Sunday, 21 February 2016

Hanten Jacket Making

I have been giving the ten-day Japanese Textile live-in workshop for three years now. It works. I'm lucky to have such wonderful people make the effort to fly all the way to Japan and spend time with me and my friends up here in the village in mountains near Tokyo. I sort through the many emails asking to come and study so I can make sure that what I am offering is what the people coming are looking for.

Some people want to make the journey back to Japan and study some more. It took me a few years to get my act together and put a new workshop curriculum together. I ran the course a few times as a practice. Dyeing the cloth, cutting the stencils, making the pigments and then hand sewing the garments. I decided to make these shirushi hanten jackets because they look cool with a pair of jeans on everyone.

I have made a few dozen of them now and am ready to teach.  I've been going back and forth to Noguchi's studio in Hachioji to perfect my soy/pigment ratios for the paint on dyes. I'm ready to go.

I have eight repeater students(...well seven... Teresa is bringing her dude with her.) and we are going to make some really cool jackets together this Golden Week. Hiro is going to stuff them with his Japanese-Brazilian fusion food. I am looking forward to seeing some familiar faces (Jean!!!) and working out the inevitable kinks in the program. (I always try to cram in took much.)

Ilkka from Finland is working hard to finish up his projects before he heads back home in a week. I am going to miss him. (Almost as much as the dogs who love his extra long dog walks.)

He can now hand sew these jackets to perfection. He cut the stencil and made this one for his nephew Carlo who is 7. The letter has two meanings. One is 'strength' and the other is 'CA' Carlo's first initial. The jacket was made from a traditional white Finnish tablecloth.

The lining is handspun/woven Japanese silk dyed with madder.

Here is Noguchi san helping us with the pasting and dying.

We are using crushed soy beans as a binding agent for the pigments.

Takeshima san worked on adding colour to an old stencil she had cut years ago.

This freshly shaven baldey worked on shades of madder pink for flower petals.

Ilkka used an old shibori technique here. He took the time to embroiderer a small motif inside the collar.

I whipped this one up and then realized how cute kid's clothing can be. This is the jacket that seems to have launched a dozen more...and then so on and so on...

When the kinks are out of the program and all my repeater students have had their chance to make jackets I will open this course to others.


  1. i love this idea. calling it in my head: (a) thousand(s of) miles for a coat. sounds just right.

    1. oh, i know soy is an important food, i just can't eat it. it's my only food allergy and i hate it.

  2. So looking forward to being a guinea pig.

  3. Bryann, this is great news. I will put the course on my wish list and maybe one day I could be back in Fujino...a dream!

    1. I promised to meet you in Florence, please don't give up on me.

  4. I love to attend such workshops and these days a workshop on how to dye cotton clothes safely and permanently is going to my nearby venues. I have already visited there once and planning to go again just to improve my skill.

  5. ah, bryan san, so good to see you still offering these workshops. i still long to attend one some day. the idea haunts my dreams. until such time, i always enjoy reading about them and your other adventures, even when i am in full lurking mode and quiet as the proverbial mouse (of which i have yet to meet...every mouse i have ever knowingly encountered was as loud as a bull in a china cabinet).

  6. so nice to read you again! hoho, I would like to do! I would like to come back there and stay some time in this so nice place! all the best

  7. Dear Bryan san, those flowers are gorgeous!!!!!! :-)
    I prepare a document for you, with the last explanation from Michel about dyeing with madder (and others) with a cold receipt and vaporisation ...need more time! much love