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I wasn’t expecting any packages this week, so when I got a slip from the post office, indicating a package from Canada, I was genuinely surprised–and a bit confused.
Picking up the package I saw it was from Gallowglass Books in British Columbia. The customs declaration indicated it was a used book of Japanese origin. I have had a couple of books on my wishlist for some time that are from the Japanese publisher Kodansha. When I got home I carefully unwrapped the book–which was wrapped by Gallowglass very well–and my jaw hit the floor.
For some time I have admired the work of Itchiku Kubota. His fantastic work is one of my own inspirations, having first seen it in the book Shibori: The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing Tradition Techniques Innovation, then tracking down a copy of the Smithsonian Magazine article on him and any other source of more information I could find. The book from Gallowglass was Opulence, the Kimonos and Robes of Itchiku Kubota It was in very good condition including the decorative cover wrap. Tammy and I drooled over it for about an hour, just soaking in the pictures, especially the detail shots! There is text, in both Japanese and English, which will be my reading for the next couple of days. The perfect gift! Thank you very much!
Unfortunately Itchiku Kubota recently passed away, but I understand his apprentices re carrying on his work at the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum (no English version available but well worth clicking around blindly!). I hope so, I also hope to one day be able to visit the museum in person.
Sometimes found with the name fundoutsunagi, this is a design that dates at least to the Nara period (645-794), like the shippō design. It has been used in woven textiles such as twills and brocades, along with dyed textiles and sashiko. I have tried this one successfully using ori-nui shibori (stitched resist) and am currently working on a piece of linen to execute it in awase-nui shibori (stitched resist that stitches through two parallel folds of cloth to produce a pocket between them–commonly used to execute a shippō design element).
The design and the name come from the shape of one of the traditional counterweights used on scales in Japan. Fundo literally means “weight” and tsunagi means “link”. I have also seen shippō written as shippō-tsunagi.
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