A story of Japan in June

Japan last week! A fleeting trip to the south of Japan is all Mary needs to be excited by her finds... and this time a planned meeting with an indigo peddler, the son of a former indigo merchant Mary had come across some years ago. Each time Mary is back in Japan it is working on the next weaves of traditional kasuri patterns, scurrying around villages in the nearby mountains or chasing a recent hint of a contact. “It is quite wonderful that in 12 hours you can be ensconced in another world, eating hot roasted chestnuts in a mountain village, with the sound of tumbling water, shimmering rice paddy fields and the gentle nature of my craftsmen friends.

The peddler was a special point for this trip... it was sheer luck that he was to be in the Kyoto area when Mary was there. His van is large so that he can sleep in it when travelling and fill it with treasures from weavers’ and dyers’ workshops all over the country. Lengths of bold indigo, kasuri off cuts from different studios, woven scarves from the elders of one particular family are packed into cardboard boxes.

“So obviously fresh from the indigo vat, fresh from the loom, you can easily see the cloths as cushions, table mats, jackets and shirts. The patterns are rarely repeated, they will last forever, they are impossible to resist.”

The tradition of indigo peddling dates back many centuries, a time honoured system of distribution to country farming families requiring the strong, useful indigo dyed cloth.

“I so love being part of this tradition and once again I am indebted to the places my life has taken me.”

Do come to the Mingei Store House soon, while stocks last. Boxes of cloths have just arrived and some will certainly be on display before they are made into jackets, shirts and more.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday from 10 - 5.