about kurume kasuri

Dyeing and Weaving Kurume-kasuri

Dyeing and Weaving Kurume-kasuriDyeing and Weaving Kurume-kasuriDyeing and Weaving Kurume-kasuriDyeing and Weaving Kurume-kasuri

At the beginning of Kurume-kasuri, it was popular to dye threads indigo by hand.
Recently, however, it has been familiar to dye threads chemically and interweave them with machines.

The structure of Kurume-kasuri is simple: dark blue and while, elaborate designs and curves. The fabric is woven to be flexible.
These are charm points of a fabric woven by hand with threads dyed indigo.
As we wash it, the blown ink is being removed of the fabric and the color of indigo gets vividly, which increases the beauty of the color more and more.
So, we can enjoy the fabric of Kurume-kasuri for a long time.

On the other hand, fabrics woven out of threads dyed chemically can sustain the color well.
There are numberless kinds of coloring depending upon a mixture, thus we can make a Kurume-kasuri textile according with trends or seasons of apparel.
Machines have enabled to produce a lot of fabrics efficiently, which has supported Kurume-kasuri to develop as an industry.

“Teori” (interweaving by hand) and indigo coloring – preserve a tradition and convey it to the next generation.
“Douryokuori” (interweaving by machine) and chemical coloring – weave quickly a seasonal pattern as a contemporary fabric.
Each charm point gives vitality to Kurume-kasuri.

About Weaving

”Teori” (Weaving by hand)

There are two kinds of looms to weave fabrics by hand: “Nagehibata” and “Ashibumishokki.”
Nagehibata is a traditional way to weave; an operator steps a pedal so that the loom moves to make a space among vertical threads. Then, we pass a shuttle from left to right, or right to left, to weave the vertical and horizontal threads into a fabric. After a horizontal thread goes through vertical threads, we make a design according with a pattern of Kurume-kasuri by treating the threads minutely and pulling “Osa” (a bar to move threads, a part of a loom) toward an operator.
We can weave a fabric by repeating this procedure.
“Ashibumishokki” moves the whole body of the loom by tramping on a pedal and passes “Hi” (a shuttle made of wood to interweave threads).
A design changes depending on stepping. Also, a technique and inspiration of an operator improved by experience makes fabrics elaborate and flexible.

”Teori” (Weaving by hand)Nagehibata: a traditional loom. It weaves a fabric by moving hands and stepping a pedal rhythmically.
”Teori” (Weaving by hand)We can’t weave such an elaborate fabric like this by machine.
”Kikaiori” (Interweaving by machine)

Power machinery weaves a lot of fabrics so fast – this is Kikaiori.
The texture of fabrics is priority to anything, so we don’t use a shuttle-less machine which interweaves the threads quickly with air or liquid, but use a shuttle with a machine; we interweave horizontal threads with a shuttle in Kikaiori as we do by hand.
In this way, selvedge appears at the edges of a fabric when it is woven. Therefore, we can check the design of a fabric well and interweave threads loosely in order to make the fabric with the atmosphere of cotton.
Different from Teori required one operator for each machine, in Kikaiori, operators are busy to check threads and designs, and run around the machines.

”Kikaiori” (Interweaving by machine)One operator checks four machines. She/he never fails to see any errors of the design or mess of threads.
”Kikaiori” (Interweaving by machine)It was in 1934 when the loom machine was introduced to Chikugo district.

In Order to Dye Threads

Indigo Coloring

Indigo is a color made from plants in the ancient time.
Dried and mixed with water, leaves of indigo are fermented for about three months. It becomes a material of a color called “Sukumo.”
Sukumo doesn’t melt in water, so we have to make it aqueous. The procedure to make Sukumo aqueous is called “Aidate,” in which we ferment Sukumo fully for about three months in a big pot called “Aigame,” containing Sukumo, ashes of shells, Aku (water mixed with ashes of woods), Japanese sake and starch syrup.
Aigame is buried in the ground so as to keep the temperature of the pot invariably.
While fermented, it must be shuffled once a day. Additionally, we have to check the bubble appearing on the surface and the color of it. Tasting the liquid, we also observe how much the ferment proceeds.

Indigo ColoringGood indigo bubbles are firm.
Indigo ColoringDipped in the indigo slowly, the threads is pulled up and squeezed tightly.
Indigo ColoringThe threads are crushed in the hollow on the floor between pots in order to contain air among the threads.
Indigo ColoringThe threads are crushed in the hollow on the floor between pots in order to contain air among the threads.

The threads are absorbed in indigo liquid twenty or thirty times, which makes the threads dark blue completely.

The fermented liquid is available for dyeing.
At the place to dye threads, there are four pots containing indigo. We dip and dye threads in the densest liquid first, in the second one next.
Dipping threads slowly and squeezing them moderately contributes threads to color blue in the air, which accelerates the indigo in oxidation.
Later, the threads are crushed on the hollow between pots and absorbed in the indigo deeply, which makes threads swell and escalates the oxidation so that the color of threads gets better and better.

Chemical Coloring

Chemical coloring was imported to Japan in Meiji-era for the first time.
It was the time when people began to wear the western clothes and change their lifestyle as a modern one, so the required design of Kurume-kasuri has changed depending upon the time and era.
The representative kinds of coloring are the naphthol dye and the reactive dye.
Instead of the naphthol which was major for a long time, nowadays the reactive dye has gotten popular.
The reactive dye absorbs the color and sustains it well.
The color of the threads looks vividly, and we can dye a lot of threads efficiently in this way.
Chemical coloring enables us to make a new type of Kurume-kasuri adapting to nowadays.

Chemical ColoringThe reactive coloring: a lot of threads dyed at once and colored well.
Chemical ColoringVivid color variation: a pop kind of Kurume-kasuri.
”Sashiiro” (Insert another color into threads)

Traditionally, Kurume-kasuri composed of a gradation of dark blue and white.
It is said about 1960 when people added another color to Kurume-kasuri.
This procedure is called “Sachiiro,” which is dyed by the technique called “Surikomi.”
In Surikomi, we spread twined and dyed threads on the desk, and insert another color into them with scrubbing the color by hand, following coloration.
This is a complicating task which requires a professional to dye one by one.

”Sashiiro” (Insert another color into threads)With a stick wrapped by a cloth and colored well, we catch a thread and insert it into another color.
”Sashiiro” (Insert another color into threads)Red, yellow and blue blotting in the dark Kurume-kasuri.
Dassshoku-Senshoku (dyeing all over first, and removing the color partly later)

The common kasuri is partly white, but the basic is black.
This is because twining threads makes a pattern, and dyeing other parts except for the pattern is a common for kasuri.
In the case when colored threads are used the twined part also will be colored; however, the part that is not protected from dye will be darker than the pattern.

Dasshoku-Senshoku inverts the color.
First, we dye threads over all. Later, we twine them following a pattern and remove the color of threads with a decolorant.
Then, we can make kasuri-threads basically white, but partly coloring.
A kasuri woven with the threads made in this procedure is called “Dasshoku-kasuri;” the kasuri is specific for the fabric which has a clear design with a third dimension.

Dasshoku-Senshoku inverts the color.Dips the dyed threads into a decolorant and removes the color of the threads except for the twined parts.
Dasshoku-Senshoku inverts the color.Dasshoku-kasuri: the pattern of crosses made by removing the color of threads except for the parts of crosses.