Arashi-making in Arimatsu, Japan

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Arashi-making in Arimatsu, Japan

By Tomoko Ferguson

Japan Tour 1 participants have completed their 5-day Arashi workshop with Arashi Shibori artist Kaei Hayakawa. Day two of Japan Tour 2 Arashi workshop. We are learning from Hayakawa-san the distinction between Kahgeh and Arashi. Kahgeh preceded Arashi shibori by about 10 years and it is the idea and practice of wrapping cloth around a pole and dying with areas of resist to create patterns on the cloth. Arashi takes this process one step further. You or others must be able to replicate the pattern created: there is a meticulous method and consistency in Arashi pattern-making. Of course, slight variations are natural and reflect the hand-made nature of Arashi. Hayakawa is the last practicing Arashi artist in Japan who uses this particular method with a rotating pole. The innovations of using a stainless steel pole and mechanized rotation system are Hayakawa’s. His Sukumo Natural Indigo vats produce exquisite blues. 

It was interesting to discover that Hayakawa was a sculptor before becoming an Arashi shibori artist and dyer. His medium was glass, concrete, and aluminum. Many of his sculptures are displayed at Arimatsu Station and throughout the town of Arimatsu.

After working on the Hagoromo (feathered robe) pattern over two days, everyone truly came to appreciate the challenging work of Arashi-making!!