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The Japanese Textile Study Tour

15 - 25 April, 2012
In 2011 I visited Japan to explore Japanese textiles and the art of Shibori and indigo dyeing. The beauty of Japanese art and textiles made a huge impression on me. The highlight of my visit was to meet Bryan Whitehead the owner of Japanese Textile Workshops. Bryan, originally from the West Coast of Canada, has been living in Japan for 23 years, growing and processing his own indigo for 18 years, and raising silkworms for 14 years. He runs a small textile school at his traditional Japanese farmhouse that focuses on indigo, natural dyes, shibori, stencil dyeing, thread making from silk cocoons, and weaving on traditional Japanese looms. The house is situated in a mountain village in Fujino just outside of Tokyo. The village is well known for silk farming. Bryans work with traditional Japanese textiles is often documented in the Japanese media. His students come from many parts of Japan.

Tour Costs
My interest in craft has been evolving over many years as I lived, worked and became exposed to the cultures and crafts of various countries, from the Sahara regions of North Africa and the equally fascinating empty quarter of the Arabian Peninsula to the tropical regions of Papua New Guinea and the Pacific. My Thai mother influenced my love of sewing and basket making, while I explored and worked with quilting, embroidery, spinning and natural dyeing. In addition to exhibiting my work in Barcelona, Houston, Abu Dhabi and Melbourne, I have been sharing my interests through regular posts on my blog. My recent interest with traditional Japanese textiles took me to Japan, where I met Bryan. When I met Bryan we discovered that his expertise in Japanese traditional textiles and my own interest in crafts, influenced by extensive travel and an expatriate lifestyle, complement each other well. So Bryan and I have decided to offer a glimpse into the wonderful world of Traditional Japanese Textiles by arranging a study tour available to a small group of no more than 10 persons. There are currently no radiation health concerns associated with the meltdowns at the Fukushima Nuclear Power plants in any of the areas covered by this study tour, including the Japanese Textile Workshops farmhouse where you will be staying.
Tour Package: AUD $ 3,800 Package Includes:

All fees for Japanese Textile Workshops, and all supplies. If you want to dye extras for gifts etc. the cloth and indigo will be available at cost price. All accommodation (first night at Shinjuku Hilton, Tokyo and 10 nights in traditional Japanese style farmhouse - double occupancy) All breakfasts (Hilton buffet breakfast plus healthy Japanese breakfasts) All transportation within Japan Meals: 2 evening meals (welcome and farewell dinners) Museum entrance fees Bilingual (English-Japanese) tour guide service as applicable Personal luggage transfer required (airport to Fujino and return) Cost of Hachioji Indigo workshop fee and all supplies (approx. 2000)

Package Excludes:

International air fares Travel insurance Restaurant meals except the 2 evening meals included above Entrance fee to Onsen, Japanese bath (approx. 600)

2011 Japanese Textile Study Tour

Day One: Sunday April 15th
You arrive at Tokyo Narita International airport. Nat and Bryan will greet you and take you by Narita Express reserved seat train to the Shinjuku Hilton for an overnight stay. We will have our tour orientation and dinner in the Shinjuku district nearby. The men and women bathe separately. Dinner and the optional hot spring are not covered, but neither is expensive. Both are experiences not to be missed.

Day Four: Wednesday April 18th

This will be a full day of unique activities. We will take a day trip from Fujino to visit a working fermentation indigo studio making stencil dyed kimono, a silk textile artists studio, a walk by a cherry tree lined river in full blossom, and perhaps a visit to a sake brewery. We will take a special Japanese packed lunch to have in a Japanese garden. Dinner will be at a traditional old Japanese house serving grilled trout.

Day Two: Monday April 16th

After breakfast, depart Shinjuku Hilton and travel by train to the village of Fujino. The village was chosen as one of 100 most scenic traditional mountain villages in Japan by a leading newspaper in 2010 (1 hour 10min). From the station take a short minibus ride to the Japanese Textile Workshops traditional farmhouse accommodation. Time to refresh and settle into accommodation before having Japanese lunch prepared by local Japanese cooks. Observation during preparation and presentation of lunch is welcome. Activities start after lunch with indigo dyeing several traditional Japanese tenugui towels. Refresh and prepare for dinner a local Japanese grilled chicken restaurant. You cook your own on charcoal with chopsticks.

Day Five: Thursday April 19th

A restful but interesting day at Japanese Textile Workshops. In the morning we look at katazome Japanese stencil cutting and dying. We will cut small stencils on persimmon tannin paper to use later. You will have a chance to weave the thread you indigo dyed on Tuesday on some traditional Japanese kimono looms. You will weave enough to make a small Japanese style bag. The bag also requires a drawstring. These will be braided on kumihimo stands. We will dye with Madder, some silk, and then over dye part of it with indigo to get shades of purple. Lunch will be at the Japanese Textile Workshops farmhouse. Dinner will be a Japanese style BBQ under a canopy of cherry blossoms.

Day Three: Tuesday April 17th

In the morning you will work with indigo at the vats, dyeing shibori cloth and looking at samples, books and prints about the breadth of Japanese shibori. You will also learn to dye skeins of linen thread. For each step of the dyeing process, Bryan will give you all the information you need to ensure that you will have a very clear understanding by the end of the study tour of how indigo works with different kinds of vats, both in Japan and other countries. We will all make and enjoy udon noodles for lunch with local mountain vegetable tempura. Udon noodles are a traditional form of Japanese wheat noodles. After lunch you will dye some small pieces of silk with a yellow dye and over dye it with indigo to get greens. We will look at the Japanese colour ideals and how the Chinese character system names the colours so poetically. Later in the afternoon we will explore the village and have dinner in a local restaurant with an option to try out an onsen, a local hot spring.
2011 Japanese Textile Study Tour

Day Six: Friday April 20th

This is a special day with a trip to Mt. Fuji only one hour away by minibus. Bryan will share his local knowledge as your tour guide. During the day we will visit:

Day Seven: Saturday April 21st

A day trip to Tokyo to visit the famous Japanese Folk Crafts Museum in the morning We will have time in the afternoon to visit shopping areas in Tokyo and flea/antique markets. The museum entrance fee is covered as well as the train to and from Tokyo. We will have lunch and dinner in Tokyo.

lunch at a beer brewery on the slopes of Mt. Fuji dine out, and be home in time to do some weaving or braiding or tie dying before bed

a silk museum a pottery studio a visit to the Mt. Fuji climbers shrine

Day Eight: Sunday April 22nd

In the morning we will practice Stencil dying/katazome at the indigo vats. We will use the stencils we cut on Thursday using a paste made from rice as a resist. You will be able to make a myriad of these stencil prints on cloth and use them as table centres, gifts, coasters, patchwork pieces, and small bag material. In the afternoon we will

2011 Japanese Textile Study Tour

Payment of tour fee and registration details

A deposit of AUD $500 towards the tour package fee is required at the time of registration to reserve your place on the tour. The balance of the tour package fee is due by January 15, 2012. Payment of the tour package fee may be made by instalments up to this date. If the tour is fully booked, you will have the option of being placed on a waiting list. The deposit will be refunded (less a handling fee of AUD $100) if you inform us of your intent to cancel by December 15, 2011. In case of cancellation by the organisers, the fee including the deposit will be refunded in full. The organisers are not responsible for refunding the cost of airfares and travel insurance in case of cancellation. For more information please contact: Nat Palaskas Email: Visit tour blog at: Phone: +61 (3) 9562 1176 Mobile: 0418 660 980

2011 Japanese Textile Study Tour