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Monday, December 6, 2010

Talking Indigo With Shizuko Kuroha

Think indigo--deep, rich indigo. That's what Japanese quilter and quilt teacher Shizuko Kuroha has been doing for more than 30 years.

Shizuko Kuroha, owner of Nuno Space quilt shop and studio in Chiba, Japan, has become an expert on vintage Japanese fabrics, especially indigos that came into use in the 1600s during a time in Japanese history known as the Edo Period. Originally used for clothing worn by the lower classes who were not to wear the bright colors of the rich, indigo fabric gained popularity across Japanese society by the mid-1800s. Much of Ms. Kuroha's stash of indigo comes from a lifetime of searching at flea markets.

With the amount of vintage indigo fabric limited, Shizuko Kuroha has recently designed this indigo reproduction fabric as part of her efforts to teach her country's culture and history through fabric. While the colors of the vintage indigo can be fairly well duplicated, the textures of the cloth cannot. She is developing ways of combining vintage and new indigo fabrics and helping her students find ways to use vintage cloth without cutting it up.

In addition to the indigo reproduction cloth, Shizuko Kuroha has also designed fabric based on vintage designs once used for men's undergarments. The bolt seen here is a reproduction of the swatch of vintage cloth laid on top of it.

Check out the three colorways for this design.

After spending the morning with Shizuko Kuroha and enjoying yet another great lunch of sushi, I hopped a train back to Yoko Seito's The Quilt Party shop. (Check out my last blog post for more on Ms. Seito.) I just had to get a closer look at the wonderful taupe fabrics that are part of her Centenary Collection, produced by Lecien, a Japanese fabric company. I fell in love with her designs in the blue-gray range. There are also great browns, greens, and reds. Her fabric is available online. Check out The collection includes printed and yarn-dyed fabrics.

While at The Quilt Party, I just had to pick up a few additional yarn-dye fabrics. Remembering what I've learned this week about creating texture and dimension with these fabrics, I decided to get small cuts ranging from fabrics that are almost smooth to those with a lots of texture. Working with these will be a whole new ballgame for me. For now, it's a enough just to drool over them.

Remember my picture of a portion of this lovely painted service-hole cover? (Check out my last blog post.) Well a friend helped me move the construction barricade just enough to get a photo of the full cover. Still loving it.

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