About –shopping- goldfish tenugui
This tenugui is first in Harada Fumiko’s witty Goldfish Series created in homage to the great ukiyo-e master, Utagawa Kuniyoshi:
“Do you need an umbrella?” asks Bat. The umbrellas imported to Japan from the West were called ‘bat umbrellas’ because their shapes resembled them. The Swallow Jeweler is a reference to the Oscar Wilde story of “The Happy Prince” in which the swallow delivers jewels removed from a statue of the late ‘happy’ Prince to the poor. Lemur, with his naturally black rings around his eyes, sells glasses. Rabbit may have come out of the hat he sells.
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.