November 01, 2020

Bookish. - Issue 21

Bookish by amirisu

Reviewed by Meri

Two books to inspire your textile creativity. I came across both books in the art section of a local book shop one day, and knew they were perfect for this issue. Both will open your eyes to Japan's rich textile traditions.

Shizen-fu: Beautiful Japanese Textiles

Nobuhiro Anma

Published in 2018 by Kirajenne

295 pages. ¥3500 JPY

ISBN: 978-4906913787

After doing a lot of research about Tatsuke pants in the last issue, I was immediately intrigued by this book. It showcases historic textiles and pieces of clothing made with natural fibers in Japan, along with their time consuming production processes. I had no idea such diverse plants were used in textiles, such as tree bark, vines and paper, for over a thousand years. These techniques have been largely abandoned, and the author spent years traveling around the country to collect them. I was especially fascinated by pictures of the most intricately embroidered Kogin jacket I'd ever seen, a few beautiful jackets made by Ainu people (an ethnic group indigenous to Japan, the original inhabitants of Hokkaido island), and a piece of patched up boro. Hand-made textiles are treasured for centuries and never loose their value. I wish I could make something like that one day. Unfortunately the book is entirely in Japanese, but you can find inspiration by simply looking at the photos.

Bookish by amirisu


Indigo: The Color That Changed the World

Catherine Legrand

Published in 2013 by Thames & Hudson

286 pages. $50.00

ISBN: 978-0500516607

Bookish by amirisu

This is a book that introduces indigo dyeing from around the world, from Europe to Asian countries such as China and Japan, to Africa, and the Americas. There are several different kinds of plants used for indigo dyeing around the world, but the basic process is essentially the same. Nevertheless, the diversity of applications is mesmerizing. 

In some parts of China, a piece of indigo batik is then pleated and made into a gorgeous wrap skirt. In a colder region, they use a quilting technique to make beautiful, warm jackets. In south-eastern Asian countries, indigo-dyed fabrics are colorfully embroidered to make traditional costumes. Learning that indigo textiles have been loved and treasured in so many cultures is eye opening. You'll find so many dye techniques and printing patterns to be inspired by. A highly recommended read for any dye artists.

Bookish by amirisu