Once a year, my neighbourhood comes to life in an event called ‘Some no Komichi 染の小道’. The Ochiai/Nakai district used to be filled with up to 300 small dyeing factories from Showa period to 1950′s. Today it is still home to some artisans and is a meeting place for people who are interested to learn about Japanese dyeing techniques. This 3-day event usually held during the last weekend of February, celebrates its dyeing heritage with colorful hand-dyed textile and hands-on dyeing workshops. Shopfronts are decorated with hand-dyed ‘Noren’ (Japanese curtains) and colorful dyed kimono cloths are raised over the Myoshoji river where dyed clothes used to be washed. Many visitors come dressed in kimono which makes it feel like you have traveled back in time.
Duration: 27 Feb ~ 1 Mar 2015 (Usually held on the last weekend of February each year)
Closet station: Nakai Station on the Seibu Shinjuku line/ Toei Oedo Line
Event map: http://www.somenokomichi.com/2015map
Official Site (mostly in Japanese): http://www.somenokomichi.com/
Yesterday I had the pleasure of giving a lecture to 160 freshmen at Joshibi University of Art and Design. It’s always nerve-racking speaking in front of an audience of this size, especially in a foreign language! But it’s all worthwhile when students come up to ask questions about the lecture. It really shows the level of interest they have for the subject and the path they are about to pursue. I am so excited for them!
Was greeted with a small poster promoting my lecture at the corridor when I arrived at the university.
Oh, just in case you are wondering, everyone called me ‘rossy’ when I was studying at Joshibi so that’s the name I use whenever I am back!
Takara Gallery & Workroom is a silkscreen studio located in Gugo city in Gifu Prefecture, Japan. They aim to increase interest in traditional Japanese towel known as Tenugui through their hands-on Tenugui silkscreen classes and gallery shop that features Tenugui, Furoshiki and other Japanese textile related products by selected artists. We are honored to have our Tenugui produced by skilled craftsmen at Takara gallery and happy to see our products in their shop!
Gujo city is a popular holiday spot for many Janpanese and also recognised as the birthplace of silkscreening industry in Japan. According to Maho-chan, owner of Takara Gallery, the best time to visit is in Summer when they have the biggest dance festival called Gujo-Odori. If you are planning a trip to Japan, perhaps you can consider dropping by Takara Gallery in Gujo city for a hands-on experience on making your own Tenugui!
Here are some pictures of their workshops.
Here’s a very lovely video by Takara Gallery. Do take some time to watch it!
The sakura season is here again (and leaving oh so quickly!). Above is our pink Mt. Fuji pot out for a photo shoot during this lovely seaon. 9 years ago today I arrived in Tokyo and saw sakura bloom for the first time. To me, the sakura season marks the beginning of something good. I can’t believe that I am embarking on my 10th year in Japan now. Every year is a different experience as I grow older and evolve. Sharing with you some pictures of this year’s lovely sakura season. Have a great weekend everyone ♥
Last Sunday I painted my first Hariko (Japanese papier-mâché) at Bibariko‘s workshop at Nishiogi-Itochi (Tea and Kokeshi) cafe! Above is what I came up with in the one-hour workshop. It’s really a test of your creativity to come up with a smart, cute, quick, hariko-like design when all you can see is just a blank white blob of paper mache.
We were given four different shapes to choose from. I chose the ‘dog with a ball on its head’ hariko. We were shown many variations made by previous workshop participants and they were all very creative. One even managed to convert the ball on top to a human head by painting a face on it.
I was inspired to make something different, and this was what I came up with. A clown like dog with a fancy hat on its head. Ha! Below is a picture of how everyone’s works turned out. Cute!!!
The fruits of our labor.
During this three-day Kyodo Gangu(郷土玩具) Japanese folk art event, the 2nd floor of the cafe showcased works by Yonagadou and Ohm-sha. It was such a pleasure meeting the amazing minds behind both companies. We had such lovely conversations and I learned so much about Japanese folk art from them. Below are some pictures of Yonagado’s space.
Ohm-sha showcased their private Japanese craft collection along with their original miniature wood figurines.
Ohm sha’s cute wooden figurines!
It must be one of the best exhibitions I’ve been too. My love for traditional Japanese folk art & craft just got more serious!
How perfect is the combination of Tea & Kokeshi? As a (huge) fan of Kokeshi, I was super excited when I first found out about 西荻イトチ Nishiogi Itochi Tea & Kokeshi cafe in Nishi-Ogikubo when they opened last year. I’ve walked past several times but it was only yesterday that I finally went in for a cup of tea with lovely Hiki! The space was quiet and peaceful with lots of kokeshi and other handmade Japanese crafts on display. I especially enjoyed the Kokeshi books and magazines collection they had at the back of the cafe. They also conduct Japanese crafts workshops once in a while on the 2nd floor. Looking forward to attending one soon!
The Kokeshi displayed are all for sale at a reasonable price. They are all handmade by craftsmen from different parts of Japan.
Kokeshi Ramune! I have been searching for them for a long time. So glad I finally got hold of one!
Can’t wait to visit again ♥
Address: 2-1-7 Nishi-Ogi kita, Suginami-ku, Tokyo 167-0042
★ 西荻イトチ Official website