Gallery of the River!

It’s good to be an open book.

I’m not coy or secretive or shy.  As a result, my friends know my stuff.

Sometimes that really  works to my advantage.

Like when my friend Aimee finds out about a fairly obscure festival called Some No Komidi and invites Big Cutie and me to join her and her daughter for the day!

You know the story of my life in Japan: If there’s a crafting workshop, we will find it!

And so the four of us headed to the Nakai Ochiai neighborhood, which is known as the “City of the Dyed.”  Since the early Showa Period, Nakai has boasted more than 300 small dyeing factories and numerous artisans, specially skilled in the art of hand-painting kimono and noren.  The highlight of the weekend is the “Gallery of the River” where silk panels in the six design styles are stretched across the river like beautiful flags.

See if you can find all six designs in the photos:

Kata-zome: dyeing with hand-cut paper stencils

*Edo-komon: dyed with finely detailed paper stencil

*Bingata: Stencil dyeing, colored by hand {from Okinawa, originally)

*Yuzen: Painted free hand and dyed many colors

*Shibori: Tie-dyed style

*Kusaki: Dyeing with natural colors made from various plants







I’ve painted on silk before and it’s incredible difficult.  The stencil work in particular was amazing, from the minuscule to the bold.  I can’t decide which impressed me more ~ the crispness of print or the boldness of dye!


The noren were on display as a “Gallery of the Road” throughout the area.  Many were simply the artist’s vision, but a few were clearly designed with the venue in mind.

This one, for example, is in front of the local dry cleaning shop!


And these Lucky Cats were in front of a sweets shop.


Our last stop was the special “trial” of shibori cloth held at the local elementary school.  Big Cutie and I each chose to make ours in the most beautiful shade of indigo.  We plan to sew them to some white muslin and make throw pillows this summer.  Now that the dye has dried and set, the color is even more gorgeous and you can really see all the nuances to the “rings.”  Such a fun souvenir!


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2 Responses to Gallery of the River!

  1. amberinjp says:

    You always do the coolest stuff! 😀

  2. george says:

    Wow loving that gallery! Cant wait to see the finished throw cushions!

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