Kurume traditional resist-dyed textiles Kurume gasuri
An indigo textile invented by a little girl from Kurume
that gets finer with every wash
What is Kurume traditional resist-dyed textiles ?
Kurume traditional resist-dyed textiles (Kurume gasuri in Japanese) refer to woven cloth produced in and around the city of Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture. Superior breathability assures to remain cool in the summer, and excellent heat-retaining properties provide warmth in the winter. The cotton cloth delivers more and more comfortable fit and a better texture as it is used. These textiles have an excellent durability which also makes them perfect for daily wear. Characterized by their delicate splashed pattern, this hand-woven cloth brings warmth to you.
Advances in design techniques contributed to technique development in the design patterns, such as ogara kasuri (large patterns), kogara kasuri (small patterns) and egara kasuri (figure patterns). Renowned as one of the three most famous traditional resist-dyed textiles along with Bingo gasuri and Iyo gasuri, naive indigo-blue Kurume gasuri with delicate patterns is very pleasant to look at. The cotton resist-dyed kasuri fabric gains its beauty as washed and will be beloved for ages.
This textile was yielded by the pursuit of a 12 year old girl named Den INOUE living in the city of Kurume. Repeated washing of an indigo-dyed kimono decolorizes, causing white faded dots in the fabric. Kurume traditional resist-dyed textiles stemmed from Den's idea of detangling the threads to examine faded dots and dyeing new threads the same way as the detangled threads. Her fabric was called kasuri and was welcomed in the market.
Technique development such as adding pictorial patterns led to gradual increase in production and the number of her followers. In 1827, she had over 1,000 followers, 400 of which were sprinkled across the country, promulgating Kurume traditional resist-dyed textiles nationwide and allowing this industry to be established as a dominant place.
Kimono fabrics were worn in kimono among the common people, but the production started taking a downturn with the advent of clothes. Some say the time of Kasuri fabrics has passed, but there is an effort to reinvigorate the kasuri textile industry encouraging some artisans to make clothes out of kasuri fabric.
General Production Process
- 1. Design patterns
Designing patterns is the first process. It involves visualizing a complete pattern.
- 2. Sizing
We make a format of the proportion of warps to wefts and write down a size and the number of reed dents according to the design.
- 3. Measuring This step consists in marking a width on a 5- or 6-mm bamboo stick for binding warp threads.
- 4. Draft drawing This step is about redrawing a design based on the draft allowing for shrinkage of weft threads.
- 5. Marking with thread Patterned threads are used as a mark for binding weft threads.
- 6. Warping This is a process to calculate the number of warps according to the design and spool the threads.
- 7. Arranging weft sets The artisan aligns the wefts for a set of 20.
- 8. Refinement The threads are boiled to give strength and remove impurities.
- 9. Bleaching The threads are bleached with a solution made from a supernatant liquid of bleaching powder mixed with sodium bicarbonate.
- 10. Sizing Sizing is a significant process of applying diluted starch paste to the threads to keep them together.
- 11. Binding the warps
This process consists in binding the warps around the bamboo stick while stretching evenly. The wefts are bound according to the marks on the format from the second process.
- 12. Fermenting
It is processed with a high quality indigo dye for 7 to 10 days long.
- 13. Indigo dyeing
An indigo dye vat is used for the indigo dyeing process.
Dyes are prepared by their concentration and the dyeing begins from low concentrated dye and then moves to higher concentrations.
Dyed threads are thoroughly beaten after.
- 14. Washing This step allows to rinse off any contamination from the threads.
- 15. Detangling
The washed threads are quickly detangled before they get dried.
- 16. Washing and bleaching The detangled threads are immersed in water.
- 17. Sizing and drying A diluted starch paste is applied to the threads to keep them together and the threads are then sent to dry.
- 18. Pattern alignment This process involves tying the dyed threads in a bundle by their patterns.
- 19. Sizing and drying
Diluted starch paste is reapplied to the threads and they are dried.
Proper sizing and drying can make the weaving easier.
- 20. Setting the threads
Two of each warp and ground threads are drawn through a reed dent.
- 21. Warps reeling Reeling the warps into a winding box.
- 22. Huddling A pair of threads is taken off from the reed dent. The threads are separated in a single thread and put through a huddle.
- 23. Setting on the weaving machine The threads are set on a hand weaving machine.
- 24. Mark removal Thread markings are removed and the dyed threads are stretched by a bundle of 20.
- 25. Wounding The dyed thread bundle is reeled onto a weft cassette.
- 26. Reeling on a bamboo tube The dyed thread bundle is reeled onto a bamboo tube.
- 27. Hand weaving
This process of hand weaving requires high skills.
The machine used is a shuttle weaving machine.
- 28. Drying After completing the hand weaving, the cloth is sent through desizing and then dried in the shadow.
- 29. Fixing to size The width of the cloth is fixed to the required sizes.
- 30. Inspection Lastly, an inspection is run by the Kurume traditional resist-dyed textile Cooperative Association.
Where to Buy & More Information
Takumi Art & Craft Gallery
Closed2nd and 4th Monday of the month
Business Hours10am to 7pm
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