Monday, November 29, 2010

Tools of the trade: I

I love tools - tools for making things. Tools for cooking, for knitting, for weaving, and even tools just for admiration as they are so beautiful.
Japan is a great place for tools. Fortunate or not, there is a limit on luggage allowance so there is also a limit on how many different tools I could buy.

A few years ago, I visited  the Inagaki Kiryou manual weaving supplies shop. It was established in 1897, on the outskirts of Kyoto in the Nishijin area. I did not have my camera with me. I told all my weaving friends about this place but I felt that my words can not truly describe it properly nor could they describe how I felt when I was there.

They are traditional tools, beautifully made and functional. The owner has limited English. Between that and my knowledge of Kanjii, a bit of sign language, it was enough for us to communicate and to explain what the different things are used for.
(On their website, they do recommend that you have a translator with you as they are not fluent in English.)
He brought out all the selections. When we have picked a shuttle, he brought out all that he had so we could choose the which one we wanted as they all had individual wood grains and colours. The shuttles were made of oak. We could get bamboo or timber bobbins to use with them. (My swedish cardboard bobbins also fit with some of these shuttles.)

There were a lot of things that looked familiar but also a lot that were ( I think) peculiar to Japanese weaving!?

We saw those ceramic weights that I found in Melbourne, and found out what their use is.

They are added to the swift to slow down the speed!
In the ceiling, there were all these old tools hanging there. They have all acquired that mature timber patina and gave the shop this amazing atmoshpere. There were bobbins, shuttles, old bamboo reeds, etc.

One of the really sad things was that as the tool makers retire, unless there is a new generation to take over, there won't be anymore supplies. This is the case for some of his beautiful timber tapestry beaters.

So if you are in Kyoto and you are a weaver, this should definitely be on your itinerary. However, if you can not get there, they have also developed a good website in English and it is worth a look.


Donatella said...

To me, it looks like you visited Heaven! thank you so much for sharing - it's real eye candy!

Meg in Nelson said...

Inagaki IS the most famous of the old weaving tool makers. Mom has been there, I think, but I've never visited them. (Always, "Next trip" you see.)

I'm flabbergasted at how tiny it is and how truly old-fashioned it looks.

I must get there the next time I go to Japan, I think.

shipbuilding said...

I think I could live there it's so beautiful!

sampling said...

Thanks Meg! I did not realise how famous it is but I loved it! and will definitely go back there again.

neki desu said...

you went to paradise!!i hope it's still there when i go.i'd love to get more shuttles, esp. one of the double ones and hundreds of the tiny silk brocade ones. ohhh