This month I’ve been busy preparing for the upcoming 2013 Okinawa Wakamono Taikai Conference to take place in Torrance, CA USA from July 18-22. I will be teaching a Ryukyu Textiles workshop as part of the Taikai Cultural Workshops series.
One technique that I will teach is the process of E-Gata, a type of Bingata dyework surface design. Bingata dyework originated around the 14th century in Okinawa. Ryukyu E-Gata designs are often dyed with Ryukyu Ai, a fermented indigo native to Okinawa.
In order to prepare for our E-Gata and the associated Ai Zomme (indigo dyeing) work at the workshop, I completed some advance preparations including the pre-mixing of the Bingata nori paste…
In addition, I prepared the silk fabrics by scouring them to remove any extra silk sericin that could inhibit a smooth absorption of the indigo dye on the surface of the silk…
Additional preparation included drafting a traditional Ryukyu design on shibugami paper and cutting a stencil. After the stencil was prepared, I carefully placed the Bingata stencil on top of the silk fabrics and applied the nori paste…
After spreading the nori paste so that it completely covered the stencil design, I removed the stencil from the silk fabrics and wa-la! A beautiful Ryukyu design inspired by nature appeared!
I allowed the nori paste to dry for several days. Thereafter, I began to prepare samples for the Taikai workshop participants so that would have a visual learning tool…Bingata E-Gata is a fascinating process, particularly when it involves Ai Zomme.
After dipping the silk fabrics in the Ryukyu Ai several times, the E-Gata teaching samples were ready to rinse. I do think that the Taikai will enjoy making their own Bingata E-Gata!
And, I will enjoy teaching the workshop. I’m so pleased to be working with the Taikai from the U. S., Okinawa, South America and Europe to share and preserve our Uchinanchu cultural heritage Ichi nu ichimadin (from generation to generation) !
2 thoughts on “Bingata and Ai Zomme @Okinawa Wakamono Taikai”
Absolutely exquisite work. I can’t wait to give it a try. Will you reveal your paste recipe?
Hello Kristen, It’s so nice to hear from you. I appreciate your thoughtful comments. Yes, the nori paste recipe includes one part each-rice bran (komon nuka–purchased most recently via Maiwa), mochiko powder and water. Mix together and form small balls (about the size of a tennis ball) and steam in a moist cotton cloth in a steamer for 60 – 90 mins. Balls will appear yellow-brown when they’re ready. Thereafter, mix quickly with surikogi in suribachi adding lime water (1 c. warm water mixed w/1 T. lime powder and allowed to settle–lime purchased most recently at a hardware store) periodically til smooth and easy to spread. The color will be a bit more yellow vs. brown. Incorporate a little glycerine and 1/4 t. salt to the mixture. Salt will draw moisture from the air as you work with the paste, and you may add a little more, as needed, depending on the weather. Glycerine keeps the paste pliant, and sometimes I add more depending on the type of Bingata I’m doing. Kristen, it’s best to use this basic recipe and then make small alterations each time you make the paste, as needed, to get the best consistency that works for you. I can’t wait to see some of your work :o) My best to you, Scharine