Thursday, 11 March 2010


I visited the Collins Gallery at Strathclyde University recently to see the Sashiko Textiles Exhibition and it is utterly beautiful. If you get the opportunity you should take a look, you won't be disappointed.

Kendo undergarment, 19th century, maker unknown, cotton
© Japan Folk Crafts Museum

Fire fighter’s coat with a matoi image (hikeshi hanten),
1850-1899, cotton © Japan Folk Crafts Museum

Donza, a fisherman’s coat with an asanoha pattern (detail),
cotton © Fukuoka City Museum

Farmer’s coat, 19th century, cotton
© Japan Folk Crafts Museum

"Sashiko is a techinique similar to quilting which evolved throughout Japan in the mid 20th century.

Japanese Sashiko Textiles is the new exhibition to open at Collins Gallery in the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. Originated by York Museums Trust and researched by Michele Walker, this is the first major touring exhibition of Japanese Sashiko Textiles to be mounted in the UK and the Collins Gallery is the sole Scottish venue for this visually stunning and comprehensive collection.

The exhibition focuses on the lives of the makers, working- class women who established this style from a need to re-use and repair work clothes, through items dating from the mid 19th century and includes over 70 garments and images by the renowned Japanese photographer, Iwayima Takeji (1920 – 1989)."

Hari kuyo, Temple Sensõ-ji, Tokyo © Michele Walker, 2005
Hari kuyo (Memoria l service for needles)

"The respect for needlecraft skills is observed in a special annual
ritual of thanksgiving for the services of worn sewing needles
and pins. The event occurs in Buddhist temples throughout
Japan on 8th February. This was New Year’s Day in the old
calendar and a time to rest. Hari kuyo brings to mind the past,
where women’s abilities and temperament were judged by
sewing skills and needles were important tools. The service
combines aspects of Buddhism with the traditional Shinto belief
that both living and inanimate objects have a spirit and soul.
Today, this ceremony is still regarded as special and an occasion
that brings women together. As the worn needles are laid to rest
in special trays of tofu, it is suggested that the user takes time
to console themselves and bury secrets too personal to reveal."

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE sashiko, hope to see this soon! meanwhile check out - she is the UK specialist, you can also buy sashiko supplies at eurojapanlinks Cxx