大槌刺し子×KUON

"Sashiko Workshop" with "Otsuchi Sashiko"

Hi, this is Shohei.

With the cooperation of our partner, Otsuchi Sashiko, we held a Sashiko workshop at the KUON Flagship Store.

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The event was made possible by Ms. Sasaki and Ms. Kaori of Otsuchi Sashiko from Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture, who came all the way down for the event. And the number of participants was limited to only 6.... It was a luxurious day.

The workshop started with knowing about Otsuchi. After listening to a story about the beginning of Otsuchi Sashiko and its connection with KUON, participants started playing with a needle and thread.

For those who were not able to attend the workshop, we would like to share a little bit about Otsuchi Sashiko, who has a long partnership with KUON.

About Otsuchi-cho

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Otsuchi-cho, located on the coast of Iwate Prefecture, is surrounded by the sea and mountains, and is rich in nature with delicious seafood and mountain products.

The town is truly rich in nature, with many wild animals in town and announcements made when bears appear in town...

Also, since there are few young people and many elderly people in the town, it is like midnight at 7 pm in Otsuchi. When they want hamburgers, they take the train to Mos Burger in the town next to Otsuchi.

They had come to Tokyo the day before the event and were tired from the crowd and were resting at the hotel. (Since they were here for two nights and three days, we hope they had a chance to go sightseeing in Tokyo after the workshop.)

Furthermore, Otsuchi Town is also home to "Horaijima," which was the setting for NHK's puppet show "Hyokkori Hyotanjima. Hyotanjima really existed, didn't it?

KUON's products with manual Sashiko are created in the town of Otsuchi, surrounded by abundant nature.

襤褸ジャケット

-Boro Blazer

About Otsuchi Sashiko

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Otsuchi is one of the towns that was severely damaged by the tsunami that occurred 12 years ago in the Great East Japan Earthquake.

We were shown three photos: before, after, and now.

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To help women living in evacuation shelters to find joy and hope in life through needlework, "Otsuchi Sashiko" began in a shelter just 2 months later of the Tsunami struck.

When I first saw the pictures before and after the earthquake, I felt sad and scared because of the extent of the damage. However, when I saw the pictures of women doing stitching at the shelter, I could see some kind of joy. Sashiko was like a small light in the complete darkness for them. 

We have worked with Otsuchi Sashiko since the start of KUON. For more details, please refer to this article. They have been an indispensable partner for KUON.

Let's move on to the workshop.

The goal is to make a tiny placemat

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-samples made by women at Otsuchi Sashiko

Participants created a placemat in a limited time of about 1.5 hours.

The first step is to choose a fabric for the ground.

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After that, select fabrics to stich down.

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The color of the thread, as well as the trim fabrics, will have a significant impact on how the finished product will look, so everyone is choosing carefully.

We are almost ready to start work with needles and threads in our hands.

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The last part of the preparation is the design. The selected fabrics are stuck to the desired position.

The participants are enjoying themselves, saying things like, "I can't wait to see the finished product!"

Nobody knew how hard manual Sashiko was at this point...

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Finally the Sashiko part has begun.

Those who can thread the needle smoothly, and those who can't. Those who can tie a knot well and those who cannot... Two instructors got busy right from the beginning.

They were stitching in straight line, and tingling at their preferred thread spacing. Even though it is the preferred thread spacing, it is difficult to handle a stitching needle because it is longer and thicker than an ordinary needle.

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Once they had a needle and thread, everyone was absorbed in their own world.

They were so absorbed in their work that they didn't respond me when I spoke to them...I got used to this after experiencing several times.

And here are the finished(?) products.

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Each of them are unique, and I see the warms that manual works provide.

Many of the participants were like, "I'm going to buy a needle and continue", "I'm not making any progress..." or "I will practice so that I can be scouted by Otsuchi Sashiko."

Pictures were sent to me from a participant who really added Sashiko at home.

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This is somewhat insane...

Everyone seemed to be having so much fun that I couldn't stand to join them.

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It was quite time consuming and difficult just to sew one piece of fabric. But it was fun and I really got into it.

Toward the end of the workshop, Ms. Sasaki found a frayed part on a Boro Patchwork Jacket worn by a participant.

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 She repaired it super quick!

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The speed was so fast that all the participants surprised and shouted! It was really fast. Not only fast but also had a comfort rhythm.

I was able to catch a glimpse of the mentality of people who cherished things in the past by watching the repair work being done right in front of my eyes.

 

Ms. Kaori added some stiches on the fabric that I worked.

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Do you see the difference between the navy thread and olive thread? It took about 30 minutes for me to do it with the one in olive...On the other hand, it took less than a minute for Ms. Kaori to do it with the navy thread even chatting around...

 

It's like an amusement.

 

We'll definitely have another workshop in the future!!

 

Lat but not least, they are super busy for producing these...

藤井風

-From an Instagram post of Kaze Fujii (@fujiikaze)

You see the sashiko all over the jacket and the shirt. They were so happy to see Kaze Fujii wearing items that their fabrics has been made by themselves.

Those products will be available in the future. Currently artisans at Otsuchi Sashiko are stitching! We hope you will look forward to it.
 

This workshop made us realize the value of warm handmade work once again.

Thank you very much to everyone who participated and to everyone at Otsuchi Sashiko in spite of the busy schedules to holding the workshop. It was a lot of fun.

For those who were not able to participate this time, we would like to do it again.

Thank you!

 

View Items made with hand-sashiko

 

Otsuchi Sashiko

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