About slime molds tenugui
Harada-san designed the slime molds tenugui in homage to Minakata Kumagusu (1867-1941), an acclaimed academic of natural science and humanities known in Japan as the “father of the study of Japanese slime molds.” Single-celled slime molds can build networks as complex as the Tokyo subway system! You can also read about the fascinating world of slime molds in Entangled Life: How fungi make our worlds, change our minds & shape our futures- by Merlin Sheldrake. The chusen craftsman expertly mixed and blurred small amounts dyes to express the world of slime molds to great effect.
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.