Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cotton Museum

On one of our jaunts out and about, Tetsu and I visited a "Cotton Museum."

As a museum goes, it wasn't much... just some pamphlets and a few photos. I guess cotton had originally been grown in the area. (And supposedly Japanese cotton is different from Western cotton...) An industry developed of spinning the cotton and then dying and weaving it though there are very few people left who do this tedious work.

The museum had a room with quite a few looms set up and there seemed to be ongoing work of people who learn the handcraft and then rent the looms. There was only one lady working on her piece the day Tetsu and I stopped in but I spent a few minutes watching her send her shuttle back and forth and back and forth.

What is it about a loom than conjurs up images of warm back lit houses in the countryside and the smell of wild flowers and natural living? I've always thought I'd like to try my hand a weaving a bit though I've never had an opportunity.

It was very satisfying seeing a couple centimeters result of the weaver's few minutes of time. It must be nice to get up from a loom at the end of a day and say,

"Well, look how much I got done today!"

I suppose that is true of a lot of handwork...

"Look how many blocks I finished."

"Look how many rows I knitted."

... but I've always been charmed by a weaving loom. Maybe someday.

I spent some time watching a lady spin her thread too. She explained that the thread is spun roughly, dyed a number of times and then spun again to the proper thickness. I thought her very Japanese sitting on her floor cushion quietly spinning her thread.

And notice that "spool" she has. This is a traditional Japanese thread and yarn spool and I have a couple myself that Tetsu has bought for me. I couldn't figure out what to do with them though so the two I have sit on my bed stand and sometimes hold decorations.

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