I've just put out a few more netsuke, including these three that are still attached. The first is a smooth, flat  gourd design and is attached to a leather lined kinchaku which probably dates from Meiji period. I love this:

This tiger and bamboo netsuke is a little older and is attached to an old tobacco pouch in not very good condition:
The last one is a delicate shiitake design netsuke attached to a small  damaged inro (case for medicine etc) . The inro doesn't really have any value but it's nice to have the little set together.
I've just put out a couple more rolls of silk shibori.  They both date from about the 1960's. I haven't had a lovely roll of allover kanoko shibori in the shop before:
This vibrant pink one is quite lovely:
I have these cotton bundles for sale on my website as well. They're made up of  antique indigo remnants in varying conditions. They're perfect  for  quilters and textile artists with a taste for 'boro' and all things rustic.
I had these lovely old Japanese glass beads in the shop a few years ago and just discovered that I still had some more (it's like that here!)  Based on the original packaging I think they date from mid 20th century.

Customers sometimes ask if I sell fabric with pre-printed sashiko patterns.  We only sell old indigo for traditional sashiko  ( you can of course do sashiko designs on any fabric that your needle and thread go through!) and I have never tried to source new sashiko fabrics pre-printed or plain. I like the character of the old fabrics and they usually have a more open weave which is easy to stitch.  I unpick most of the sashiko fabric from old futon covers and sometimes work jackets and linings ( we usually refer to this fabric as 'uraji' which just means lining).  I wash it, de-fluff it (it often still has old futon wadding stuck to it)  and  because it's  never in perfect condition divide it up into usable pieces (including remnants and patched pieces).  I decided to put patterns on some of the smaller panels. They're ready to stitch  to use as panels in quilts or smaller projects or you can just hem them to use as a table mat. If  they sell I'll keep doing it... it really doesn't take long to transfer a pattern with chalk paper.
It's impossible to put everything we have  in the shop on my website.  If you're ever interested in purchashing something from my 'in store' posts and can't make it into the shop  just give me a call or send me an email.