My goal, through Upcycle Stitches LLC, is to introduce what Sashiko is to the world. In other words, I would share the Sashiko techniques so everyone can enjoy Sashiko stitching and its culture behind it. “Make Sashiko as open-sourced information” is the key phrase I came up with. Not everyone has to be like me or Keiko. I want each craftsman/artist to use the technique and culture I use to expand their possibility in their own project/art. If I could meet a fashion designer who appreciates what I have been sharing through Sashiko, it would be a great return for me. Well, how about my dream? I suppose I should also mention about my Sashiko Dream, and why I am investing so much money and time into Sashiko.
A Sashiko Studio where people can gather
My immediate Sashiko Dream is to have a Sashiko Studio where people can gather for their Sashiko needs. I would host various kinds of Sashiko workshops regularly. People could come and ask questions about their Sashiko project. Good Sashiko materials and supplies such as threads, fabric, and tools would be available for sale after touching the actual samples. Visitors can share their projects and get/give inspiration to/from others. The studio can be a small place, but I would like to update my “virtual studio” in my house to the actual shop on the street.
Days we can fully focus on Sashiko and its operation
Most of the profits from our online stores, workshops, and advertisement on our media are accumulated for the dream above, to have the studio. It is a bit of my personal story, but my full-time job was (still is) to maintain my family. I am a home-maker father. Cleaning, Cooking, and other house chores come first to me in a daily basis. Thanks to my partner who provide the bread to the family, I can continue what I think I should, Sashiko.
Even Keiko, who is a great Sashiko artist, occasionally work part time as a cafe-waitress to get some extra cash for her expenses. It isn’t easy to maintain the life with engaging in “all-hand-made crafts” industry. Regardless of our personal situation, Keiko and I believe that someone would need to pass Sashiko to the next generation, to the future, and I believe that “someone” would be us and our friends in Japan, and all over the world.
One day, we would be able to just focus on Sashiko. Hosting many customers who are interested in Sashiko and provide the appropriate answers and solutions.
That is my, and our Sashiko Dream for coming a few years.
Sashiko as a form of culture
How about a mid-term dream? From now, my personal understanding kicks in a lot. So please read it as my opinion.
Sashiko is now a form of “hobby.” I am not saying the Sashiko artists are creating their products unprofessionally. I am saying it is difficult to make Sashiko as an industry in this society. I do not know a person who lives by doing only Sashiko. In other words, I don’t know anyone who lives without the additional income resources (or other financial support like me).
Although there were small Sashiko industries in some towns in Japan, Sashiko used to be merely a daily chore. In snowy towns surrounded by mountains, women stitched to repair or strengthen the fabric for men over the winter when they didn’t have farming jobs.
Chore, Hobby or Industry. I don’t know what is the right form of Sashiko to be passed down. However, I would like to keep the culture of Sashiko including its history and concepts behinds it.
Culture is something we intend to leave for
Some people say that things or concepts survived for a long time and remained its form is so called culture. Personally, I think culture is something we purposefully try to leave for the society. If everyone on the earth agreed that we no longer need the concept of Sashiko, then, what I am trying to do may be a waste of time. However, by meeting many people who are interested in the concepts of “sustainability, repurpose, and recycle,” Sashiko will remain in the future by receiving a lot of supports from many people. We would like to be the part of the movement, and moreover, we would like to protect what we have.
It is much easier to preserve what we have than researching and discovering what we had.
Being famous is a process to make Sashiko Dream come true, not the goal.
Very nice people who met us and who saw our Sashiko arts tell us that they want Keiko and I be famous. We are very honored to recieve these compliment, and we would like to be famous if there is a chance. However, being famous is neither our goal nor dream. It is a process of acheving the Sashiko Dream I described above.
Places where we Upcycle what we have.
The more I meet people who appreciate the culture of sustainability, the more I feel I would need to learn about not only Sashiko but also the concept itself.
Even limited to Sashiko, I know only the one aspect of Sashiko technique and the history in one small region. Other than Sashiko, the learning materials is unlimited.
One day, I would like to have places where we share the culture, technique, and passion to upcycle what we have.