Friday, May 30, 2008


hikifuda is a handbill used in the Edo era (1603-1867) to advertise shops and products. It is called a stone block printed handbill which is believed to be printed by a lithographic stone.

Shopkeepers had a large variety of borders to choose from - immensely popular were the 7 Lucky Gods, ancient symbols, auspicious creatures, images that conveyed Japan's new "internationalism", and of course beautiful women - and new variations of these feel-good themes were added every year.

Early hikifuda were executed by the laborious technique of woodblock cutting. This eventually gave way at the close of the century to lithography or combinations of Western techniques .

This hikifuda that comes from a kimono store, features a typical bijin (beautiful woman) who is applying dye on stretched fabric for kimono.

This brush called
jizomebake is used for
brushing large areas of dye quickly without streaks. The technique is called hikizome and is used for blending large areas of color.

A close-up of this
hikifuda shows craftsmen wringing fabric that has been dyed with indigo.

Another hikifuda also features indigo dyeing.

A close-up shows a dyer dipping fabric into indigo that has been stretched on shinshi.

Thank you to www.ichiroya for the images of the hikifuda

Sunday, May 18, 2008


When weaving thread that has been ikat dyed there is much that is unpredictable. It comes from the fact that the threads have been pre-dyed. The warp and weft threads have to meet to form patterns. If they are out of allignment, here are some ways to make sure warp and weft patterns allign properly.

Friday, May 02, 2008


Hashigo is the term for the weaving apparatus, similar to a ladder, that is mounted on a loom. It is responsible for shifting the yarn for kasuri fabric. These photographs were taken at NISHIJIN ORI-KAIKAN in Kyoto, Japan

The history of Nishijin weaving go back some 1,200 years to the founding of Heian-kyo (the old name for Kyoto) the district managed the production of textiles for court nobles, and employed weavers to produce luxury fabrics. Today walking down some of the old streets you can still hear the beat and clack of looms. Kukuri is the name for this particular type of weaving.

The loom with the hashigo. The warp yarn is dyed in different colored stripes then shifted.

Details of the threading through the ladder.