Ruth Anderson – Textiles in Japan
Ruth Anderson has been interested in Japanese textiles, especially tsutsugaki (paste-resist surface design) and kasuri (ikat) textiles for many years, and visited textile collections and museums in Japan several times. She is an Advisor to the Board of the Textile Arts Council, Fine Arts Museums. Previously, as Program Chair, she organized lectures on East Asian and Southeast Asian Art. Now retired, Ruth worked at several museums in the SF Bay Area and at the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver, BC.
Last October Ruth Anderson visited textile artists in the Matsue and Izumo region of Western Honshu, Japan. Izumo was an important center for the production of tsutsugaki (freehand-drawn paste resist surface design) textiles. Today, there is only one tsutsugaki workshop left, and that has been designated a Shimane Prefecture Intangible Cultural Property. The fourth-generation master craftsman, Mr. Nagata, is one of the few remaining traditional tsutsugaki artists in Japan. Ruth spent time with him, observing and photographing the traditional paste-resist and indigo-dyeing processes.
Hirose kasuri, in Matsue, is one of the principal types of kasuri produced in Japan today. Ruth toured the training facility and private studio of the Director of Hirose Gasuri Center, and photographed the unusual method of transferring patterns to the weft, as well as samples of older kasuri weavings. At Susshai-ori workshop, in the countryside of Izumo, she talked with a weaver who cultivates and spins her own brown cotton and who produces wonderful shades of indigo-dyed yarns in her traditional-style dye vats. At the Izumo-ori workshop she met with an 88-year-old weaver who still weaves kimono fabric using a variety of materials including local bast fibers and plant dyes, indigo-dyed and brown cotton. At the Izumo Quilt Museum she met with the artist-director who uses a variety of old kimono fabrics to create wonderful quilts in beautiful installation settings.
Ruth will present an overview of the textiles and techniques she observed, and will show a few textiles brought back from this trip.