Sashiko Fukubukuro Cover

Sashiko Fukubukuro 2019 with fortune in it.

The Japanese have an interesting custom to celebrate the new year with purchasing “lucky-bag” so-called Fukubukuro (A bag filled with fortune). A Fukubukuro contains many merchandises to start the new year’s activity. According to the documents, a draper in Edo period started selling their items in a bag on the first day of their business. I thought it would be fun to follow this custom even in the US, to celebrate the new year of 2019 with Sashiko. Here is Sashiko Fukubukuro from Upcycle Stitches.

Detail of Sashiko Fukubukuro

Traditionally, a customer will not know what is inside of a bag. The core concept is the idea of “blind bag”. However, I would like to avoid any miscommunication and disappointment… so I will introduce what will be inside the bag below. The color of the thread and which items in the bag will be the idea of “Lucky Bag”. 

*All the photos are the sample contents. Colors and items insides are subject to change, but the photo explains what you can expect to get.

*Sales starts January 4th at 1 pm EST.

A. Keiko Bag – Sashiko Thread Fukubukuro

This “A Keiko Bag” will have 7 skeins of Sashiko thread that Keiko uses every day. It will include at least 3 Naturally Dyed Sashiko thread, hand-dyed by Keiko.

Atsushi will pick up the colors. The possible colors you will get are following:

 

*The total retail value will be no less than $112.20.

As you may know already, we rarely offer the sales deal. I hope you can enjoy this Fukubukuro to try out our beautiful & the highest quality Sashiko Thread.

I prepared 7 bags. The rule of  First come First serve will be applied. 


 

The price is $98.00 including the US Domestic Shipping by USPS. I can make an international shipment, but the extra shipping fee will be applied. 

Sashiko Fukubukuro
The sample of Natural Dye Sashiko Thread. Atsushi will pick 3 colors out of these beautifully hand-dyed Sashiko Thread, including Indigo, Kakishibu, and other botanical Dyes.

B. Azu Bag – Sashiko Related Items Fukubukuro

This “B. Azu Bag” will have Sashiko related items for anyone to maximize their Sashiko experience. 

The items are selected randomly, and here is a list of the possible items you may expect to receive (Please understand that it will NOT contain everything I mention here. I will choose items from this list). 

​Please contact me if you have any questions. I will make sure to meet your expectation and exceed the item’s value. My goal is to encourage people to start enjoying Sashiko.

A possible item list. The contents will be randomly selected by these. 

  • Sashiko Needles and thimble Set |
  • A few skeins of Sashiko thread | more than $35 in value
  • Fabric for Sashiko (Manufactured in Japan) | more than $20 in Value
  • Small Vintage Fabric swatch
  • A chalk pencil
  • A Pin Cushion
  • A grip scissors
  • Supplies to transfer the patterns to the fabric

The price for the “B. Azu Bag” is also $98.00 with USPS shipping fee included.

Terms and Conditions for Sashiko Fukubukuro

Please read the terms of “Sashiko Fukubukuro” service before you place the order. It is based on a concept of “blind bag” and “lucky bag”. Therefore, we will not accept any returns for the contents you receive. We will do our best to exceed your expectation in terms of values of contents. 

 

  • The Bags will be sold between January 4th (@1pm in EST) to January 18th in 2019. The sales continue while the supply last, and it may be ended before the final date.
  • The shipping will be made accordingly to the order. However, unlike the other regular order which usually is shipped in 1 business day, this order will take longer than that (Please expect a week to 2 weeks to be shipped). Regardless, all of the order will be shipped before the end of January.
  • We will not accept any return of cancel after the shipment. If you coule like to cancel the order, please let us know as soon as possible. 
  • The Sashiko Fukubukuro Bag may contain an item without original packaging. We will re-package and will send them in a nice condition.
  • The item may be an item which was “returned” as the sellable condition. No second hand item will be included (besides the vintage fabric).

Real “Fortune” reside in the stitches

I hope everyone enjoys Sashiko stitching in 2019 and encounter(make) the special Sashiko for yourself.

The photos above are the Sashiko bag Keiko made for our dear friend. The “fortune” is in our caring spirit and each stitches, and we offer “lucky bag” to make it happen.

Happy New Year of 2019!


*If you resides outside of USA and would like to check the special offer from Japan, please take a look at this article.

Is Sashiko Art Cover

Is Sashiko Art? | The origin of Sashiko as Folk Art

Well. This can be a bit surprising for some of you. When I question myself, “Is Sashiko Art?”, the answer I come up with is, “No, I do not think Sashiko is the (Fine) Art.

Sashiko isn’t the (Fine) Art for me. More precisely speaking, I would say, “Sashiko can be a form of Art, but Sashiko was not developed as the Art.” In other words, thanks to a friend of mine who gave me a good insight, “Sashiko is a form of Folk Art but not Fine Art.”

*After learning the difference between Fine Art, Folk Art, and general concept (big picture) of Art, I consider Sashiko can be the part of Art.

Some may disagree with me. I understand that the beauty of Sashiko item can be understood as the form of Fine Art. However, with considering the definition of Art and the origin of Sashiko, it is unnatural for me to say “Sashiko is the art”. 

Please bear with me here. I will try my best to explain the reasoning and logic behind it. This blog post is my challenge to explain why I say “No” to the question of “Is Sashiko Art?”


*Please understand that my intention to write about this topic is to figure out where I stand. I never intend to judge or criticize someone or someone’s art. In fact, I (Atsushi) am the one who would like to develop Sashiko as the art toward the future. However, most of the Sashiko artisans I respect including my mother Keiko, do not consider Sashiko as the Art (or Fine Art). In order to move forward, understanding Sashiko and its possibility is must-thing for me to do. I hope this article can give you another perspective of Sashiko. 

*English is my second language, and has been so long since I wrote an essay in English… forgive me any typo or grammatical error. I will do my best in correction when you point out some (but please be accepting, too. Being perfect in writing isn’t the goal here.)

 

Table of Content

  • Why do I care if Sashiko is Art or not? – my motivation
  • Art Terminology & Definition
  • Sashiko as a process of caring – not the result
  • Sashiko as the Folk Art – Mingei –
  • Categorization of Some Japanese Arts and Traditions
  • The whole discussion is for me (Atsushi)
  • The culture & Tradition alter over time. 
  • I respect not only the result but the concept behind it

 

Why do I care if Sashiko is Art?

First of all, I would like to explain why I care if Sashiko is Art or not. I understand that it is even ridiculous to define the words in Art. Understanding the Art itself is already abstract and subjective. If she/he thinks the item “A” is the art, the item “A” is the Art. 

Also, it is very true that we should simply enjoy the beauty of the result, and share the pleasure and joy of Sashiko art items. 

In 2018, throughout many Sashiko workshop opportunity, we have received numbers of compliments that we (Keiko and Atsushi) are the true Sashiko Artist. I enjoyed the positive feedbacks, and I called myself “Sashiko Artist” without even thinking deeply. I simply enjoyed what I do, and shared the pleasure of Sashiko.

Then, I just realize why I never considered myself as the artist before offering the workshop in the USA. I never thought of me an Artist in Japan. Keiko, who lives Japan, still don’t consider herself artist. 

When someone call me an artist, I have no problem with that. I don’t know what Art is yet someone find me an artist. It is absolutely fine.

However, when I title myself as the artist, I wanted to know what I meant by it. Without this, I cannot move forward to introduce the traditional Sashiko as well as possibly Sashiiko as the Fine Art (which I believe Sashiko is not).

 


Art Terminology & Definition

When we talk about the definition of an item, it is very important to make sure we all are on the same page of the other words’ definition and terminology. Here are several words I would like to define first.

Art:

The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

Fine Art

Creative art, especially visual art whose products are to be appreciated primarily or solely for their imaginative, aesthetic, or intellectual content.

Folk Art

Encompasses art produced from an indigenous culture or by peasants or other laboring tradespeople. In contrast to fine art, folk art is primarily utilitarian and decorative rather than purely aesthetic

 

I realize the definition for the general “Art” is too broad to discuss my point. So, I would like to use these 2 words, Fine Art and Folk Art, to explain my ideas.

  • Fine Art has no functions to the necessity in life, there fore it is Fine Art.
  • Folk Art is developed for the necessity and we put the value as the art later on.

Therefore, I think, Sashiko is a form of Folk Art and not Fine Art. 

Sashiko as a process of caring – not the result.

I strongly believe Sashiko is the process of needle movement rather than the results of the mass of stitches. For the achievement of Sashiko, we appreciate the result of Sashiko stitching by the nameless Japanese who performed Sashiko stitching. Some of their achievements are called Boro, and we appreciate the beauty of it.

I wonder, if the Japanese thought of “Fine Art” when they practiced Sashiko stitching in the past. Probably not. It was merely a chore to survive through the severe winter in Japan. They would probably care about the family or their friends, and made stitches rather than worrying how beautiful and inspirational it would be as the art.

(*It is not a discussion of black and white. I also believe that the women who mended fabric with Sashiko cared the result as a beautiful pieces in their capacity with limited resources and time. However, it isn’t the Fine Art since they “could have” express more if they didn’t have to work for the purpose.)

In fact, “because of this caring stitches”, I believe Sashiko is so beautiful and inspirational. I feel unnatural by saying “Sashiko is the Fine Art” because I am probably scared of losing the taste of “Caring stitches.”

 


 

There is a machine which can make the even length (fairly long) stitches so called it Sashiko Sewing machine. People sometimes ask for my opinion about the Sashiko machine. I enjoyed watching what the machine can do. However, I know I wouldn’t use the Sashiko sewing machine because it doesn’t involve the core of Sashiko – enjoying a dialogue with fabric.

I have no problem with people using the sewing machine and calling it Sashiko. However, as the one who was born in Sashiko family and still practices Sashiko, I would like to be able to distinguish the beauty in preciseness and uneven (& caring) stitches.

  • The beauty of item is the secondary.
  • The process of stitching is the primary.

Then, the question kicks in.
In order to define Sashiko as the Folk Art, the item has to be made by nameless people. I use my name, Atsushi Futatsuya, and my mother’s name, Keiko Futatsuya, to stand out in the field. Would it be called Folk Art Sashiko?

I don’t know. This is the reason I started asking the question if Sashiko is the Art.

Strictly speaking, what we are doing may not be authentic Sashiko because we use our name. Furthermore, I am the one who wants to be the artist regardless of the original figure of Sashiko. Therefore, I wanted to make sure where I stand before I move forward in 2019.
(Keiko, my mother, never thought herself as the artist. She cares much using her name neither. What she cares is how to surprise the world by her enjoying Sashiko stitching. If you behold or possesses her Sashiko items, you should be able to understand this, but her stitches are full of caring and therefore it is so beautiful.)

 

Again, it seems I am the one who would like to call Sashiko the Fine Art. However, all of my experience and knowledge says it is not. So, this is merely a start of my long journey to re-define Sashiko. 

Sashiko as the Folk Art – Mingei – do they care how it looks? No.

Mingei Art Movement in Japan and Sashiko


The folk Art in Japan has its rich history. I introduce the Folk Art (Mingei Art) Movement in Japan in a separate blog article (Above). For more details, I recommend reading one of founder’s book, Yanagi Soetsu’s book. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yanagi_S%C5%8Detsu)

 

Generally speaking, Yanagi Soetsu defined Mingei by these 8 criteria.

 

  • Practical: made for practical usage, not for the display.
  • Nameless: made by unknown craftsman, and the craft is not made to be famous.
  • Mass-produced: In order to meet the demand from the people, the item were made in mass quantity.
  • Reasonable Price: Inexpensive price so the ordinal people could purchase and use.
  • Locality: The art item has a local characteristic such as color, shape, and patterns.
  • Division of Labor: For the mass production, the art item was made in the division of labors by skilled craftsman
  • Tradition: Following the tradition and wisdom the ancestors cultivated.
  • Collectability: The creation depend on the local tradition and climate rather than the individual skill

Sashiko was discovered as the part of Mingei movement (In Northern part of Japan). Sashiko followed all of the 8 criteria above at some point. However. after the industrial revolution, we (including my Sashiko family) needed to alter its character and lost the sense of Mingei. In other words, Sashiko became unnecessary at some point in Japanese history, and only a few people kept the tradition and customs with non-Mingei reasons.

 

The Sashiko I was grown up with is somewhat nameless (brand name with about 50 nameless artisans), somewhat Mass-produced in a capacity of hand-made craft, and relatively reasonable as the local souvenir.

 

Sashiko I practice now after the difficulty to continue the family Sashiko is not nameless (although we have nameless artisans as well), somewhat Mass-produced but mostly one-of-a-kind, and expensive (although some say super reasonable for the amount of the work required).

 

As you can tell, the Sashiko we practice is not already following the strict rule of Mingei. However, (therefore), I feel unnatural to say Sashiko is the Fine Art. I feel Keiko and I would lose the other characteristic of Mingei by defining Sashiko as the art, which I am horrified to face to the risk of losing the core beauty of Sashiko.

 

I hope I am explaining enough why I started this – this blog entry is not for judging someone. It is for encouraging myself to move forward. I could keep going without defining Sashiko if I didn’t know that so many people get interested in Sashiko. Now, thanks to SNS, because I know there are many people who enjoy Sashiko, I feel obligated to explain the origin of Sashiko – to respect and appreciate more.

Categorization of Japanese Art

 

Here is another interesting story.

If you are fascinated by the beauty of Sashiko, you may compare Sashiko to the other Japanese beautiful traditional art and culture. We can name numbers of them.

A – Family & Organization

  • Kabuki (Performing Art)
  • Ikebana – (Flower Arrangement)

B – Traditional Craft certified by Japan

  • Edo Kiriko (Glass Art)
  • Yuzen (Kimono)

C – Locally Traditional

  • Misoshiru – (Miso Soup)
  • Sashiko
  • Origami

Can you guess what the categorization I made for?

Category A is well known for the Japanese traditional Art (performing art). There are the “family” or “organization” to pass down the tradition. The one can be part of the family, but there is a very strict rule to follow.

Category B is known as the Japanese traditional Craft. Over the history, the Japanese developed so many traditional crafts with forming the artisans guild. The Japanese government certified those traditional crafts and trying to protect & pass them down to the next generation.

Category C is the other Japanese art, crafts, and culture which are not certified by Japan as the nation or don’t have the “Big (Celebrity) Family” to pass it down. The items I listed, Sashiko, Miso Soup, and Origamis are (were) so ordinary for the Japanese to form the organization to protect them, therefore they didn’t become the Japanese “traditional” art, crafts or culture, which leads to my saying, “There is no such a thing as right or wrong in Sashiko” because of this categorization.

It also explains why I feel unnatural to call sashiko the (Fine) art.

 


 

Let’s say, you are an American, and eat a slice of pizza regularly. Would you call a slice of Pizza as the art? Well, the artisan made a beautiful and skillful pizza for you. Would you feel a bit strange to call it the Art?

 

Anything can be the art. Yes.

If the artist uses Pizza to make the fine art, it can be a form of Fine Art (if the audience defines it as the art.) However, if a regular chef is merely creating the tasty and beautiful pizza, then the people started calling his work as the art, wouldn’t he feel a bit strange?

 

Sashiko isn’t Pizza. I understand. We cannot eat Sashiko, nor we cannot stitch pizza. However, this is the foundation of my question. I sometimes feel like people fantasize Sashiko. Sometimes, the saying sounds like the exaggerated phrase in comparison to what Sashiko is. It is perfectly fine that people understand anything from Sashiko. However, it is a different story if I, as the creator, start exaggerating what it is without realizing that I am exaggerating.

 

Again, I am also the one who would like to bring Sashiko to the Art. In order to do so, I need to share all of my knowledge and wisdom, then I can feel easy on moving forward.

 

The whole discussion is for me, Atsushi.

Thank you for reading this far. As you may have understood by now, the whole discussion of “Is Sashiko Art?” is for me. The more I read the comments I received on Instagram and Facebook, the more I understand that I am the one who would like to be the Artist.

You may say, “You can be the artist if you think so.”
Yes. It is very true.

However, the fabric I stitch on may not feel the same. The thread I am stitching with may disagree. The hand I am moving doesn’t appreciate the decision that I make. The 30+ years of experience in Sashiko is not all about stitching. It is the experience with Sashiko in my childhood. I believe I am the one who saw the Sashiko items the most in my generation.

I once cursed my fate. I now appreciate my privilege.
The artisans who I grow up with would not think of themselves as the artist. I asked Keiko if she would consider herself an artist. Her answer was as simple as “No” after questioning me why I ask her such a stupid question.
Following, she also explained a bit.

It is her pleasure that her clients (customers) think of her achievement as the (Fine) Art. However, I do not consider myself as the Artist. I simply enjoy the conversation with the fabric, bringing the “unused” fabric to the stage again where people would wear or use in their life. I am merely a Sashiko artisan.

I respect her as well as the other artisans I feel like the family to me. If I would follow their path, I would never consider Sashiko as the (Fine) Art. It is the end of the story, and I wouldn’t need to bring up the definition & terminology because the other’s perception wouldn’t change their attitude and understanding.

I, on the other hands, have both sides of understanding – Sashiko as the “merely” stitching and Sashiko as the “super cool” art.

In order to integrate these 2 extreme concepts, I needed to understand where I stand.

The culture & Tradition alter over time.

Over time, the culture and tradition alter its form. So does Sashiko.
Sashiko started as the wisdom in survival through the severe winter in Japan. The poor the Japanese were in the rural area, the more people needed to do the stitching. We call it Sashiko.

At the same time in the history, at other places where were a bit richer than the other places, the Sashiko formed its necessity as strengthening the fabric instead of mending or filling the gap. Also, over time, Sashiko changed its stance to decorative stitching for those who couldn’t dye patterns out.

Sashiko was developed as a form of stitching by the ordinary Japanese people. It is perfectly natural to observe some changes, and it is as perfectly natural to enjoy the transformation in this era by other people’s necessity and intention.

Again, we can call anything “Art” and they can define Sashiko as they want. I am not titled to accept or deny any interpretation of Sashiko. One can just grab the needle and make some stitches, then she/he can call it Sashiko.

Sashiko can be as simple as that. At the same time, however, for those who would like to enjoy Sashiko sincerely, I would like them to understand the primitive form of Sashiko. It is my fate to verbalize some of the shame the Japanese had been holding throughout Sashiko and Boro-Making process.

The Boro as the sign of Shame
http://upcyclestitches.com/tokiyama-sashiko/


 

Sushi started its path as the fast food for Samurai and civilians in the Edo period. The reason we use “Wasabi – the green spice” is for the bactericidal action in eating raw fish on the street. In this century, Sashiko became a synonym of Japanese food, with a hint of fancy and expensive yet healthy & popular food option available.

 

Sashiko can be like Sushi, too.
One day, people may call the process of “repurposing a garment” Sashiko. Or, simply, hand-stitching on a piece of fabric may be called “Sashiko”. I do not know how “we” transform Sashiko’s culture.

Regardless of the change, I believe, someone needs to keep mentioning the origin and the logical side of the traditional culture. Most of the traditional culture and craft, (which lead to the Folk Art) have a logic behind it. For example of Sushi, Wasabi is not only for the tasting. It has a role of protecting the customer from food poisoning. So is the same in Sashiko. The size of needles has the meaning. The thimble has its own role. The Sashiko thread has a completely different purpose in comparison to the other sewing thread.

When we know those “wisdom”, I believe we can enjoy the culture more and more.

Furthermore, as a sort of conclusion, this is the reason I do not categorize Sashiko in the Fine Art. Fine Art, the artist doesn’t need to explain anything (in my understanding.) It can be conceptual as well as inspirational. Sashiko… as long as I know, Sashiko still requires some explanation to be “stunningly beautiful”.

Again, please understand it is NOT about good or bad. Fine Art is fantastic, and so is Folk Art. I am here to explain the difference so that I may be, one day, start calling myself “Artist” instead of “craftsman or artisan”

*I have called myself “artist” before without knowing the definition at all… so, here I am now.

 

I respect not only the result but the concept behind it


I understand Sashiko is getting popular because of its simplicity, beauty, and idea of visible mending. I respect those who translated and introduced the idea of Sashiko to their own culture and developed it. One day, I would like to meet everyone who enjoys Sashiko and talk about Sashiko and its cultural meaning to us.

For me, Sashiko is a whole package of ordinary Japanese days for the ordinary Japanese people. Sashiko communicate the women’s pride in the severe condition. We can learn how Japanese people behaved throughout learning the mindset of Sashiko. Therefore, I respect not only the result of beautiful stitching but also the concept behind Sashiko.

Here is a list of mindsets I am determined to share throughout Sashiko, this website and our Sashiko Workshops. I have been saying it over the Instagram & Youtube live streaming, and I will do so in 2019 as well.

  • There is no such a thing as Right or Wrong in caring someone (and oneself).
  • The Caring is the best thing we can do. The emotion doesn’t have to be positive. It can be sometimes negative like jealous or hatred. I believe the opposite of Love is not “Hatred”, it is “Ignorance”
  • We would like to introduce a moment of “no more judging”, to someone, and especially to oneself throughout Sashiko. The Sashiko stitches are merely the result of needle movement. No one, including oneself, would judge it good or bad. Instead, we would like to think of someone who may be happy by looking at the stitches.


In summary (long story short)…

  • No right or Wrong.
  • Be mindful about what you feel.
  • No more Judgement (Observe what you do)


I believe you know an activity which satisfies the three criteria above. It is a “meditation”. I feel Sashiko is a very good meditative stitching. Probably, the Japanese people in the past used Sashiko for the meditative purpose (I don’t know if it is true). For more stories about Sashiko and meditation, please wait for my next writing.


I hope I have explained enough why and how I think Sashiko is not the (Fine) art, (yet). As I mentioned in the beginning, writing in English is always a big challenge to me. I will proofread over and over again, and probably change some of the writing. Regardless, what I wrote here is my sincere message & honest understanding about Sashiko.

Please leave a comment if you agree, disagree, got inspired, or even found a problem. I am open to correct (if I find it a problem) and discuss further more.

Thank you for reading this long blog entry.

Enjoy the rest of 2018, and Happy New Year of 2019.

Happy Sashiko New Year
Sashiko Follow Up Cover JS

Sashiko Follow Up | For Sashiko Workshop Graduates

In 2018, I offer Sashiko Workshops in different locations by collaborating with honorable organizations and groups of beautiful people. If you have taken one of Atsushi’s Sashiko Workshops (Full Length of more than 3 hours – maybe named Core, Basic, and/or traditional), and have not received an email for the Sashiko Follow Up within 5 business days, please contact me from here. I will send you the Sashiko Follow Up email with many follow up materials accordingly.

If you haven’t received any emails within a few business days after the workshop, something went wrong on my side like a typo in the email address in such. For those who take the workshop in TriBeCa, organized and programmed by Upcycle Stitches, you should get the “Sashiko Follow Up email” the next day (or even the same day).

 

Thank you for coming to the Sashiko Workshop!

 

Sashiko Follow Up

The follow-up email consists of very useful information including one-time free shipping coupon. I want you to be informed. So please do not miss the opportunity if you have taken our full-length Sashiko Workshop.

If you are a graduate of “introductory Sashiko Workshop” like the one I offered at the Japan Society in September 2018, you will also receive the same follow-up emails with follow-up materials. However, please be advised that the these introductory Sashiko workshop will not fulfill the prerequisite for our advanced Workshops. We offer & run our advanced workshops based on the fact that every participant is capable of using the round-shape thimble and the Sashiko long needle.

To learn (master) more of Sashiko stitching, please consider taking in our full-length Sashiko Workshop.

Sashiko Stitching Workshop (Core & Basic)

Alternatively, you can send me a video of your Sashiko stitching so I may give you the qualification (fulfillment of prerequisite) prior to the other workshops. Please refer to this blog post to understand the difference between the Full-Time Sashiko Workshop & Introductory Sashiko WOrkshop.

 

We want you to continue Sashiko

 

As I mentioned in the workshop, my goal is to keep encouraging you to continue this enjoyable journey. A Sashiko follow up email is a great introduction & summary of what we had shared. I would love to be connected with you who learned not only the technique of Sashiko but also the appreciative culture behind it.

Keep in touch, and let me know if there is anything we can do for your Sashiko life.

 

 

Share your photos

Please share photos of your Sashiko accomplishment over the email. I would love to share the alumni’s work online so the new learner will learn what they can expect. Also, if you have photos from the workshop, please share them with me, too. As you may have noticed, I barely stop moving during the workshop. I always try to take photos and end up with forgetting about it. It would be very appreciated if you could share your good memory with me as well as the others who are interested in Sashiko.

For the Instagram, please use the hashtag of #azussashikoworkshop

 

 

See you soon online & somewhere in the world

 

It would be lovely to see you again, somewhere in the world, or simply online. I have an Instagram account and Youtube Channel, which both share some live-streaming. It is our sincere hope that you will continue the Sashiko stitching, or apply Sashiko stitching to your hand-stitching (hand-sewing) life.

 

Enjoy Sashiko!

Atsushi Futatsuya

 

Sashiko Exhibition Report

Sashiko Exhibition Report | May 8th to 12th in 2018

We have been enjoying to have many visitors to our very first Sashiko Exhibition in Tokyo 2018. Keiko, the Sashiko artist, stayed in the gallery on May 8th. She is very happy to meet many people with a passion for Sashiko. The Sashiko Exhibition continues until the Saturday, May 12th, 2018. With many photos which I received from my friends who visited, here is the Sashiko Exhibition Report.

 

So many “One of a Kind” Sashiko

 

One of a factor that makes us an artist is the speed of Sashiko stitching we can make. Every Sashiko is hand-stitched, of course. Every item is One of a kind, and we will not be able to create the exactly the same one. (We will try our best to create the similar one if a customer requested custom order items based on the sold item.)

 

 

Sashiko Exhibition Report 3 Bags
Patchworked Sashiko and Vintage Fabric into one unique and beautiful bags. It is breathtaking to look at so much Sashiko stitching at once.

 

Traditional, Contemporary Sashiko and even Boro.

 

We also displayed some of Keiko’s latest Jackets, from traditional Sashiko, Contemporary Design with Sashiko, and even Boro pieces. We believe some of them are museum quality, but they are all purchasable by a customer. It is because we believe that a Sashiko item will look more beautiful when it is used in the ordinary life. It is very honored to be displayed in a museum, but at the same time, we would like to see our Sashiko items in our human’s life.

Visitors to the Sashiko Exhibition can, of course, touch, feel, and try them on to feel the stitching and its warmth.

 

 

 

Sashiko Exhibition Report Traditional Sashiko
Keiko combines many japanese traditional geometric patterns into one unique pattern. This is very traditional Sashiko jacket with keiko’s design.

 

Sashiko Exhibition Report Core of Sashiko
When we get a good quality and size of Japanese vintage fabric, we always appreciate the people who kept these fabrics. The fabric wasn’t strong enough and had holes to make it one Jacket, but we performed Sashiko and patches to be another Jacket. This is core of Sashiko Stitching
Sashiko Exhibition Report Boro
Boro is the ultimate result of Sashiko stitching. Keiko collected all torn and worn fabrics from the past, and made it one beautiful Jacket. Boro tend to be dirty and smelly, but we try to “recreating the Boro” with following the process that the Japanese a hundred year ago did.

 

Sashiko Exhibition Report Sashiko Jacket
Every Sashiko Jacket, one stitch by one stitch. We are proud of each Sashiko items. They are simply awesome 🙂

 

 

Otsuchi Sashiko Stunning Works

 

The Sashiko Exhibition was co-hosted with Otsuchi Sashiko Project.

It is a recovery project from Northeastern Earthquake in 2011 to support the Tsunami victims throughout Sashiko. Keiko and Atushi has been supporting the project since June 2011. I am planning to write an article about the Otsuchi Sashiko Project with more detail, so please wait for an update.

 

Over the last 6~7 years, the Sashiko skill in Otsuchi Sashiko Project imroved significantly. We are so happy to share their beautiful Sashiko works with our Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya Sashiko works.

 

 

 

Sashiko Exhibition Report Otsuchi Jacket
The Sashiko Jacket that Otsuchi Sashiko made with Keiko’s advise. This became a representable Sashiko art of Otsuchi Sashiko

 

 

Sashiko Exhibition Report Otsuchi Sashiko Bag
Each person (Artisans) in Otsuchi is in charge of completing one drawstring bag. It means, every bags has different stitching size, space, and therefore they are all unique. Knowing who makes the bag is something we would like to pass down

 

 

 

Share this Sashiko Exhibition Report

I am honored to receive many comments that they wish they could visit the show. An international travel isn’t easy to make. However, our goal is to share our Sashiko with as many people as possible. We may be able to visit your country, city, town if someone there could invite us to have Sashiko Exhibition there (also, Sashiko workshop is an option, too)

 

Please share this Sashiko Exhibition Report, and let’s hope that someday we can visit your place. We sincerely would like to share these beautiful works in person. We want you to touch, feel, and enjoy what we create & what we are proud of.

 

Sashiko Exhibition Report Keiko Greeting
Thank you for your time to read this Sashiko Exhibition Report. Keiko and Atsushi are looking forward to meeting you one day.

 

*We keep all the copyrights for the photos and text on this website. Please contact me if you would like to use a photo of Sashiko items on your website, SNS, and printing materials. We are happy to provide with better quality. 

*I plan to update the Sashiko Exhibition Report as needed. This is version as of May 10th 2018.

 

 

 

My Sashiko Story _ Cover

My Sashiko Story | 1. Care & Respect to others

It is my great honor that you are reading this article from millions of articles about Sashiko. I decided to write how I think about Sashiko as my Sashiko Story.

In 2017, I started introducing Sashiko in earnest. You may have seen some of my achievements on Youtube, Japanese TV Channel, or other online media including this website. My goal is to share what Sashiko is to pass down the culture of Sashiko to the next generation. As much as I would like to share “how” to do Sashiko, I also would like to introduce “why” we do Sashiko. Here is a series of my Sashiko Story.

 

Caring. The core of My Sashiko Story

 

Sashiko is (was) an ordinary daily work for the ordinary Japanese people.

I believe that the Japanese moved their needles with thinking about their family, especially those who would wear the Jacket outside. Sashiko was developed because of their poverty. The Japanese in the rural village didn’t have enough fabric to make the new Jacket for husbands. Instead of the wives make the clean, strong and neat Jacket for them, they repaired with their needle works, with caring the health and wellbeing of loving one.

 

We still do not have the sold definition for Sashiko (& Boro).

As long as my understanding goes, Sashiko is a form of simple needlework & process of stitching, then Boro is a result of repeating Sashiko. In other words, Sashiko is a process of caring others and appreciating what we have. Boro is a gift from these caring. Even small decorative stitches make me warm since I know someone hand stitch it.

*The Boro facebook Group I joined gave me an opportunity to think about it, and it is the reason I am writing my sashiko story.

 

It is not so much important “how” Sashiko items or Boro were made.

I like Sashiko because I can see the “care” people put into it. They had a good reason to enjoyed, or simply did, Sashiko for someone, or for themselves.

 

Of course, Sashiko is not all about beautiful stories. Above, I cut slice a beautiful part of Sashiko & Boro culture, which is “Appreciate and Care.” In contrast, there are many stories which include human-like feeling such as “greed” “envy” and “shame”, but I understand many cultures have both aspects. I will introduce some of the stories from both aspects accordingly.

 

Regardless, we do not have much “reasons” to “repair” in 2018. It is economically reasonable to purchase new fabric than repairing them. It is much efficient to use a sewing machine than making a hand-stitching. I would like to share the stories of why we enjoy Sashiko stitching as well as how to enjoy Sashiko stitching more.

 

It is all about “mending.”

This is from my Instagram Live Streaming in Japanese.

I talk a lot on many topics, but one of the topics I realized while I was actually saying is what we do throughout Sashiko is all about “mending”.

 

The Japanese used to do Sashiko to fulfill the needs of fabrics. It was to mend their cloth.

We now enjoy Sashiko to fulfill something we are losing. It is to mend our mind.

 

I believe the Japanese in the past also enjoyed Sashiko to fulfill something mindfulness. It is not a discussion of Black or White, which is more Western way of thinking. The Japanese appreciate the thinking of “Gray” which we call “中道{Chu-do- | the middle way)”. The way of thinking without dualism. Therefore, I keep saying there isn’t such a thing as “Right” or “Wrong” in Sashiko.

 

After all, it is all about respect to others.

 

My Sashiko Story _ Respect

 

Alright. There is no Right or Wrong in Sashiko. Well… Then, you may question yourself that:

If there is no Right or Wrong, we can do whatever we want in Sashiko and Boro?

 

The answer is Yes. You may do whatever you would like to by using your creativity and passion.

I respect and appreciate all of the translators, interpreters, and practitioners of Sashiko in many places all over the world. I enjoy some unique interpretation of Sashiko culture. Some of the work inspires me in making my Sashiko arts. As Sashiko wasn’t for anyone, even in 2018, Sashiko is not owned by anyone and we can do whatever we would like to do.

 

One thing, however, I would like to share is that the Sashiko is developed based on the concept of “respect,” especially for those who practiced Sashiko for a long time. In other words, I would like to share how important it is to respect the tradition.

 

A person may interpret however she/he wants to and do Sashiko.

However, the result will be very different if he knows and respects the tradition behind it.

 

It goes to the “Sashiko Industries”, too.

There are many suppliers, manufacturers, and businesses jumping into the Sashiko Market. Every time there is a “hand-craft” trend, they start creating the products line-up. However, when the boom is gone, they also take these items down since it wouldn’t be economically viable. I do not feel the respect from these suppliers.

Instead of those suppliers, I want Sashiko practitioners to be smart customers in purchasing and getting the products. Unfortunately, because of us being so mindless, many good Japanese traditional artisans had to close their operations. It is mainly because they didn’t have enough customers to pass their operation down to next generation.

 

It is an on-going process.

The long-established artisans are getting old, and most of them do not have the next person who takes over their traditions. We, as a Sashiko family business, is one of that. I had thought of closing our business so many times. I am only able to offer the service and products thanks to my family, and a Sashiko genius, my mother Keiko Futatsuya.

 

Sashiko is not only about “how to stitch” but also “how we would like to keep the culture”, I believe.

I respect, and sincerely appreciate the people who are part of our activities in Japan. They are all great in their tradition, and without them, I don’t think I can keep my Sashiko journey. Thread manufacture, Needle manufacture, Textile artisans, Dye artisans, and much more people who respect each other, and most importantly respect themselves.

 

I would like to welcome you to this beautiful, caring community, throughout Sashiko stitching.

My Sashiko Story will continue. Thank you for reading,

 

Link to other my Sashiko Story:

  1. Care & Respect Others

 

Sashiko Denim Repair Service and Fee

I am so pleaseed to receive many compliments to my jeans after performing the Sashiko Denim Repair. Although I started mending my jeans as my hobby, I decided to offer the Sashiko Denim Repair Service for ones who can share my understandings to Sashko Stitching and Sashiko’s concept. I am sorry that there are so many conditions to agree before the actual repairing order. However, please understand it is necessary because all of the services will be done by hands, and I would need to rely on customer’s common sense for the better service.

This is the new service I provide out of my routine days. Before launching this as the official service, I would like to have a sort of probation period for myself, to see if this is a satisfying service for the customers.

Outline of Sashiko Denim Repair Service

*This is the deal for Probation Period

This is a service Atsushi will repair your jeans with Sashiko stitching and Sashiko stitched fabric. (See samples of Sashiko stitched fabric).

If you are interested, please contact me first with photos of your favorite jeans with the hole(s) or tear(s) after reading this article and agreeing on the conditions. We will discuss the details, then I will send you the address to make a shipment to.

Here are some conditions.

  • I may decide the kinds of Sashiko fabric I use in the project. I will probably not take order-made Sashiko fabric for this service. However, please let me know what kind of color you would like or what kind of pattern you would like since your preference is important for us.
  • I will inform you how long it would take to get service done. It is NOT promised time frame. Please understand that it is just an estimate.
  • I set the flat service fee for the probation period. This fee includes one big hole OR several small holes repairment. You may refer my previous works and ask for the estimated fees if you want to have more.
  • Please send me the jeans AFTER washing it. I understand that some people do not wish to wash the jeans, but doing Sashiko on dirty jeans is very difficult.
  • If you prefer to have Sashiko stitching on the new jeans, it may be possible based on your request.
  • If you prefer to have the order-made Sashiko fabric to patch or have so many parts to “repair,” I will do so with the regular price. I will give you the estimate so please send me the photos.
  • Please allow me to use your project on Youtube/Instagram Live Streaming

The fee for the Sashiko Denim Repair Service (Promotional):

$100.00 ~ $250.00

The regular price will be about $500 and up, depending on the repair I would need.

The detail of Denim Repair Service

https://upcyclestitches.com/store/Customized-Sashiko-Mending-on-your-Favorite-Denim-p100856880

What is included in the fee

  • Sashiko fabric patch needed in the repair service
  • Labor fee for Atsushi
  • Shipping (Priority Mail with USPS) Fee to return to you | USA Domestic Only. Extra shipping fee will be applied to the International Order.

Qualification for the Service

  • Read and be aware of my understanding of Sashiko and Boro
  • Willingness to upload the “before/after” photos of the service on your blog, SNS or Instagram with referring this description page and account.
  • Permission for me to write about your order & work on your project on Live Streaming.
  • Promise that you wear the jeans I serviced continuously. I believe Sashiko shines the most in the daily usage.

A sample of my results with Sashiko Denim Repair Service

I will keep adding my results and orders from customers. It would be nice that someone in the world is wearing what I stitch & mend.

We offer the service based on my achievements. Please check the service and purchase it, or contact me for more detail.

Shop: Customized Sashiko Mending on your Denim

*Estimates is based on the jeans I worked on.

It may vary depends on your preferences. I am happy to discuss your needs.

Sashiko Mending Custom

Atsushi will custom mend your Denim or your favorite cloth.

Fee Estimate:

1 leg 1 front (part or a hole): $250.00

1 leg both side or 2 legs one side: $490.00

Entire Jeans: $790.00

Unlimited Mending until your satisfy: $1,200.00

Including materials and labor.

 

Sashiko Stitching Custom

Sashiko has another purpose of strengthening the fabric. By me stitching directly onto your jeans, the fabric will be stronger and more durable.

All stitching is done by hand.

As of now, Asano-ha & Shippou Patterns are available.

Fee Estimate: 

Asano-ha Pattern 

1 leg 1 side: $180.00

1 leg both side: $320.00

Entire Jeans: $580.00

*With Kasane (to make both sides finished, the price will be 2.5 times as listed above.

Shippou Patten 

1 leg 1 side: $220.00

1 leg both side: $400.00

Entire Jeans: $650.00

Sample of Sashiko Mending Custom

Sample of Sashiko Stitching Custom

Beyond Repairing | Sashiko Denim Repair Service with Japanese Vintage Fabric

Sashiko Vintage Patchwork

Using the Japanese Vintage Fabric Swatches, we make the big fabric by patchworking it, then perform Sashiko and patch it on the Jeans.

You may design where and how to patch the fabric.

We would need to make the patchwork fabrics since the Japanese Vintage Fabric is very limited in the market. We will try to make your preference happen.

Fee Estimate: $1,500.00 and up.

Including materials and labor, and necessary Shipping fees. The work may be done in Japan.

Sashiko Tutorial Videos

Directory of Sashiko Tutorial Videos

Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya and Upcycle Stitches LLC create a series of Sashiko Tutorial Videos. We have a Youtube channel, and of course, every video is free to watch.

Here is a directory of Sashiko Tutorial Videos for the reference.

 

List of Sashiko Tutorial Videos

  1. How to do Sashiko Stitching ~ How to use Sashiko Thimble
    1. Another day of stitching (just stitching / no music no words)
  2. Transfer Sashiko Patterns on to the fabric
  3. How to Not to make knots in Sashiko ~ Overlay Stitching
  4. Making Itomaki Sashiko Thread Bobbin
  5. Denim Jeans Repair ~ Preview

 

How to do Sashiko Stitching

Sashiko requires a unique thimble in stitching. This is our first video with a challenge of showing how to use a Sashiko thimble. This is very important subject, so we will try to upload more sashiko tutorial videos.

 

 

 

Transfer Sashiko Patterns on to the fabric

A good Sashiko project does not indicate only stitching. The preparation of Sashiko fabric is a very important step to get the better Sashiko result. In this video, you can learn how we transfer Sashiko patterns onto the fabric. All of the supplies and materials are available online. Enjoy the video, and try it by yourself.

 

 

 

How to Not to make knots in Sashiko ~ Overlay Stitching

Most of the hand-stitching require the knots at the end of the thread to secure the stitching. In Sashiko, we occasionally do not make knots for the reasons. Instead of making knots, we secure the thread on the fabric by making overlay stitching. This is a video showing how to make overlay stitching instead of knots.

 

Making Itomaki Sashiko Thread Bobbin

Making Sashiko thread bobbin (ITOMAKI) is a minor project. However, it is very important to learn how to keep your Sashiko thread in a good shape. Sashiko thread is more expensive than the other types of embroidery thread. Our Sashiko thread has the length of the 145 meter and it is pretty long. Take a moment and watch the video so you will not waste any Sashiko thread you get.

 

Denim Jeans Repair ~ Preview

Sashiko is becoming famous because many people enjoy the Denim Repair. So do we.