My exposure to handweaving, particularly bashofu and Ryukyu kasuri weaving, began when i was very, very young.  I was born in Okinawa, Japan where my grandmother was a kimono-maker, bashofu weaver, and natural dye artisan.  My grandfather passed away before i was born, so my grandmother was a single mother.  She also served as the community herbalist, and local shaman.  Hence, all family members contributed to the family means for making a living.

Winding a warp? What better way is there to keep a child busy than to wind a warp around the house…want a little colourful playtime?  Dye old cloth in onion skins, of course (i have to contribute that particular play-time activity to my mother).

i'll wind and wind the indigo blues...

Winding a warp

I didn’t take any of this play activity very seriously during my childhood, but later in life, when i became interested in carrying-on our Ryukyu family tradition, those early learnings and exposure made a difference in my efforts.

Kasuri Warp Threads_w

Ryukyu kasuri warp

After taking a basic introduction to weaving class in the US, i returned to Okinawa again and again (and again) to re-learn what i had been taught before, refine techniques, and to learn new Ryukyu weave structures.  So, that was it.  The experience was magical for, in the process, i experienced moments where it seemed like all those early learnings came back to me like a flowing river meandering from one generation to the next.  I have been weaving ever since.

 

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Ryukyu kasuri double ikat with birds in flight and farmer’s troughs motifs

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