Sunday, 27 December 2009

Japanese Sashiko Textile exhibition - York

Today was my first proper run out since the snow and the destination was York Art Gallery to see the Japanese Sashiko Textile exhibition which is on until some time in January. The centre of York wasn't too bad in terms of icy paths and shoppers although some of the side streets had paths as slippery as glass, plus the shoppers started appearing in force by lunch time.

The Gallery was pleasantly quiet and the exhibition was superb. Sashiko is a decorative form of stitching and a very old Japanese craft technique for embroidering decorative patterns and reinforced areas onto workwear garments. On display were beautifully decorated and woven fishermans smocks, firemans coats etc. done in this technique. Symbols were embroidered such as rabbits, leaves, flowers and the like as protective symbols for when the men were out at sea. The garments are generally blue, dyed with indigo which was also thought to repel bad spirits and snakes. Certain areas had their own patterns and styles.

Also on display were wonderful modern textiles by Nuno Corporation who try to incorporate traditional skills into their weaving and textile art.

In the gallery shop they had a few Japanese sewing kits for making your own little Sashiko items and trying the stitching technique. I bought the pin cushion kit you can see in the photo.

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