Opening Traditions is a collaborative project between designers Makiko Shinoda (JP), Emilie Pallard (FR) and Niels Heymans (NL). This project is part of the programme Holland-Kyushu which aims to strengthen and highlight the cultural, economic and creative ties between the Netherlands and Kyushu.
For a period of two years the three investigated the craft of Kurume Kasuri.
Kurume Kasuri is an Ikat weaving technique typical to the Kurume region, in the Fukuoka prefecture of Japan. The technique requires yarn to be tied and dyed before weaving, resulting in lush patterns with a subtle, hazy appearance. The designers worked closely together with the Shimogawa Orimono mill, where the Kasuri technique has been used for three generations to weave the long strips of cotton used in the production of classical kimonos.
With Opening Traditions, the designers shed a new light on this traditional technique. They created a distinctive colour scheme of twelve hues which generate a wide range of tones when woven. This broad palette, inspired by the Japanese landscape, is a significant departure from the usual indigo and white that is used for the traditional fabrics. The design is built up from a smart, shifting pattern that enables a longer repeat, cleverly working with the 24 cm limitation of the warp repeat. The designers intend to use the fabric in the design of their own garments, opening up the Kurume Kasuri technique to a new audience.