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Ryukyu Heritage Textiles
Hello Scharine- I love your website. It is very exciting to wander through and see what is happening. Margy
I play my husband’s family’s Samisen, I would like some cloth to make a cover for it….(she was a picture bride – 1908, and the instrument is much older than that).
How wonderful that you have such a wonderful Ryukyu treasure in your family. I am honored that you have contacted me regarding some fabric for your family’s samisen. I’ve recently completed some handwoven Ryukyu Kasuri. Some of the threads were hand-dyed in Ryukyu Ai (Ai Zomme). May I send you a photo of the fabric to consider? How much fabric do you require for a cover? This particular piece measures 14.25″ width (kimono width) and is 58″ long. Gratefully, Scharine
Such an interesting blog! I am curious about this statement regarding handspinning: “…Ito Basho threads are hand-tied first, then lightly handspun on a bamboo Basho spinning wheel. The soft twist from the spinning strengthens the thread for weaving.” Do you mean that each of the long fibres is knotted to another before any spinning takes place? I am wondering because I came across a reference from an 1800s source that said that the very long outer coat fibres of Shetland sheep were knotted together, not spun, for the superfine, gossamer ‘wedding ring’ shawls. I have some 9-12 inch Shetland wool I was thinking of trying it–but it seemed ridiculous! Maybe it is not ridiculous after all?
Happy New Year of the golden sheep to you! Yes, indeed, the individual Basho banana fiber threads are hand-tied together prior to handspinning. A single handwoven Bashofu kimono includes about 20,000 hand-tied knots! So, your idea is not ridiculous at all — why knot do it? LOL! My best, Scharine
My mother received one of your beautiful silk neck scarves in indigo. I love the sheer fabric. The size is perfect for a small framed woman. A joy to wear. Do you ship your work to Canada. I would love one. I can send a photo of hers
Hello Alexandra, Thank you for your note. It’s so delightful to hear that your mother received one of my hand-dyed indigo scarves. Yes, I do, indeed, ship my work worldwide. Is it, perhaps, a handwoven mulberry silk scarf? In an effort to be responsive to your interest, it would be helpful to me if you could send me a photo of your mother’s scarf via email to RyukyuHeritageTextiles@gmail.com. Meanwhile, best wishes to you in Canada! My best, Scharine
I am in search of ryukyu ai seeds. Can you tell me where I can purchase some?
Hello Kim, Thank you for contacting me. I apologize for my delayed reply…fyi, my Houston studio (and studio garden) was flooded by the release of floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey last Fall, so I’ve fallen behind in my response. Nevertheless, I wanted to be sure to get back with you regarding your interest in growing Ryukyu Ai (indigo). Unfortunately, I’m not aware of a vendor that sells Ryukyu Ai seeds. I have attempted to gather seeds from my own Ryukyu Ai flowers during numerous growing seasons. However, the seeds are microscopic and quite difficult to manage. In addition, Ryukyu Ai is difficult to grow from seed. Ordinarily, the plants are grown from cuttings. I spent the summer, this year, reviving my 10 year old Ryukyu Ai garden beds from the flood. I’m so pleased to report that my plants not only survived, but are now thriving. I conducted several pigment extraction tests this summer, and they produced at a rate of approximately 10%. Due to numerous requests, I am now selling cuttings. What growing region are you located in? These perennial plants thrive in heat and humidity. If you’re interested let me know, and we can explore the blue*ti*ful possibilities. I’d be happy to send you photos of my plants if you’re interested. Yours in blue, Scharine
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