I’m making lots of great progress on this piece, gifted to me for restoration by Nancy from Kyoto Kimono. As predicted, most of my work is sewing. I had to wait for awhile to get the proper weight and color for threads in to get started, but now that they’re here, things are going very well! Couching is not particularly difficult–or at least I don’t find it to be. It is extremely time consuming, though. So
hahaha oh my god fucking kill me progress is slow and steady.
In all seriousness, I am quite enjoying myself.
There aren’t really any complications to speak of. At least not with the task itself, I guess? How shall I say… there’s some challenges with repairing couching to begin with. You’re going to find stretched threads, damaged bits, crunchy ends, and places where too much has been pulled through the fabric. That’s just par for the course. The actual complicated part here is that I keep trying to film this for the sake of making a tutorial. I am not good at that. I keep filming the back of my hands and heavy breathing. Very educational, yes.
On the other hand. I thought I would take pictures of a step by step. They are terrible. Behold:
They are pretty useless. But I will keep working on getting some imagery that makes sense for that. I have a metric fuck ton of couching to do yet, so I don’t have to worry about running out of examples!
Now for some before and after images. You know. To prove that I’m not crazy. Okay, I am pretty crazy. But on this exact scenario, my sanity is better than usual, so I am a reliable narrator. Whatever, here’s some pictures of some shiny gold threads on silk. Eat it up, it’s goddamn delicious.
This part was actually the easiest.
This one is a very small detail and I spent a lot of time cursing at it.
This one was mostly intact to begin with. I thought that I could do a better job with roundness than the original artisan. Then I realized that the Hojyu (treasure ball or flaming pearl) itself isn’t actually perfectly round. So I followed the original path. Hand made things have imperfections sometimes. That doesn’t make them less beautiful.
This part almost killed me. It’s worth noting that the top there on the “after” photo looks off kilter. It’s not. The fabric is sitting on other layers of itself and is a bit wrinkled. The couching is tight enough to follow the flow of the fabric. I took the picture that way to showcase that, but I realize now that when zoomed in like this…well, that context is missing and it looks like an error instead. Oof. Oh well. I’ll get another shot of it when the whole thing is done.
Now for some other
shit interesting things I’ve learned doing research on this uchikake. I’ve named this series in a stupid way! From research done, and other sources asked, I’m reasonably sure that this is Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto, and not a castle. The large pagoda very closely resembles Yasaka no Tou, and the construction of the smaller buildings more closely resembles the shrine buildings there to me than it does any of the castles that I’ve researched.
It’s not precise, but I’m not going to discount it based on exact details. Why? Because show me one goddamn pine tree that looks like that. These things are heavily stylized. If they were photorealistic, it wouldn’t be much of a task to figure it out, now would it? I’m going to keep researching temples to see if I find one that fits better. There are lots so…If you’re reading this and think you know one, let me know!