Some years ago, I got bitten by the Sashiko bug. It was during an international move and my drawing tools were stored in boxes. I had a small sketchbook and a book on Sashiko in my handbag.
Sashiko & Japanese history
Sashiko has an interesting, Japanese history. Shortly put, during Japanese years of isolation resources became scarce and artisans set out to combine fortifying stitching with ancient and traditional patterns. I loved the ancient patterns instantly as much as I like Aboriginal, African and West-European Prehistoric geometric signs. In Japan, these patterns often have lovely poetic names. Like 'Wind Blown in Grasses'.
I often pick up my Sashiko books again just to admire the clever combination of frugality, patterns, and fabric design. What helps too is that I love indigo blue, a much preferred and traditional Sashiko colour.
I designed this postcard ‘Sashiko with Love' with pleasure. A little ode to Japanese textile crafts.
Sashiko is a great creative trend!
Sashiko has spread to Europe and America through sewing communities. At Amazon.jp (Japan) and Etsy you will be able to find saskio towels (white or indigo blue fabrics with pre printed designs). There are special long Sashiko needles that help to use the running stitch for a long stretch.
Real artisant might learn the patterns by starting with pre-printed patterns, but once learned it is more fun to draw the pattern yourself and apply them on re-using fabric, like jeans or old tea towels. Exhibiting sashiko towels in still life settings, for instance a towel neatly made and ironed semi-casually hanging over a Japanese woven basket, is a trend on Instagram.
Paula Kuitenbrouwer, Artwork at Etsy & IG