About blooming Fuji tenugui
This tenugui is a play on words of “the story of the old man who made withered trees blossom” known as hanasaka jiji, which sounds like “hanasaka Fuji” or blooming upside-down Fuji. The yuragi, or fluctuation of colors, at the top of mount Fuji is the work of the chusen craftsmen cleverly using the effect to suggest clouds over the beautiful mountain.
This tenugui was designed by Harada Fumiko and hand-dyed by the craftsmen at Iseyasu Chusen Studio, which has been in business for three generations in Tokyo’s Edogawa ward. The Iseyasu craftsmen use the Chusen dyeing method in which a stencil is used to apply a ‘resist’ to each of the approximately two dozen layers of fabric that are folded and stacked on a vacuum table. The dyer then uses glue on the top layer to create barriers to separate different colors of dyes. Finally, the dyes are poured from the top and pulled through the layers using vacuum pressure that creates identical patterns on both sides of the fabrics. The Chusen method drenches the fabric’s fibers in dye, leaving room for the colors to mix and the edges to blur into a very appealing effect. Although mostly a manual process, Chusen uses just the right amount of mechanical assistance to lessen the labor intensity while providing room for the craftsmanship to shine.