• Shona McCarthy

The Beautiful Arts Made Of Silk

On my last trip to Japan, I got to visit the studio of Kikuo Hirano, and to be taught about traditional Japanese weaving by him. It was a magical day, where he taught me how to use a very large, old loom, as you can see in the photo. However, it is only today that I noticed all those many, many skeins of thread behind me! Amazing! While I was in his studio, Mr Hirano was nice enough to invite me to a special art exhibition he ran.

Those earrings I'm wearing in that photo are made from Nishijin Ori, a style of fabric woven in the Nishijin style of Kyoto. I felt so pretty and glamourous as they dangled and jingled from my ears. They were a wonderful keepsake of my time chatting with these old hands. On the walls of the place were images the artisans had handwoven, looking more beautiful and ornate than any tapestry I'd ever seen before.

In their studio, you can buy many pairs of earrings and other forms of jewelry made with this fabric. Once I was done seeing the exhibition, I decided to go for a little walk in the Kyoto Imperial Palace grounds, one of my favourite places.

As you can see, the earrings are really very special. I recall they were reasonably priced, too. So I strongly recommend seeing the Soushi- Tsuzure-En in Kyoto. Not just for the earrings, but also to learn from their classes and to get a tour of their facility. They really do amazing work and Mr Hirano is very, very nice. By the way, you can buy the kimono I'm wearing in these photos in my online store. I bought it on the same journey, while visiting Higashi Osaka:

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