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Wish I Had $200 to Drop on a Pair of Sneakers...

Second day back to work. Motivation: struggling, but functional.
Today was a pretty simple day though. In the morning I went to visit the studio (i.e. house) of a traditional kagayuzen artist. Kagayuzen is a dying process for kimono, and Ishikawa is well known for its artistry. Simply put, it's a lot like dying Easter eggs. First you draw the design on paper and then trace it onto the kimono silk with a plant-based, washable ink. Then with a very small piping bag a paste made from rice is traced over the drawing, so that dye is confined to small sections and won't bleed around. Then you use brushes to hand-paint each design and add color gradients for maximum natural effect (which is a goal of kagayuzen--they even depict insect eggs on leaves!). And then you dye the background (protecting the details with some sort of coating) and then wash the paste and blue ink off, leaving a beautiful, and time-consuming wearable piece of art.

This is what he's working on presently. I find the level of detail ridiculous and the effort that goes into each individual petal and leaf is incredible.

This is the wealth of brushes, different dilutions of ink, water, and glue that sit on his work space.

Kitamura-san and I both got to try hand-painting and adding a gradient on one of his practice designs.

The color is darker when it's first painted and soon fades to something much lighter (so you can see where we did our painting--the leaves in the upper middle). Doing the base shade wasn't terribly difficult, but adding the gradient with a separate, angled, TINY brush was much more difficult and ran the risk of just painting the whole leaf blue.

In order to make kagayuzen more available and relatable to younger people--who don't often wear/ can't afford kimonos-- and foreigners, the studio also designs and paints on canvas shoes (usually converse).

They said the painting is actually more difficult than for a kimono because the fabric can't be laid flat--since it's a shoe. It's at minimum $200 for a simple design and they can go up to $500 or $600 for a complex one. So I'm not affording any of these in the near future, but dang if they weren't really cool...


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