How exciting is this. Cotton plants welcoming visitors to a cotton Kasuri weaving studio. This studio is in Okayama prefecture which seemed to reveal more cultural and textile riches as we journeyed into it.
Reaching it after a short walk through the narrow streets of the town we come to a place which signals ‘textile’ with the cotton plants. This small studio was abuzz with inspiration and the obvious heartfelt devotion and enthusiasm of the lead weaver Mrs Hinagawa. With the support and encouragement of their local area government, this craft centre also teaches the area’s revived Kasuri weaving. The mission of the group is to continue the revival of this type of Kasuri cotton weaving, teaching it and passing it on, creating local specialty products from the workshop and to enhance activity and vibrance in the town.
As we enter there is a manual cotton ginning process shown to us as the basis for the cloth production. The studio is full of looms in action with various styles and levels of complexity of Kasuri in progress. Some of the travellers got to weave on the looms which are also produced in the Perfecture. In this way we encountered much localism and pride in local traditions in Japan. A sense of meaning in retaining skills and processes and support for it. This is something that is difficult in Australia and although there are pockets of it, such as in Tasmania and some industries, it is generally weaker possibly connected to our particular social and political history which values different things. Even so, it is very encouraging to see anywhere and if it’s in my line of interest, even better.
This Sakushu Kasuri workshop was one of the highlights, again, of the textile tour. It’s smallness and total commitment shone through in a humble yet very compelling way.