Online Sashiko Gathering Cover

Online Sashiko Gathering | The core of Sashiko

I often wonder what Sashiko was for the Japanese in 17th or 18th century. A few hundred years later, I am sharing the Sashiko they had practiced. One of the core concept of Sashiko is a sense of community – not stitching technique, design of pattern, or accuracy of each stitches. Sashiko provided the time & place where people can get together, talk to each other, make sure everyone is okay, and stitch. It is my honor to offer the “Online Sashiko Gathering” – where we simply share the time and place over stitching & talking no matter where you are in the world.


What is Online Sashiko Gathering

Online Sashiko Gathering (OSG) is a Zoom meeting where people get together for stitching and talking. OSG is not a structured workshop or class to teach on Sashiko. A participant will bring their own stitching project, and stitch in front of the camera/smartphone sharing a beautiful time (community). There are no restriction, no time table, no assignments. Although I set up the rules to keep the OSG a healthy place, I believe a mutual respect will keep me offering the online Sashiko gathering. Please join us as if you are visiting your friend/family house for the purpose of stitching. A glass of wine and/or a cup of hot tea may be a good accompany.

Who can join the OSG

Ideally, I would like to have anyone who enjoy Sashiko. However, to keep the gathering healthy and satisfactory, please let me prioritize the students/friends who have taken (are taking) Atsushi’s Sashiko Workshop/Online Sashiko Class.

My goal is to involve everyone. This is not a rejection to anyone who have not taken Atsushi’s workhop, it is just a prioritizing for organizing purpose. Please check the paragraph of “How to join the OSG” below even if you are not taking the Sashiko Workshop/Class by Atsushi. At the same time, please consider taking the Online Sashiko Class. Many gave me a feedback that it was an eye-opening experience.

How to join the OSG

Please fill out the simple registration form below. I will send you an invitation following the priority list.

https://forms.gle/zEtw81C3tagxPU5a7

Online Sashiko Gathering doesn’t require any preparation but just installing the Zoom App on your device. However, it may be more satisfactory when you prepare your device to look at the screen while you sharing the stitching. Please check this article for the preparation you may need for joining the Zoom Session (This article is designed for those who takes the Online Sashiko Class & Live Session).

How much does it cost to join

A free of charge! (If you think it is “too generous”, please advise me. I couldn’t come up with pricing, and I say, “let’s do it first and then think”.)

When is the Online Sashiko Gathering

I will schedule whenever I can… It really depends on the school schedule of my daughter as well. Such a strange time & Such a new world. The dates below are confirmed.

  • Friday, July 31st, 2020, around 8 pm EST (Time will be flexible).
  • Friday, August 28th, 2020. Around 8 pm EST starting.

Online Sashiko Gathering Rules and Terms

  • Please respect each other. That’s the principal of this Sashiko Gathering. Please be nice & polite as much as you can.
  • Please keep any discussion & topics within the Sashiko Gathering, unless you get the permission from the person and/or an entire group. The participants may share their personal stories. I would like to keep the OSG as a safe place where anyone can say anything. Please do not “share” the conversation outside of the OSG with non-participants. (It is okay to share that you join the OSG, but not what happened there.)
  • I (Atsushi) will start the OSG at the scheduled time, but I may not be there for the entire time. This is a gathering anyone from any places in the world can join. I would like to welcome everyone over the time-difference. I may assign the “host” assignment someone else so that the gathering can keep going. I offer the Online Sashiko Gathering in Japanese twice a month for 2 years. It can go up to 16 hours (I know it is crazy), and I cannot be there for 16 hours. There is no set-ending time. As long as people wants to talk & stitch, The OSG continues (24 hours is the maximum due to the Zoom capacity).
  • Atsushi & hosts will have permission to remove/reject a participants who are disrespectful this Online Sashiko Gathering.
  • Atsushi may use a photo of Online Sashiko Gathering, with asking for the permission of usage.

I will keep adding the rules and terms. Please advise me if you have anything to be added or removed.


Registration Form

Please fill out the form to be on the list. I will send you an invitation to join the Google Group where I share the link to join the Online Sashiko Gathering. Please contact Atsushi if you do not receive the invitation 30 days after completing this form. Please be advised that Only Workshop/Class graduate will receive the invitation as of August 2020 due to high numbers of request.

Keiko Futatsuya Sashiko Designer

Keiko Futatsuya | Genius Sashiko Designer

Keiko Futatsuya is a founder of Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya and a Sashiko artist herself. What makes her so special is her Sashiko designing sense. She always surprises me with her new Sashiko design. I believe she is a type of genius in Sashiko designing.

 

30+ years of Sashiko experience

Keiko studied a dressmaking in vocational school after she had graduated high-school. When she was in early 20’s, she married to Yuichi Futatsuya, who was the second generation of Sashiko business. First, she wasn’t allowed to make Sashiko art pieces for sale since she was an outsider and didn’t share the traditions. However, regardless of strict restriction, she learned how to stitch from other Sashiko artisans and enjoyed the beauty of Sashiko. Even when her products didn’t line up on the store shelve, she kept making Sashiko art. It is simply because she liked Sashiko.

After so many years of Sashiko experience, Yuichi and I decided to shift the Sashiko business from “making many small products as craft” to “making one-of-a-kind art.” In the process of making one of a kind art, Keiko’s sense of Sashiko designing finally got a spotlight.

 

Keiko Futatsuya Designing Sashiko Jacket

 

It isn’t easy to anticipate the result in Sashiko

In terms of Sashiko stitching, she doesn’t have the best skill. Although her Sashiko technique is sufficient to call her artist, her significance is to anticipate the result in Sashiko and Vintage Fabric combination. For example, a woman in her 70’s, who is also a part of Keiko’s Sashi.Co team, has the supreme Sashiko technique. Her hands move like a machine and Keiko strongly depends on her skill. However, the supreme Sashiko technique doesn’t connect to the ability to make a beautiful Jacket.

*Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya is a group of Sashiko artisans. Not all the Sashiko stitchings are done by Keiko, but everything is supervised by Keiko.

 

 

Sashiko Jackets Collection Keiko Futatsuya

 

Keiko’s basic knowledge of dressmaking, her 30 years of observing and enjoying Sashiko, and her design sense make this completely exclusive collection possible.

It isn’t easy to anticipate the result of Sashiko product. It may look on a paper, on a computer screen, or even on a process of matching the fabric and thread. However, the result can be very different from what we imagined after stitching Sashiko on the actual fabric. It is the beauty of hand-making art.

 

Things Only Keiko Futatsuya can do

In addition to her Sashiko designing sense, she has a great technique to repair the BORO.

The 2 photos below is the Boro of before and after. In order to complete this challenging repair project, the artist has to have an understanding of the vintage fabric, good Sashiko techniques, and the sense of matching all the vintage fabrics. By looking at these results, I cannot change my mind that she is the genius in Sashiko stitching and Boro repairing.

Boro Artist Keiko Futatsuya -1 Boro Artist Keiko Futatsuya -2

 

 

Keiko Futatsuya is a supervisor of Upcycle Stitches LLC operation regarding Sashiko such as workshops, tutorials, and articles. If you have any questions about her, please contact us. She doesn’t speak English, but I am happy to translate your question and ask her on behalf of you. Please be advised that the question and answer may be shared on this website after getting the permision.

 

 

Atsushi Futatsuya

Atsushi Futatsuya | Sashiko Artisan & Curator

Hello. My name is Atsushi Futatsuya. In the USA, I often introduce myself “Azu” as my nickname. It is an honor to share what Sashiko is based on my life-long experience.

Meet Atsushi Futatsuya on Youtube

It is much easier to know who I am by watching me talking. Please check what I would like to share about Sashiko on the Youtube Channel.

The Workshop Schedule for 2020

Atsushi Futatsuya offers Sashiko Workshop mainly in East Coast of the USA,  NYC and Brooklyn Area. (Atsushi lives in PA, 4 hours driving from NYC.) In order to learn Sashiko from him, attending the in-person workshop is the best way. Alternatively, the Online Sashiko Class is available for those who wish to learn without traveling.

Sashiko Workshop Update in Covid-19

Under the pandemic of Covid-19, in order to secure everyone’s safety, all of the In-person Sashiko Workshop has been cancelled for 2020. Instead, I had spend as much effort as possible for developing the better Online Sashiko Class. After sharing the Online Sashiko Class with more than 50 students (who are now my friends), I believe I can deliver the same contents via Online. Please check our Online Sashiko Class.


Let me please introduce myself to share why I am running this website to share what Japanese Sashiko is.

 

I was born in Sashiko Family

Did you have a “planned future” in your childhood, that your family kept mentioning?

I was born in a surviving Sashiko Family in Gifu prefecture, Japan. In my childhood, my friends were Sashiko artisans who worked in our family business. There was a pile of fabric, scary numbers of needles and thimbles, and so many colored threads. I strongly remember many people told me that I will take over the business when I get older. It was the Japanese tradition for the first-born child to take over the family business, especially in the traditional crafting family.

And, of course, I hated my fate.

Regardless of my Sashiko techniques I naturally learned, I purely didn’t want to be in the Sashiko business in my adolescence. It wasn’t easy to get out of the rails many people prepared, so I decided to get out from the country. I decided to go to the university in the States. 

Atsushi Futatsuya in Collage

 

 

Sashiko Business to Sashiko life-style

After I had graduated from the university, I started working in Tokyo. I still didn’t want to take over Sashiko business. My parents were still 50’s, and I thought I could avoid a serious conversation about who would be responsible to the family business later on.

However, in 2008, my father called me if I could help him to run the business. The business went into a bad debt, and they could use some help from financial aspects.  After deep consideration, I decided to go back to the family business mentioning that I am only doing so to  “help,” not “take over.”

Sashiko as Business is very difficult to operate

After I spend some weeks checking the financial sheets, I realize that the Sashiko as a business could be very difficult to operate. In Sashiko, almost everything is hand-made. The keywords for business models of ordinary manufacture industry such as productivity, cost reduction planning, just-in-time system, and a lot more didn’t apply. I tried to understand the reason of debt. After all, recalculating all the possible cost, even if they are all done by hand and unique by one, helped to figure the “right” price. After two years of looking Sashiko with numbers, the company could avoid the bankruptcy. However, I couldn’t see the future. I didn’t find the possibility of growth.

Share what we are proud of

In 2010, I changed my mindset. Instead of focusing on growth, I started planning on “soft landing” of the business. It is almost impossible to make a fortune of money. However, I thought, it may be possible to “soft-land” the business so everyone can avoid the miserable bankruptcy. At that point, my mind shifted from numbers to what Sashiko actually is. I realize the beauty of Sashiko. It is the time I start trying to repair my denim jeans.

Around this time, I started introducing Sashiko in English. Then, I had opportunities to perform workshops in the Netherlands.

Atsushi Futatsuya Workshop in Netherlands

Why am I doing this?

As much as I enjoyed introducing Sashiko, the beautiful culture we were proud of, I started to wonder if why I was doing this besides the fact I was born in the family. I couldn’t find the purpose of sharing Sashiko, especially after I realize that Sashiko as a business may discontinue after elderly artisans stopped working for us. I coulnd’t reason myself to continue Sashiko business with sacrifice my days in 20’s.

Then, the Tohoku Earthquake occurred in 2011.

By supporting Tohoku throughout Sashiko, I realize the meaning of continuing Sashiko culture, to pass down the culture to the next generation.

After my father had passed away

In 2013, on October, my father had passed away unexpectedly.

Although my mind wasn’t ready to take over the business without my father, I had a determination that I was the one to take over his will to the company. I didn’t hate the fate I had as Sashiko Business Manager.

Long story short, life is full of dramas, my mother and I were fired by the new stakeholders who found out that the company had some cash. We knew the reason for this inhuman action. My mother and I were troublesome to deal with. We didn’t care about the short-term profit. We focused on how to continue the culture in form of a business entity. In 2013, I lost the identity as Atsushi Futatsuya as Sashiko business manager.

Upcycle & Sashiko Culture as Atsushi Futatsuya

After the unbelievable moment that our life changed, I decided to move to the United States. It was just too painful to stay in Japan. I told my mother that she could come with me, but she decided to stay in Japan. She had many friends, her precious dog, and my brother who just jumped into the society. She couldn’t just leave things behind. As much as I worried about her, we decided to start our new life without Sashiko.

 

Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya started in 2015

About June in 2014, my mother called me with a serious voice, saying “I would like to do Sashiko…”

She loves Sashiko. She couldn’t live without it. She could enjoy just stitching, but she also wanted to make big pieces and entertain people who love Sashiko. She asked me if I could help her to make her Sashiko as a business again. Although I was expecting to be a stay at home dad in the coming year, I agreed to help her to be Sashiko business owner. Then, she started the project called, Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya ~ Designing a life with Sashiko ~ with many helps around her.

What can I do as Atsushi Futatsuya?

Sashi.Co & Keiko Futatsuya is getting bigger, and my mother enjoys her projects more and more. She provides beautiful Sashiko fabric to a fashion brand, she repairs the most beautiful vintage fabrics for a fashion designer as “To-Be-Boro”, and she makes great Sashiko pieces with her friends. Her income itself isn’t enough to support her days yet, but her enjoyment is what I value the most.

In 2017, I established a company called Upcycle Stitches LLC. This website is the company’s website.

I host Sashiko workshops. I provide Sashiko supplies and materials with sharing Sashiko techniques and skills. Based on my experience, it is my time to think what I can do as Atsushi Futatsuya, not as the 3rd generation of Sashiko business family.

It is our new journey to embrace Sashiko. My mission is to share what Sashiko is, to the world. Again, Hello world. This is Atsushi Futatsuya. I am a Sashiko Artisan and Curator of Sashiko Story.

Support Atsushi & Keiko’s Activity

In 2019, I learned that there is a platform to support the artisans/story-teller. It is called “Patreon”. We made a platform mainly to support Keiko, and I share many Sashiko stories on there (As of November 2020, I have about 100 stories to read). Those stories are not about “How-to do Sashiko”, but more like “What is Sashiko in the Japanese culture”. I have many more stories to share to the world. Your suppport is very much appreciate for us to continue our activity.