I’ve been collecting Japanese textiles most of my life, and some of my earliest pieces are meisen. What seems to attract me is the bold imagery and the vibrant colors found in many of them. Below are a few of my favorites.
I’m fascinated by the manner in which this pattern repeats. It is a unique perspective and was woven as a repeating pattern – the pattern turns up-side-down as it goes over the shoulders to the front of the garment. Highly detailed and exquisitely executed.
The colors in this piece – strong, bold colors in the foreground and soft muted colors in the background – required many screens to achieve the subtle variations.
Above, left, is a dyed silk sample of meisen-gasuri reproducing the famous block print by Hiroshige, Monkey Bridge by Moonlight. To the right is the print itself.
Notice in the detail above, to the above right, the short blue markings. I’ve enlarged them here, to the right for you. These are register marks in the selvage that help the weaver to line up the threads properly and keep the image from blurring beyond recognition.
The text shown here appears within the framed section of the fabric, attached to the gold mat. It states that the fabric is silk, and that the threads were dyed beforehand to be woven as kasuri fabric. Further states that the weaver is a member of the Japan Handweavers Preservation group.
Aoi, by Cheryl Lawrence
And this final piece, one of my all time favorites, was woven by Cheryl Lawrence of Washington State.
Years ago, Michele Wipplinger asked me to teach a class to weavers wishing to do katazome dyeing on warps. Cheryl Lawrence was one of the many talented weavers in that first group. She went on to experiment and make the process her own. The sample to the left is one such piece.