Thursday, January 14, 2010

Fabric & shopping Kyoto - part 1

On our first day in Kyoto we set out to do a walk from a book which has what might best be called 'temple crawls' in it and I had no intention of going shopping. But, you know how it is...! I will give directions to my finds in case anyone is reading this who has googled 'fabric shopping Kyoto'. I did that to have it suggested that there were no real fabric shops in Kyoto. Oh not true!!

My first find was in fact a button store - this is just one wall of it. It is on the open air part of Taramachi which is a street running from North to East along the eastern side of the Imperial Palace park and continues further south to Shijo-dori where the big departments stores are. If you go from the south-east corner of the Park towards City Hall this shop called La Maison Du Boutons is on your left. They had perfect buttons to go with my Tokyo fabric. There is another haberdashery shop opposite. Just a little further down again on the left is Terra this shop selling paper and calligraphy items. my haul - just two pieces of paper I thought would make good embroidery backgrounds.

Taramachi becomes an indoor mall and about half way down this section on the right is a shop called Nomura Tailor. As you can see it has US quilting cottons, DMC threads and some more local stuff like this hemp string I did not buy because this was during the 'we have no cash' crisis. I might go back now that has been averted!

The above is the Teramachi store. If you go to the end of the covered part of Teramachi and turn right onto Shijo-Dori along there (before you get to Daimaru department store) is another branch of the same shop which is less crafty but has three floors of fabric and haberdashery including Japanese style prints and some kimono fabrics.
Later, after our trip to the Imperial Palace and armed with recently acquired entrance fee cash, we went to Kyoto Shibori Kogei Kan. I didn't know about this until I was desperately scouring the hotel tourist map for currency exchanges. The centre was not marked on the map we bought or in the guide book. This cost Y500 to enter for which you get a 7 min video in Japanese - but any textile person can work out what they are doing!- and a short tour of some examples of shibori and then entrance to the shop. But what examples! I had no idea that shibori could be so intricate. Sadly no photos were allowed but let me just say they had kimono there using a technique which requires 150,000 knots per kimono. Yup. 150,000. Tiny, tiny little ties. Tiny! Nothing like the 'shove it down a pole' or tie it around a marble' shibori I have done. you can do classes but the staff do the tiny ties and leave you to do bigger designs so I didn't bother to reserve and go back.
Of course, I had to contribute to the continuation of this ancient art. For £60 - I chose this bag and purse. It was by no means the most impressive or tempting item on sale but it was right for my souvenir budget!

I have photographed the purse here with a standard sized lipstick to show the scale of the tied knots.

The centre is on Abura-no-koji which is a north-south street -it is on the block south of Oike-dori.
Dennis, as you might expect had his, "I'm not interested personally, but if you want to go some obscure textile place that's fine, I'll come with you...", face on, when the taxi driver got lost taking us there.
"What do you think this says about the choices of all the other tourists who come to Kyoto?" Dennis asked.
"That they didn't choose this taxi driver."
He was quiet after that.


Deborah Boschert said...

Can you say repetitive motion injuries? Egads. Those knots are insane. (Quite lovely, though. Excellent choice on the bag.)

Gerrie said...

Love, love the purse!! I am having a vicarious thrill following you through Japan.