Thursday, 5 May 2011
I'll let Saho describe them for you in her own words:
About a year ago, I was fascinated by the little jewel-like rings, which are actually thimbles and a local traditional needlework specific to the Kaga area in the Ishikawa Prefecture. They are made by wrapping a bit of bias tape around rolled paper (old postcards are good), and by whipstitching silk sewing thread all around it, in various directions, spacing and colours to make shapes and patterns. The traditional art of the Kaga thimbles was rediscovered by Mrs. Yukiko Ohnishi, whose grandmother had learned it in real life and handed down the heritage to her granddaughter. Mrs Ohnishi has created a book on the subject and you can see the book by clicking here, and see more of her work by clicking here. Saho continues: You may not have heard of Kaga Yuzen, they are beautiful, very brightly coloured silk kimonos, hand-dyed, painted in and rinsed out in the rivers. The thimbles were originally crafted by the seamstresses of Kaga Yuzen. They wrapped a bit of cloth around a ring-shaped core, so as not to harm the delicate silks, and also stitched thread around it so the needle would not slip. The seamstresses would save the bits of silk threads left over from their sewing, and made thimbles on New Year's Day. Unlike Western thimbles, Japanese thimbles were worn on the middle finger. There are not many antique thimbles remaining, as these were utility goods and thrown away as they wore out; but some survive to this day. In some homes they are put out for decoration on Girl's Day, so that the girls might become good seamstresses. Mrs Ohnishi's grandmother developed hundreds of different patterns for thimbles, which she made, and were publicized by her grandaughter. Mrs Ohnishi and her thimbles have appeared on TV and in crafting magazines. Lessons are held in major cities in Japan. It is very likely that the tradtion of hand-crafted thimbles exists in all areas of Japan. I myself have heard from my aunt that my grandmother used a hand-made thimble, wrapped in a bit of silk when sewing kimonos. Each thimble takes about 4-6 hours to make and are very hard to put down when started!
You can also see more in English about the Kaga thimbles on this blogspot: http://mamercerie.blogspot.com/2009/02/thimble-base-this-is-how-i-do.html
It is lovely to hear from Saho again, she has so much knowledge. I really appreciate all you do Saho. Thank you very much for sharing.
Posted by N E E D L E P R I N T at 01:35