Treasures from John’s Collection: Pigments on Metallic Weaves
Dyeing on silk is luxurious enough, but can you imagine dyeing on pure gold, silver, or platinum? Well, take a look at this…
Fukuro-obi – Natural Pigments over Platinum-Leafed Washi
This is a detail from a fukuro-obi I recently purchased from Ichiroya. Ichiroya.com is an on-line kimono dealer. They are very knowledgeable and have many treasures. They are a great wealth of information and a fantastic resource for image ideas. In addition to all that, they are very nice people!
This is a fairly contemporary piece, most likely from the 1970s (mid-Showa Period). It is in excellent condition. The photo can’t even begin to convey the luster of the platinum nor the subtlety of the colors of the pigments used.

Notice how the powdered seashell (as well as the pigments in the clothing) has been applied to allow the metals to continue to express themselves.

Based on the soft, subtle hand of the silk, I would guess that the dyes have been applied with soy milk. However, a more common adhesive in this type of work would be nikawa (). (Nikawa is the same binder used with the shell medium known as gofun (胡粉) and used on high quality doll faces in Japan.)
I’ve decided to include a sample I dyed, just by way of contrast, using natural pigment on 18k gold laminated to hand-made paper and woven with silk. The process is not quite the same as that used above. The images above were all hand painted, and my sample is a rice-paste resist katazome piece.

This type of dyeing is one of the options I offer my students in the more advanced katazome classes in my studio. The classes being offered this summer are listed on my web site, just click on this sentence to view my Calendar of Events.
Detail Showing Use of Pigments
If you are interested in weaving your own gold or silver fabrics, you may want to take a peek at the gold-leafed papers and gold wrapped threads on my web site. Just click on this gold.
Holy Cow! 18k Gold on Paper with Silk 14" x 12"
Detail of Holy Cow!