July 18, 2014
One of my wishes for this year is to learn wisteria cloth making.
I knew about these workshops which are organized by Wisteria Cloth Conservation Association in Kamiseya, Kyoto. I waited for two years and finally, I joined the program for 2014.
The workshop sessions are spread out for seven months, starting in May. We(the new students) and the association members who are in charge, meet once a month in Kamiseya to work together.
For the first session, all the new students are going into the woods to take wisteria vines. And the experienced members accompanied us.
The forest is not always a safe place. There could be chances to encounter bears and poisonous snakes.
( more images on “wisteria” page)
The new class will learn the whole process of wisteria fiber taking, the thread making, and the loom preparation on a old style loom. And we, as a team, will finish weaving a length of wisteria cloth by the end of the program.
Many of you imagine that “Kyoto” is located by the bullet train station. But “Kamiseya, Kyoto” is far from Kyoto station.
I live far from Kyoto to begin with.
However, thanks to the well calculated train system in Japan, I could be on time at the bus stop in Miyatsu, in order to be picked up by one of the association members, to Kamiseya Village. When I remember the workshops, my memories bring not only the learning sessions but also the long distance train rides with class-mates.
We were decided into four groups and went into different parts of the forest.
My group had an easier path. Other groups had to walk through thick bamboos and had a rougher surface to walk on.
The vines which we collected in the picture above were very heavy, but we got greedy and wanted more vines!
We wandered in the forest during the whole afternoon and collected a mountain of wisteria vines.
The next process to take fiber out of those vines, is to peel off the bark. And it is easier when they are still fresh.
The spring day was still too short, we called off the day and covered the vines by a vinyl sheet.
I was happy to come into the lodge and get ready for the dinner.