About Snow Crystals Tenugui
This tenugui was created in tribute to Dr. Nakaya Ukichiro (1900-1962), a Japanese physicist who studied snow and other physical phenomena that occur in cold environments. Dr. Nakaya famously said that “a snow crystal is a letter from the sky,” and spent an entire winter in Mt. Tokachi, Hokkaido, to study and photograph 3000 snow crystals. Dr. Nakaya classified the types of crystal that are seen in nature, including several that were found for the first time. He later succeeded in growing artificial snow crystals in the lab.
You can read more about Dr. Nakaya here
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.