2009 Weave of the week #32: Recycling kimono fabrics

Handmade by Masako from recycled kimono silk

Handmade by Masako from recycled kimono silk

I have been thinking and writing about recycling textiles recently, and this week’s featured weave — the notecard shown above — takes a gentle low-tech approach to recycling fabric that appeals to me.  Masako, the New York artist who designed it, handwove strips of recycled Japanese kimono silk and mounted them on rice paper.

Masako was trained in Japanese dancing at an early age — her mother teaches it — and she grew up wearing kimono and developed a deep appreciation for the fabrics.  Later, her work as a graphic arts designer in Tokyo refined her sensitivity to color, texture, and pattern and the skill with which she handles the delicate silk fabrics.

I have a few of Masako’s one-of-a-kind cards in  my collection and love to look at all of the fascinating individual fabrics, but I chose the card above to highlight because it has strips of remarkably tiny shibori dots,

Masako 2b_det1

and ikat patterns that I’ve never seen before,

Masako 2b_det2

interwoven with quieter strips of jacquard-woven and printed fabrics.

At the same time that I bought the notecards, I also bought a bundle of vintage kimono fabric swatches (shown below ) — similar to the ones that Masako uses.


I had no specific project in mind for these fabrics, but then, when I see an unusual textile, like this one from the bundle,


I’m much more likely to frame it or blog about it,  or just save it and enjoy it, than I am to cut it up.

Masako’s notecards and my fabric bundle came from Old Japan, in Lenox, MA, a shop owned by my friends Amie and Roku. They love and appreciate Japanese textiles, so their shop also stocks bundles of stenciled cotton and indigo ikat cotton kimono fabrics.

Masako’s notecards are not on their website yet, but to find out more about Old Japan’s textile offerings, and to see images, go here.


2 Responses

  1. Eva, Thanks for your comment. Your Japanese cards sound interesting; I’d like to see them sometime.


  2. These are very nice, Fern. Many years ago when I worked at a large Manhattan law firm, one of the lawyers had many Japanese clients and he used to get beautiful Christmas cards from them, and I was allowed to keep as many as I wanted for myself. I still have them and some are decorated with little swatches of Japanese textiles. I can understand why you just want to look at your collection of kimono fabric swatches and not cut them up. Thanks again for an enjoyable post.


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