May 05, 2024 at 05:04PM

This is a Sashiko Furoshiki I had been working on for the last 7 days while skipping most Socials (including IG Posts here). I am enjoying what I am teaching to many. All I teach/sell is something I do with my pride. I have been sharing Sashiko Stories with the sincere belief of the importance of “Actual Stories”. Stories are incredibly important, indeed, but for only those who are willing to listen. Unfortunately, in today’s Sashiko, a majority is not willing to learn it if it makes them uncomfortable or inconvenient. My Sadness should be legitimate, yet silly as I am trying to deliver “it” to those who don’t care to even have.

Please don’t get me wrong. I will NOT stop sharing Sashiko Stories as you here who is reading this is my treasure. I am just saying that I will treat myself better by doing something I enjoy – which happens to be Sashiko.

This much amount of stitches may speak for itself. It isn’t such a big deal to me, but for those who are looking for the “answers”, what I (we) make may be an opportunity to open up. What do you hear from this Furoshiki? What do you read in these stitches? I caught my daughter snuggling in it, and asked her if it is okay to take pictures outside. A “perfect” stitch? Embracing Imperfection? Sashiko is more than those shallow answers.




#Sashiko #刺し子


May 04, 2024 at 10:03AM

Mingei… I am impressed by a translation of Mingei as “Art Without Heroes” by @roisininglesby. It will bridge the Japanese Philosophy standing behind their handicraft to the Western Value of Art. Mingei is indeed the Art without “Specific” Heroes.

However, “Art Without Heroes” doesn’t mean that there were no Heroes. It means that there was no one who considered themselves as Heroes. You may remember your childhood when your parents prepared meals for you every day, without any specific “request”, they took care of you. Your parents can be Heroes for what they do – yet they wouldn’t consider themselves as Heroes because they think it is their Ordinary. It goes the same to our Sashiko. What we do can be qualified as Art – even “Fine Art”, yet many of Sashiko Artisans do not consider them as Artists.

We live in a society where “Silence” won’t do much good. The louder our voice is, the more “authentic” they may be considered as Real. The approach of “Art Without Heroes” is the opposite of this trend. Therefore, I exist to be another bridge of Japanese Sashiko to Western Aesthetics.

Sashiko can be a great “hobby”. Some may consider that big pieces are only in the museum behind the glass. We still exist. We still can make the Art Without Heroes – now I am trying my best to convince those hidden to be the actual Heroes. Please do not make Sashiko as “Past”. Please do not oversimplify it. Sashiko isn’t in the Past, yet.



#Sashiko #刺し子


May 02, 2024 at 11:03AM

No post for almost 10 days… you may find it quite unnatural as a Daily Post to share Sashiko Story is the standard for this account. I am okay. I will NOT stop sharing Sashiko Story. I just needed some time to reframe myself.

I had quite a good amount of talk with my Sashiko Friends (mostly in Japan). They learned Sashiko from me via my Online Sashiko Class in Japanese (So Called Unshinkai). Some of them participate in projects we plan, and one of them is now exhibited in London. I can be sure that, if I didn’t have the fortune to meet them, I wouldn’t be here sharing Sashiko. I may be stitching somewhere, but I wouldn’t be standing in front of “the shallow interpretation of Sashiko”.

With them, we are ready to surprise the world. Sashiko introduced in English, and sadly Sashiko in the Japanese Trend, is very simplified by those who “benefit” from the quickness & easiness. There is nothing wrong with focusing on entertainment – the issue is that they “mislead” the majority saying it is the “whole picture of Sashiko”. We are about to question it: not by the words as they will be defensive all the time – but by the Sashiko we Enjoy.

It is their words that gave me awakening. We keep enjoying Sashiko as we are proud of – then they will realize the difference. It is my sincere pleasure to introduce them via the tag (#運針会友達), and the important part of the Japan Sashiko Tour is to spend a lot of time with them. It is the best way to pass down the culture. Not the Sashiko “reframed” for making money – the Sashiko we, as Japanese Sashiko artisans, have been enjoying.

The Sashiko Japan Tour is probably the best way to “leave” the Sashiko we practice behind. We are preparing for the best experience possible. For the opening & waitlist, please check the Story.



#Sashiko #刺し子


April 23, 2024 at 09:18AM

As we can enjoy a variety of “type/style” of Pizza, there are many different types of Sashiko. When we “have to” define or categorize the Sashiko, we only have a few words to describe each category… Yet it doesn’t mean that the world of Sashiko is so limited.

Well. One of these “Big Categories” is called Hishizashi. It is similar to Kogin, yet different. The photos introduced here are the work of one of my Sashiko Friends (Previous Students) who learned Sashiko from us. The works are still in-progress, but they have their own aesthetics & inspiration. Thanks to her, I learn that the same “Kata (Form)” can be applied to Hishizashi as well.

I feel like what I am teaching in my Sashiko Class is “How to hold a knife & use a cutting board” in cooking. Or I can say I am teaching “How to extract Dashi from ingredients”. It is up to the one who enjoys cooking how to use the ingredients after using the Form & Dashi… either it is a Japanese Food Recipe or something outside of Japan, like Pizza. I do NOT consider it is wrong to mix Pizza & Dashi – I just want them to acknowledge the stories behind when they call themselves “master” of Pizza & Dashi.





#Sashiko #刺し子 #運針会友達


April 20, 2024 at 09:43PM

Sashiko was a form of hand-stitching developed in a harsh condition with limited resources. So, when we talk about “Principal within Original”, it is “for someone we care”, instead of for ones to be special, express their aesthetics, or showcasing their skills. It is more personal, yet the unit is more like “family” and “community”.

For me, Sashiko exists outside of dualism. It is like a between a letter written for someone specific for the purpose of “being read” and a diary written for myself to keep my words within myself.

For me, Sashiko is a stitching form to add “story” onto fabric. Each Sashiko piece reminds me of when/how/where I was stitching. My students from [Core & Essence] learn to stitch in the rhythm – In doing so, they can “focus” on what they do instead of whether the stitches are accurate or not. Sashiko can be made for the purpose of “to be seen”, or can be kept in their own space for themselves. It can be personal, and it can surprise the world, too. There are quite a big numbers of people who spent their lives in Sashiko – there are a LOT to learn before shouting for “freedom” in modification.




#Sashiko #刺し子


April 16, 2024 at 08:23PM

“Mingei” would be the next Japanese word to have spotlights. Or… it may already be the word with so much inspiration & attention. Mingei is often translated into “FolkArt”. It is quite difficult to come up with one clear definition on what FolkArt is… but, one fact we all agree on is that we need to listen to others (often, the people from the culture’s origin), to understand what their “FolkArt” is. Re-modeling someone’s “Work” into our definition of “Art” won’t make it “FolkArt”.

I occasionally enjoy Sashiko with no plan. Some of the pieces, like the one on the photo, get very positive feedback as “Art”. I am flattered, yet I do not know if I would call it “Art”. Then, can we categorize this into “FolkArt”? It probably satisfies the “conditions” to be defined as FolkArt, yet I do not consider this piece as “Mingei”.

What is this, then? Well, this is my Sashiko – the way I enjoyed the Sashiko. There are so many stories to make my Sashiko as “Sashiko” – and so is yours.





#Sashiko #刺し子 #Mingei


April 15, 2024 at 03:44PM

As I speak up about “Acknowledging the Upstreams”, I often receive feedback about the power of (Intellectual Property) Law. It is very true that IP is powerful… or even it is “Necessary” to fully achieve when it comes to “Protection”. I understand that, yet there are reasons I do not aggressively apply “Law” to Sashiko & my activities.

Law comes with 2 big concepts: “Ownership” and “Authorities”. Long Story Short, when Sashiko is introduced with “Who Owns it” and “Who defines Right and Wrong”, then it is No Longer the Sashiko we practice. Unfortunately, as (Non-Japanese) people who are new to Sashiko do not know enough about Sashiko, they ask for the power & clear answers – which can lead Sashiko to Law, and then “Ownership” and “Authorities”.

The concept of “Ownership” often brings the dualism of The Others and I. This separation causes many disputes, and they need to fight to prove which side is “Right”. The one who “wins” the ownership can access to Authority easily. By then, “what they define based on their convenience” is more acknowledged than “what it used to be”. If you see someone who claims they “own” Sashiko, or try to be the “Authority”, be mindful that they know almost nothing about Sashiko.

As we live in a “Law-Ruled Society”, it is important to acknowledge the power of Law. However, to respect what Sashiko is (& has been), I choose to keep speaking up about how it is formed rather than limiting the access of what it should be from others by pushing the privilege. “Sharing” our Sashiko Story is all and the best I can do for now – so that you will be one to acknowledge what Sashiko is.




#Sashiko #刺し子


April 14, 2024 at 08:45AM

It has been a great time in Bennington offering Sashiko Workshop to Artists, and learning Art from the Artists. [What is Art?] is a question we probably shouldn’t jump into on SNS – but it is so profound to meet actual Artists, and learn from their way of approaching & thinking. Sashiko has become something very different from what I know in non-Japanese language. On SNS (mainly on FB), people “appreciate” Sashiko the way they feel comfortable. For those, defining what they do as “Art” and “celebrating their creativity” is more important than the voice from the origin. It is probably one way to approach the Art. Instead of “What is Sashiko”, they celebrate “how it looks”

I sometimes feel very frustrated, or “Sad”, in observing a discussion on SNS focusing on only how it looks. A critique against the celebration of “beauty” may be a fundamental taboo in (western) Art… for that, I may be a glitch in a trend of Sashiko being Art. The fact I speak English is like an “accident” that the big flow didn’t expect. Sashiko would have been “Art” without Japanese philosophy to be preserved as “Art”, and again, I may be a stone to prevent its smooth transition.

It is NOT me who defines what Sashiko is. All I do is to share the perspective from the one who keeps stitching, and receives stories from those actually stitching. What is Art for you? Can/Shoul “Art” redefine someone’s identity?





#Sashiko #刺し子


Sashiko Lecture at Bennington College

Sashiko Lecture at Bennington College

This week, I plan to have Sashiko Workshops & Sashiko Lecture at Bennington College in VT. It is my first time to offer the Sashiko Workshop & Sashiko Lecture in an academic setting as an invited guest lecturer. The Professor, J Stoner Blackwell, had invited me to such a honorable opportunity to share the Sashiko We have been practicing. They joined the Sashiko Workshop [Core & Essence] at Loop of the Loom in NYC. As someone who teach, it is the biggest reward that they contacted me to share their experience to their students & community after the initial workshop.

This visit will be consisted with 3 parts, (1) Sashiko Workshop to their students in Art Department (2) Sashiko Workshop to the local community (Open to the public with workshop fee), and then (3) Sashiko Lecture at Bennington College (Open to the publich For Free of Charge).

The Sashiko Workshop [Core & Essence] is very structured, and there aren’t much I can modify. In contract, as I received 2 hours for the lecture, I am planning a lecture that I can choose based on the reaction in the auditorium. I don’t really know who will be the audience… the students or artists from community… or even faculty…?

Bennington College has a quite beautiful mission. I share it below & I hope that I can meet their expectation.

In 1932, Bennington was founded on the belief that the education most worth having is the one you create for yourself. The College does not require students to fulfill a set of ready-made requirements; instead, it challenges them to discover their own intellectual identity and to design an education that will help turn them into the person they hope to become. 

The College’s faculty plays a crucial role in this process of transformation. At Bennington, faculty members do what they teach, and students put their learning into practice. Students learn about literature from authors who write and publish it, in the same way that they learn choreography from dancers who create and perform their own work. Physicists and philosophers and playwrights teach at many other colleges, but typically, they ask their students to do very different work from the kind they do themselves. At Bennington, students don’t just learn about biology – or poetry, history, or anthropology – from their teachers; they also practice it along with them. Because both students and teachers actively engage in the work at hand, the relationship between them is richly collaborative, and students often participate in the research and creation of faculty work. 

The New Possibility for “Sharing Sashiko”

The Sashiko Workshop & Sashiko Lecture at Bennington College is sponsored by Painting and Drawing at Bennington College, The Robert Frost Stone House Museum with additional funding from Usdan Gallery. This is my first time to work under someone’s funding/grant. Thanks to the generous support from these funding, we could reduce the workshop price substantially.

I strongly believe that the pricing for my Sashiko Workshop [Core & Essence] is reasonable. The host (Studio/Organization) needs to make their ends meet, and I need to feed myself, too. To make it sustainable. it has been the right pricing for both host & guest (students). The waiting list I often get for the workshop explain that the pricing is not outrageous. However, at the same time, I understand that it costs some money. I want to share the Sashiko we practice with as many people as possible – and as the result, I joined the Domestika to make the Introduction to Japanese Sashiko.

I have never tried to get Grant… for some reasons, I thought I wouldn’t be able to do so. Well, I may need extra steps to prepare such as making our activities as Non-Profit, or going through a pile of paper works… regardless, the fact I could offer the workshop with grant is a big achievement (All thanks to Prof.J). I hope I can start another journey of pursuing this new possibility.

William Morris Gallery, London Borough of Waltham Forest

Photo (C) William Morris Gallery, London Borough of Waltham Forest

Sashiko Lecture at Bennington College will go to more “Public”

I have learned that it is perfectly fine to repeat the Same Message in sharing stories. In fact, I realize I “have to” repeat it to be listened, or even heard. So, I plan to offer the same lecture I do tomorrow online somwhere toward May or June, 2024. When it is ready, I will inform it here, Instagram, and probably GiveButter, too.

It is about “Sashiko Today”, and it will be the summarize of all the things I talk about in Sashiko Live Streamings. If you are interested in Sashiko, please come to Youtube on Thursday night at 9 pm EST (Not this week) to see what I keep saying about Sashiko!

April 09, 2024 at 08:54AM

Whew. A lot of writing & reading in English for non-native for a day. I really appreciate those who shared your time & wisdom here. Your comments encouraged me, educated me, and most importantly “clarified” the tough challenge I am going through.

I used the word “Cultural Appropriation” in the last 2 posts, but the context is not accusing someone of “Appropriating the Culture”. It is about the reaction I receive. Some people get triggered by just catching the word C/A, assuming what should be written, then attacking others to defend themselves. It is what is happening on FB Page & Youtube Channel, and it happened here on IG. (Thanks to you, it is less hostile, but still numbers of comments WITHOUT even reading).

Once they watch the video, they will find out what my message is all about. Some actually did (appreciated), and changed the tension in their comment. That’s all I ask – acknowledgement. However, unfortunately, making them read/watch is the most difficult challenge – and those who do not read/watch say C/A is nonsense.

So… it probably concludes one thing for this account. C/A exists, but not based on age, gender, race… or cultural background. A culture will be appropriated (or erased, overpainted, twisted) by those who aren’t open for any learning. C/A itself is a more complicated issue – but we aren’t even there yet. Some followed me after the post (thank you!), yet 2x unfollowed. It also clarifies that the C/A on the photo will make people uncomfortable. We all agree here, without listening/reading, no learning happens.

After so much pain, my message has become crystal clear & simple. It is “Acknowledgement”. You enjoying “Sashiko” isn’t C/A to me. I hope the reactions for these posts clarify what I am going through in Sashiko, and what I define as issues in C/A.


#Sashiko #刺し子