Tuesday, July 16, 2013


This year we've been opening on the second Sunday of each month when the Kingston Beach Handmade Market is on in the hall next door. I try to have something a bit special on for those days. Last Sunday we celebrated Tanabata - albeit a week late. In many places it is celebrated on the 7th July but the traditional date was the 7th day of the 7th lunar month - so it is often held on the 7th August or other dates.

Very briefly, it is based on the legend of the weaver star Shokujo(Veda) and cowherd star Kengyu (Altai) who meet across the Milky Way for their annual tryst on this day. Shokujo and Kengyu fell in love and Shokujo’s father the celestial king allowed them to marry. But they were so much in love that Shokujo neglected her weaving and Kengyu let his cows stray. The king was angry and forced them to stay on opposite sides of the Milky Way and only allowed them to meet once a year on Tanabata.

Tanabata originated in China as the Qixi festival and was introduced to Japan in 755. It is traditionally a festival for women to wish for improvement in their weaving, sewing and other arts and for men to wish for a good harvest. Tanabata customs vary across Japan but it is usual to write a wish and hang it on the bamboo branch. So we had some bamboo decorated with little paper kimono  and invited our customers to write their wishes and hang them on the bamboo...

And to honour the weaver star I also put on small displays from my collection of some of Japan's weaving traditions. (Though to be honest -  it's a Japanese textile shop so the displays pretty much blended in with everything else! )

Cotton and Ramie Kasuri

Silk Chirimen

Silk Meisen

Nishiki Brocade

Sakiori Rag-weaving

Sunday, July 7, 2013

1930's Hats and Hair

Takashi  recently brought back a couple of old photo albums from the 1930's. I think I'm supposed to be selling them but I always find old family albums fascinating and irresistible. It's very sad that at some time in the life of the family someone has thought they weren't  worth keeping and treasuring.  I love looking at what they were wearing and doing  but there is also a poignancy in knowing that within a few years life in Japan would change so dreadfully. 
What struck me about these particular albums were some wonderful hats and some fairly wild hairdos. The ones that have been dated are from around 1934-35. (Click on any photos to enlarge)

This last one is my favourite - some very cool young men.