Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sashiko inspiration at Izukougen Art Festival

Last week I had the great privilege to join four ladies from my sashiko class on a day trip to see our sensei's one-woman sashiko show, which was one stop on the Izukougen Art Festival tour. 

Two trains way out into the country, and a taxi (me in the front with the driver, and four petite Japanese ladies squished into the back seat!)... to our destination.  The owner had graciously transformed her seaside country home into a gallery space for the festival. 

Charming teacups, made from yukata fabric and appliqued onto indigo:

In addition items for sale, Yoshiura-sensei displayed some antique and vintage pieces from her collection:

... complemented by wonderful flower arrangements by the homeowner:

This pre-war happi is a beautiful example of how workers' clothing was embellished and reinforced with dense sashiko stitching, which added strength and padding in just the right areas (here you can imagine that the worker carried something heavy attached by a cross-body strap).  I'm not sure but this might be a kakurezashi (sled-hauling waistcoat). 

Beautiful hitomezashi (single-stitch design) pattern: 

And downstairs, wow!  An array of Yoshiura's stunning original sashiko quilts... (I will show details in my next post)

... and many charming items for sale:

I tried to snap as many photos as I could and yet still be in the moment.

The day was so enjoyable in great part because Kazuko-san (in green), whose English is excellent, translated for me, arranged my train tickets, and generally took care of me the whole day.  The others were good sports to have me along!

Sensei, yours truly, and Kazuko

A fresh and beautiful sampler of hitomezashi patterns:

 It is done with single strands of silk thread and the designs are "single stitch" -hitomezashi - just beautiful:

Asanoha (hemp leaf) pattern: 

A beautiful abstract design, where the line moves from fine to thick randomly: 
 I bought this little bag, so cute - I'm sure I'll find a good use for it!

And out on the deck (the ocean is there, but the day was overcast), Yoshiura provided such a lovely picnic style spread of some traditional Japanese foods, including delicious pickles, omelette, and boiled shrimp:

I have to admit that upon closer inspection, the onigiri were a little bit daunting (yep - tiny whole fish, and kelp), but tasty:

Such a nice group of ladies, and so generous to invite me along!

I was so grateful for another chance to see Yoshiura-sensei (standing).  It was a special day, really one of the most memorable days in my time in Japan.  It was fun to be with these ladies, and it was also great to have long stretches of time on the train to get to know Kazuko better.

After bidding farewell to Yoshiura-sensei, our group had some time to visit a nearby antiques sale....

... and then we headed back to the station for the journey home.

Show-and-tell while we waited for the train:

 We are all so inspired by sashiko and by Yoshiura-sensei's work in particular: