As I pass through Kanazawa station every day I had seen some beautiful Japanese silk hankercheifs and scarves for sale which I thought would be perfect for my Nanna as a present. I had heard as well that you can try silk painting for yourself somewhere in Kanazawa so I thought I'd give it a go.
So I decided to go along to the Kaga Yuzen Products Display Hall a short walk from the Kenrokuen to see if I could practice the art of 'katazome' (stencil cutting and and painting) on a silk handkerchief.
Admittedly I find turning up at these places with my limited Japanese always a bit daunting but I had practiced my "hankachi o tsukritai onegai shimasu" (I'd like to make a handkerchief please) and it worked a treat!
I was ushered to the basement floor and a lovely little old lady showed me to my paints and explained everything in Japanese. I politely kept saying "wakarimashita" (I understand)but only actually understood about a quarter of what she was saying.
The lovely lady at Kaga Yuzen Products Display Hall
Anyway I set to work mixing my colours which is sooooo hard but the classical music playing in the background calmed me down and made me feel like one of those boho arty types. Didn't last long though. I then realised (after it was too late) that there's an actual knack to painting onto the silk and you have to mix it with this white paste BEFORE applying to the silk to stop it running....as a consequence one of my leaves was a bit messed up.
Next the flowers....
Anyway, heres the end result! I found it a relaxing way to spend a Saturday afternoon instead of my usual running about.
My finished silk hanky
By the way, I should really mention that the ground floor of the Kaga Yuzen Products Display Hall has yuzen kimonos on display. Yuzen is a type of dyed textile unique to Japan and used for kimonos. In the 18th century, Miyazaki Yuzensai, an excellent dye craftsman developed a technique to draw ordinary flowers and trees on textiles. It was revolutionary at the time and yuzen was named after him.
Also worth a mention and something I really want to see is that in the winter season in Kanazawa, you can apparently watch the locals washing out the starch and dye from silk directly in the river, one of the last steps of the whole hand dyeing process.
The Kaga Yuzen Products Display Hall website is http://www.kagayuzen.or.jp/english.html
The kanji sign outside Kaga Yuzen Products Display Hall
The entrance of Kaga Yuzen Products Display Hall
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