Entoten is over the moon to be able to introduce a collection of work by renowned Japanese textile designer Yamauchi Takeshi, who has been designing and dyeing textiles for over 60 years in his studio, Atelier Nuiya, in Hamatsu City in Shizuoka.
Yamauchi-san creates work featuring bold designs of his own creativity, and also motifs inspired by traditional patterns and family crests. His colorful ideas are turned into tenugui towels, cushion covers, furoshiki wrapping cloth, and door hanging noren.
Yamauchi-san’s work is known as ‘kata-e-zome’ (pronounced kata-eh-zomeh). You may have heard of the term ‘katazome,’ which means a traditional method of dyeing fabrics by brushing on a resist paste through a stencil.
‘Kata-e-zome’ was coined by the Japanese government to recognize the achievements of Yamauchi-san’s teacher of 6 years, the legendary textile designer Serizawa Keisuke (1895-1984), who was awarded a Living National Treasure title in 1956. Serizawa carried out all of the processes of traditional stencil dyeing himself and created a more pictorial style of textile design, which became known as kata-e-zome, meaning stencil-picture-dyeing.
Yamauchi-san, following in the footsteps of his revered teacher, still carries out all aspects of the production processes by himself. This involves highly labor-intensive work routines that includes creating the stencil, applying resist, and finally dyeing the textile. In a traditional katazome studio, the work is divided between several craftsmen.
Yamauchi-san’s daughter, Yoko-san, said that at this time her father does not take long breaks from his work because, “he worries that his muscles can’t keep up if he rests too much.” Yamauchi-san is 81 years old this year.
Despite his age, Yamauchi-san’s enthusiasm to his craft is limitless. He creates the small tenugui towels with many different designs even though the work involved in creating them is no less than making much larger and expensive pieces. “He wants to make sure that there are pieces of his work available for every budget,” Yoko-san said.
If you are ever in the Hamamatsu area of Shizuoka, I urge you to visit Yamauchi-san’s atelier, which is within walking distance of Hamamatsu Station. In addition, Yamauchi-san’s door hanging noren of red mount Fuji is on display at the Japan House in Los Angeles as part of the Japan 47 Artisans exhibition that runs until January 5, 2020 coordinated by D&Department.
Being in the company of Yamauchi-san’s textiles brings such joy and comfort to me, and a little part of Yamauchi-san’s creative world can be viewed in San Diego throughout November when his noren will be displayed at the Entoten Gallery. I hope that you will make time to come out to the gallery and see his special work in person.