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A one-off collection of unique textiles for Chanoyu

My "Cloud-gire” collection draws on elements of my research, making and chashitsu-studio space. It also poses questions around how we value textile items in the world of chanoyu, the Japanese Tea Ceremony.  


About the collection

My "Cloud-gire” collection draws on elements of my research, making and chashitsu-studio space. It also poses questions around what we consider value in the world of chanoyu, the Japanese Tea Ceremony. Particularly in relation to the textile arts of chanoyu. Meibutsu-Gire (famous or precious scraps), whilst originally prized and rare textiles, over the last four hundred plus years have become, for the most part, static reproductions of ancient patterns. Named not by the people who made them but by later generations of teaists as part of the collecting and name value culture of Tokugawa Japan. In my research into these textiles I have traced patterns across the world, linking ancient empires, from Mughal India to Safavid Iran and Polish court dress. As well as of course China, from which many Meibutsu-Gire naturally originated. Along the way I have had repeated cause to question if some of the designs, named after famed tea personages, may actually have been influenced by or designed for them. Taking inspiration, ideas and patterns from imported textiles to create something specific to their tea tastes. Nowadays these ancient patterns are reproduced specifically for the chanoyu world. Whilst I do work with these textiles when requested, the majority of my practice focuses on collected fabrics from the interiors and fashion worlds. Hearkening back to the tradition of salvaging the still good portions of court or theatrical robes and temple fabrics and recycling them into the shifuku and other textile dogu (tea wares) used in chanoyu. In conceiving the “Cloud-gire” collection I have used “scraps” (gire) of raw Polish linen left over from the construction of my Chashitsu. Bringing fabric from a chanoyu space into use as textile dogu. When I created my Chashitsu in 2021-2022, my concept was textile based. I wanted to reflect my work as a textile artist and researcher in my tea room. Situated in the loft of my Hampshire (England, UK) home the space combines the wabi aesthetics of raw brickwork with raw Polish linen mixed with tatami and luxurious Italian textiles which feature in the Tokonoma (alcove) and for the Heri (edging) on the tatami. Although as yet un-named, being at the top of the house there is a feeling of being up in the sky, surrounded by textiles. Hence “Cloud-gire”. In our modern world of accessibility, access to the once rare and precious textiles that make up the Meibutsu-Gire cannon is, well, accessible. Whilst costly and a hassle to get hold of, these textiles that would once have been accessible only to the elite. Now they are a couple of clicks or emails away. So what is the rare and precious now? What is the inaccessible, the luxurious and unique? The handworked. The one-off. The artisanal. And so “Cloud-gire” was born. A limited collection of one-off, handworked textiles for chanoyu. On a base of of raw Polish linen “scraps” or “gire” from my Chashitsu I’ve worked cloud patterns in silk and gold. I chose a “mōru” or “tinsel” gold thread, where the gold is wrapped around a silk core in reference to the textiles I researched that transgressed Mughal India, Safavid Iran and the Polish court as well as the Japanese chanoyu world as opposed to the flat paper backed gold threads more traditionally used in Japan and China. Echoing the “mōru” threads themselves I used a whipping stitch where the gold thread itself wraps around the coloured silk stitches. The raw linen questions the traditional use of luxurious, silk based textiles typically used in chanoyu whilst nodding to the wabi aesthetic. The humbleness of the linen is juxtaposed by the silk and gold threads which reference the traditional silken fabrics, frequent plentiful use of gold and the passage of textile designs around the world before landing in the realm of chanoyu. Handworking this humble base fabric with the traditional luxuries of silk and gold elevates it in a time when handmade, artisanal items are becoming ever more a rarity. I hope with this work to highlight the role of the textile artisan in the the world of chanoyu and question what elevates a textile so that it may sit alongside other (signed) artworks in chanoyu. This is a strictly limited collection as there is only so much of the linen left from the chashitsu construction. In addition the the pieces here I have reserved one blank Kobukusa and two blank shifuku size pieces of fabric which are available to be customised with your choice of colours and cloud pattern arrangement. All pieces are visibly signed with my stitched Kao as opposed to my usually discrete signature - marking them out as unique art pieces. Each piece is entirely one-off. I have not named any of these pieces as I feel it is not my place to do so but would encourage their future owners to consider attaching a name to them if they so desire.

Purchasing & payment

Please use the "Contact to buy" button on the respective page of the item you'd like to purchase or contact me via email or messaging service if we have that connection already. Prices are in GBP (£) and payment is by bank transfer. I am able to accept local payments in multiple currancies (EUR, USD, AUD, etc) please mention your preffered currency when contacting me. My preference is to use Wise for payments though other options, including card are possible. I am also able to accept crypto currency payments. Again, please mention this when contacting me. I'm sorry, I am not accepting PayPal payments due to their high processing fees. If PayPal is your only option then there will be an appropriate surcharge to cover fees.

The Collection

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