When going to Japan last year I were fortunate to visit the two biggest and most famous fleamarkets in Kyoto. One is held at the Toji Tempel on the 21 each month and is known by the locals as Kobo-san. Also on the 25 there is another fleamarket held at the Kita no Tenmangu Shrine known as Tenjin-san. It was at this last fleamarket I was so lucky to find my Saki-ori.
A Saki-ori is a rural clothing made in rags. I was surprised to see that the japanese have used rags to make these very simpel workwear, which I just love. In Sweden they are famous for putting rags into carpets, also known as "trasmattor".
In Kyoto I came across a stunning and beautiful gallery/shop Gallery Kei. Keiko Kawasaki, who is the owner, is collecting textiles made out of bast fibers. The textiles is known as Simple Textiles. In her gallery it is possible to find very exclusive Saki-ori, textiles from the Ainu people, SASHIKO stitch and much more. She has just started a webshop.
The simplicity of this workwear is so amazing. The beautiful shades in the indigo is fantastic. This Saki-ori have become one of my faourites in my own textile collection.

In the end of the fleamarket, I was so tired I almost went back to the hostel. Today I am glad I didn't. Just a couple of stalls left, I saw an old man having several old textiles. There my Saki-ori was hanging. Eventhough my Saki-ori is very simple comparing to what Gallery Kei have, I am so happy I found it. It was just hanging there waiting for me.
Today it is hanging in my bedroom with a big textiles, also in blue shades, from Kutch in India.
The vest is held together in the sides by a very simple SASHIKO stitch. When I saw this technique for the first time, I thought it was the deflected weave technique, but instead on a very plain background, people have been stitching all these beautiful patterns.

I can recommend two books about this, I am sure there are several more.

Riches from Rags. Saki-ori and other recycling traditions in japanese rural clothing. San Francisco Craft & Folk Art Museum.

Kogin and Sashiko Stitch. Kyoto Shoin's Art Library of Japanese Textiles. Vol. 13.



Last year I went to Japan to study a special weaving technique called MOJIRI-ORI.
When I was in Kyoto I came along this very beautiful gallery and shop owned by Kei KAWASAKI called Gallery Kei.
I visit the place three times and the last time she let me take some photos.

Gallery Kei deals with old folk craft and pottery, textiles known as Primitive Textiles. Many of them in a combination of indigo and white. The materials used in these textiles is different kinds of bast fibers, such as linden, elm, banana, ramie and hemp.
View from Gallery Kei's shop and gallery in Kyoto, located at Teramachi street close to Kyoto Gosyo.
Komebukuro bags, also known as rice bags. Made of samples of clothes; woven, printed and stitched.
A beautiful jacket from the Ainu people.
Beautiful examples of the technique called SASHIKO. A textile is woven and stitched afterwards to make these beautiful patterns.
I were so lucky to find a jacket, very simpel at a fleamarket in Kyoto. This one I will later show in another post. Mine is much more simpel than the ones shown here from Gallery Kei. Today it's not so easy to find them anymore.

Detail of SASHIKO.
Sampels of woven textiles in indigo and white. Some in stripes and others in kasuri. Simpel and still so amazing.
In the top of this photo there is samples of printed textiles and in the bottom jackets, made in leather. These I only saw a very few of and only at museum and here at Gallery Kei.
RAGS or Saki-ori.
Workwear for ordinary people.

I was so lucky to find one at a fleamarket. Mine is a vest in indigo and it is hold together in the sides with smal clothes of SASHIKO stitch. Very simple. I will later show it in another post.
Beautiful jackets and coats in different kinds of bast fibers. Simplicity is so beautiful.

If you are interested in these textiles, Gallery Kei have made it possible for people to buy selected items through her webpage.
Sri is an american textile galley, specialised in japanese folk textiles. They have a nice blog too.

Of books I can recommend several. Some I have bought in Japan, all have an english translation.
Shin-Ichiro Yoshida and Dai Williams:
Riches from Rags. Saki-ori & other recycling traditions in japanese rural clothing.
San Francisco Craft & Folk Art Museum.
David Sorgato: BORO.
Kogin and Sashiko Stitch. From the Kyoto Shosoin's Art Library of Japanese Textiles. Vol. 13.
The Clothes of the Ainu People. From the Kyoto Shosoin's Art Library of Japanese Textiles. Vol. 16.