Monday, May 6, 2013

Fascinating yukata fabric factory

The other day,  Julie W took and I visited a remote, humble factory where cotton yukata and tenugui fabric are printed and dyed, and where she knew we could purchase seconds for a song.  She hadn't been here in years and was hoping it was still standing!  It was - but with far less fabric up for grabs - but it was still well worth the drive and a day's outing!

For me, it turned out to be one of those rare glimpses into real Japan - far outside the urban modernity of Tokyo - and one of the most memorable experiences I've had in Japan.  I only wish I spoke enough Japanese to have been able to ask questions!


Making arrangements for us to have a little tour. 

Digging out some of the seconds for us to see. 

We start sifting through the pile of seconds... some good stuff here!

Some of it stained - but no problem - can be cut away at home. 

A brief tour begins... and frankly it was hard to know where to train my eye!  It was very dark and hard to take pictures... 

We watched two gentleman work for a few minutes.  Our guide spoke no English and Julie and I speak such minimal Japanese that the only communication was basically "WOW!" on our part... and polite giggles on our guide's part!
Stencils, painting on the resist. 

And as Julie and I browsed through the fabric, our guide and her helper got back to work: 
In the background you see the giant spinner, where the rinse water is spun out of the fabric.

The printed, dyed, and rinsed fabric is steam pressed on this roller.
We loved some of this fabric but seconds weren't available. 

The pressed fabric is then neatly rolled up.  We each got a roll of this pretty tenugui fabric. 

Finished orders. 

What a great outing!  Thanks Julie!!  

Back home with my haul... dumped right by the washer.  The hot pink was a last minute gift from our guide.  She had so much of it and might just have wanted to get rid of it!  

It took a couple of days to sort and thoroughly wash all the fabric (there was a definite presence of cats at the factory!) using many color-catchers:

I hung it all around the apartment...

And I've started to press and fold it all.

Miss K (daughter #2) is visiting from NYC, and next I'll show you a project we whipped up together using some of these irresistible tenugui fabrics!