This is a notice blog article for the participants of the QuiltCon 2020 Sashiko Workshop in Austin, Texas on 21st and 22nd of February 2020. Since I am not familiar with being part of the big fair like QuiltCon, I may be a bit clumsy in terms of administrative work. I will do my best to meet your expectations before the workshop. I am preparing everything I can to go beyond your expectations in the workshop. I am looking forward to meeting you with the Sashiko friends in the Southern part of the U.S.
*The QuiltCon 2020 Sashiko Workshop (Sashiko Mastery by Atsushi Futatsuya) are all sold out. Please contact QuiltCon if you would like to be on the waiting list. I have no control over the participation list.
A Material Kit for QuiltCon 2020 Sashiko Workshop
All of the participants are required to have the material kit, which Atsushi prepares for the workshop specifically. The kits are in the preparation process in Japan and waiting to be imported to the U.S. toward the end of this year. Please give us a bit more time to complete our preparation. Thank you for your concern & understanding of the situation.
We will make a purchase page for the Material Kit during the holiday. Please expect a notification from me (or QuiltCon Admin) to complete the purchase. I will make sure to complete the preparation before the end of January 2020 and will send you a link to purchase.
I am still developing the workshop-flow with thinking about what is the best way to deliver the basic and core of Sashiko. It would be very helpful if you could let me know what is your expectation in learning Sashiko by filling out the Google Form Below. It is not mandatory at all. It is purely for the purpose of me understanding the participants’ expectation.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me through this website – Contact Atsushi. I will keep updating this blog post toward the event day of Feb. 21st and 22nd.
Items needed on site of Quiltcon 2020
The complete kit will be available on our website for the students on https://upcyclestitches.com/store at the end of December 2020. I will notify you in many ways such as notification from QuiltCon 2020 and our own mailing list.
1 skein of Sashiko thread, 145 meters
1 Sashiko thimble
3 Sashiko needles
Fabrics with the pattern printed on for the workshop with other fabric to make a tote bag
1 Thread bobbin Paper
1 PinCushion Kit
8 Sashiko patterns (PDF) (will be sent after the workshop)
Other Required tools and/or supplies:
Please bring yours to the workshop – we will use Fabric Scissors and Scotch Tape only once in the workshop, but necessary. You may need a threader and/or magnifying glass to thread the needle. I will share the wisdom to make it easy. A set of required tools can be purchased in addition to the complete kit above.
Threader (and/or magnifying glass)
If the participant has beautiful nails, they may want to bring fake fingernails or some types of tape to protect the nail from scratching by the needle. In a process of learning the Sashiko posture, you may scratch the nail a bit.
Preparation for the Sashiko Workshop
This workshop requires NO Previous Sashiko Experience and no preparation for the actual workshop. However, as a preview of the Sashiko Workshop, it may be a good idea to watch some of Atsushi’s Youtube Video to get familiar with what you are getting into.
Recently, I took an action of re-defining Japanese Sashiko by creating the new website (https://www.japanesesashiko.com/) as well as Facebook Group. My goal is to re-define what Sashiko is like for us – the Japanese – by sharing as many images of Japanese Sashiko as possible. The stories (words) are good media to describe the culture, but the images are more powerful to communicate what Sashiko is for the Japanese. It is quite sad that I have to use the word “Japanese Sashiko” since Sashiko (刺し子) is already a Japanese term. However, it is a necessary step to pass down the Sashiko we would like to share.
To be honest, it was more like an impulsive step for me after seeing many forms of interpretation of Sashiko. As much as I am open to the free interpretation of Sashiko (please check the article about “Cultural Appropriation in Sashiko”), it is very important for me to preserve the Japaneseness of Sashiko. Here, let me try my best to explain “why” it is so important for us to share the Japaneseness of Sashiko by re-define Japanese Sashiko. Please understand that it is NOT because of us trying to be the authority on Sashiko.
Japanese Sashiko may be new to you, but…
Sashiko may be new to you, but Sashiko has been a part of us for a long time – a big part of our life.
Sashiko, Upcycle, Slow-Fashion, Repurpose, (Invisible) Mending and Boro may be a series of trendy terms for someone. However, many Japanese practiced Sashiko a long time ago in Japanese history.
It (Sashiko and other hand-stitching for the purpose) isn’t the case that only happened in Japan. The culture of repurposing the fabric happened in many places in the world – especially where the people have didn’t have enough money to purchase the new fabric. We can find Sashiko as a culture because of the many good people who tried to pass it down to the next generation.
I want you to think a bit here.
Sashiko seems to be a new trend in Fashion and crafting. However, do you think the Japanese were proud of what they did as Sashiko? Some practiced Sashiko with good pride, I assume. However, at the same time, some practice Sashiko to mend the Jacket (to be called Boro later) with a sense of shame. Yes, “shame”. Therefore, it is unnatural for me to call Sashiko as the “Art”. As much as I appreciate the admiration from others of what we do as Art, and as much as I would like to lift Sashiko up to the category of Art, I cannot forget the origin of Sashiko – how the Japanese felt about it.
We sometimes only look at one perspective of matter – and then believe that it is everything. It is a form of (unintentional) ignorance that I am scared of the most. Therefore I am here to share.
Many Japanese have (had) spent their life to pass down this beautiful and unique culture. It looks like a form of Art, and many Japanese (have) practice(d) Sashiko as the form of Art. However, as long as I can tell, we all had a sense of “Japaneseness”. It is very difficult to get rid of the Japaneseness if one is born in Japan and then lived in Japan for a long time.
Now, the idea of Sashiko and Boro is spreading in the non-Japanese field with their own interpretation. Again, I welcome the free-interpretation. The culture is supposed to alter its form over time with mixing each other. However, as a Japanese who commit my life into Sashiko, I am determined to advocate the Japanese mindset behind the Sashiko.
There is a lot to learn from the Japanese who lived many hundreds of years ago.
Sashiko as more than a Trend
It is fascinating for me to see Sashiko in the world trend. I was born in a Sashiko family, and have been observing the Sashiko entire my life. This is probably the third time I see Sashiko in the trend. However, back then, we didn’t have Instagram or Facebook – not even the Internet. Therefore, the speed of spreading the trend is fascinating and somewhat scary. It wasn’t this fast (and not this shallow for that matter).
Don’t get me wrong. I am happy to see Sashiko in the trend. At the same time, however, I do not want to simplify Sashiko by the temporary and instantaneous trend. The trend is quite fragile – if the mainstream of trend ends, then the people will forget about Sashiko, which could end up with more waste and disrespect.
I believe Sashiko as a lot to offer to this world. What I thought as “normal” maybe something that the world is in need of. Therefore, I would like to tell Sashiko as a Japanese mindset, not just a trend.
Caring is what we are missing in this society
I feel, in this speed-oriented society, we forget how important “caring for the others” is. I believe, we as human beings can care the others by default. In fact, “caring” is what defines the human being. The Caring – empathy & sharing made us different from the other animals.
However, in this busy society, we prioritize the benefit and individualism. When one’s benefit (money or status) is the first priority, then we try to exclude the others. When we apply this logic to Sashiko, someone who thinks of benefit and status may start excluding others in Sashiko as well. Therefore, I keep saying, “caring” is the key to Sashiko and please respect the Japanese mindset to pass down Sashiko – otherwise, I am okay to see any form of interpretation of Sashiko.
We can care for each other when we are mindful. I believe the human being naturally can do that. However, it is quite difficult to be mindful of our busy day. When we enjoy Sashiko, both hands are occupied with the needle and fabric. We can perceive the visual and audio information such as TV and Radio passively, but we cannot aggressively look for the information when we enjoy Sashiko. We cannot use the smartphone to get more productive or competitive when we practice Sashiko – the only aggressive thing we can do is to ask “Alexa”.
While stitching, we can be more mindful than the other time of the day. I would like to respect the mindfulness we can appreciate by doing Sashiko. Even when we become mindful of stitching, our brain does not get empty. It is important to empty your brain (no-thought) in zen practice, but it is not that natural to be completely “empty” in Sashiko stitching. I think it is perfectly fine to think while stitching – when we think without looking for the information aggressively, we think of someone – family, friends and including oneself. The care doesn’t have to be a form of Love or Joy. It could be a hatred of jealous. What I would like to get rid of is “ignorance”.
Therefore, I keep saying the importance of caring for others.
What I would like to ask you to care Sashiko
Thank you very much for reading the long article this far. I am grateful that you care about the Sashiko we would like to pass down. I have been mentioning on this website, but there are things I would like to ask you to do – if you could care about the Sashiko.
(1) Understand who you are supporting
Because Sashiko became the trend, many “business” joined the market. I can see some companies putting the name of “Sashiko” for marketing purposes. Even with the supplies, there are many dealers now who sell Sashiko supplies. Please be attentive that who you are purchasing from. The purchase directly supports what the seller does. If the money grabber seller is in the market only for the profit, then when the trend is over, they will withdraw everything they offer. It could destroy the circulation of supplies – the money grabber sellers are usually a big company that could offer a better deal in terms of pricing and customer service because of the “scale merit”. In the worse case, they may be selling something “Sashiko” without any relationship (respect) to Sashiko. Please be mindful when you purchase – you are directly choosing who you would like to support.
(2) Keep learning the Sashiko
I have a LOT of stories to share. I share them on Facebook as well as on Instagram. If you would like to support what I do, please consider joining the Patreon as well. It is a platform where I share honest insight about the Sashiko. It is also a good idea to learn the technique. Sashiko is more than stitching – and the posture and movement we share will enable you to enjoy the Sashiko as a process rather than the result.
The deeper we learn the culture and philosophy of Sashiko, the more chance we have to pass down this culture to the next generation instead of a temporary trend. Your continuous learning is the key to Sashiko’s culture
(3) Spread the words – Keep enjoying
Lastly, and most importantly, please share what I am writing here. I get many questions and comments via emails and Social Media. Some of them, unfortunately, is pretty rude. Therefore, I do not follow-up as I used to do. However, there are enough materials to read already on this website and on social media. If you are reading this article this far, you probably know where the specific articles are: if not, I share it on Patreon first.
For those who care for what I do enough in the form of respect, I will share everything I have. I hope you can keep enjoying Sashiko and keep spreading the words.
I am here for you to support your Sashiko journey.
It has been almost 3 years since we have started the Online Store. Thanks to many understanding customers, we have completed hundreds of orders in the last 3 years. However, in this fall (October), a nightmare of all online business managers (I called it Sashiko Store Nightmare) finally happened to me as well…, it is a case of “tracking says ‘delivered’ yet the package is not actually delivered to the customer”, over international shipping. This is a log of how we handle this unfortunate accident.
*We had once (only once!) had a case of a missing package with a tracking record of “delivery” over domestic USPS shipping. It was also a sad and unfortunate experience, but the domestic is simpler because there is only one carrier to file a claim to. The customer was very understanding, and therefore I forgot about how scary the “missing package” can be.
You will get what you order
First of all, we will do everything we can think of to get you what you ordered. Please take a moment to read through our shipping policy, if you haven’t yet.
Although it is true in the article, “please understand that the missing & miss-delivered & stolen package after the package get into the Post Office System is out of our control”, we will not give up even if no carriers can resolve the issue. In the worst-case scenario, if the product is from the supply category (which something we can re-prepare), we will make another package for the 2nd attempt.
It is an unfortunate accident
The missing package with a tracking record of “delivered (completion of the carrier’s service)” is the worst-case scenario for the online shopper. It is the accident, or possibly a crime if the package was stolen.
Therefore, please understand that it is very important to take the proper step to file a claim, keep the records of what is going on, and how we can resolve it “together”. We are very sorry for any inconvenience due to the accident and sorry for the frustration of taking a long time to get a package. However, we as a seller are also a victim in this unfortunate accident.
If we are a big company like Amazon, then resending another package right away may be economically viable. For a big company, issuing a refund may be a much easier option to keep a customer happy. However, we cannot operate our business with the same logic as the other big company. Again, we will do our very best to resolve the issue.
How we concluded | Sashiko Store Nightmare Log
Here is a log of how we handled the unfortunate accident. We cannot expedite the process of Post Office Investigation or actual shipping. Therefore, we did our best to make a reply as soon as possible, even over the weekends. It was an international package from Japan via Japan Post with a help from Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya.
Sep.27th – Order Confirmed
Sep.28th – Package Posted via Japan Post
Oct.6th – Arrival at inward office of exchange (International)
Oct.14 – Final Delivery
Oct. 14 – Message from a customer that package “Not Delivered”.
Oct.14 – Reply from me with directions. Questions to understand the situation better.
Oct.16- File Claimed Local Post Office in Japan. (Although the person told me there is nothing they can do because their service is completed by the Final Delivery. I had asked to bring it to the upper position for the better
Oct.18 – Another update from the customer with confirming no mis-deilvery to the neighbors, no delivery person’s error (he didn’t see the package). Replied with another request to file a claim to the Local Post office for whereabout.
Oct. 22 – Second reply that there is nothing Japan Post can do.
Oct. 22 – The replacement package
Oct. 23 – The package is accepted to the Japan Post
Nov. 8 – Package arrival notification from the Japan Post System
Nov. 11 – Received confirmation from the customer.
It is not easy to deliver a package Internationally
This long process wouldn’t be necessary if this was domestic shipping, which means if the shipping address was within the USA or Japan.
Over the Internet, it became so much easier to purchase an item without visiting a store. On top of that, because of Amazon, we expect the package to be delivered within 2 days or so “no matter what”. However, with a small-sized business like us, it is a big deal to make international shipping. Please understand that international shipping can take a long time – and sometimes, it is risky to order one. We promise to deliver what you order, but we cannot promise “when” to be delivered. There is so many risk factor to guarantee the delivery date – missing package, rerouting the package, customs, and many more.
We are willing to continue the International shipping. However, please be advised that it “can” take a long time to complete the delivery. Please take your time to read our shipping policy.
We do ship Internationally.
Again, regardless of the risks (Sashiko Store Nightmare), we are willing to make a shipment to oversea address. It is our goal to share the Sashiko we practice. In order to achieve the goal, providing the materials and tools we use every day is very necessary. Since our business model doesn’t allow to have the “distributor”, the website is only one way to introduce what we use.
If you are ordering from the non-USA or Non-Japanese shipping address, please understand that there are risks of receiving packages a month or 2 months from the order day.
Alternatively, we offer an option to expedite all of the steps by upgrading the shipping method to “Express”. If your order is a time-sensitive package, please consider investing in the shipping (it will be like $40 more for only shipping). As I promised above, I will make sure & do our best that you will get the package regardless of shipping grade. However, please, please understand that it is outside of our effort, and it will take a long time to resolve it.
*Even the most expensive Express mail can be delayed due to the custom. We cannot control the custom at all, and we all should follow the law of each country.
Footnote of Sashiko Store Nightmare:
After we hear from the customer with receiving the package, we have asked them to revise the “review” on our services (it was on the product review category). Although we have not received the revisal yet, unfortunately, we wanted to inform everyone that Customer Support is very important to us and we will do everything we can think of.
I hope you can enjoy shopping with us without worrying about the shipment. Although we are not Amazon, which guarantees everything regardless of the condition, we will do everything we can think of. If you are in a hurry of receiving the order, please consider upgrading the shipping method as well.