Okinawa's Craftsmanship Support Center

In September 2011, I visited Okinawa's Craftsmanship Support Center in Haebaru, where I followed a 6 months-course in 2007-2008.

I used the loom at the left.

I was the first foreigner who could register in the center. The reason is that there are some conditions to be fulfilled. One of them is that you have to prove that you live in Okinawa permanently and that you are in a situation that you will use the technique within Okinawa Prefecture afterwards. At that time, all those conditions were fulfilled and I had no purpose yet to return to Belgium. I am still very greatful to the center that they accepted me, because I tried 3 times to register and only the 3rd time I was accepted. The technique I wanted to learn was the typical Okinawan warp ikat without waste of yarn.

This weave was about 11 meters long. 
In the weft, I used banana fibre which I cultivated myself.

These are some of the Okinawan banana fibre plants I started to cultivate in 2003.
The extraction of the fibre is a complicated procedure, which I will explain another time.

Okinawa - a weaver in Haebaru Weaving Center

                                                                              September 2011

Okinawan ikat weaving

During my trip to Okinawa in September 2011, I visited different weaving workshops and weaving centers. The closest center is Haebara, where I like to go, because it is open to visitors. The weavers there mainly weave Ryukyu-gasuri. Near the workshop, there is also a shop where one can buy hand-made weavings and garments. I was lucky, because when I visited the center, there were rests of dyed yarn available. One of the employees recognised me from a picture in a newspaper article dated a few years ago.

flyer promoting 'Ryukyu Kasuri' and 'Haebaru hana-ori'.

'Ryukyu Kasuri' is typical Okinawan ikat.
'Hana' litterally means 'flower' and refers to the cute patterns made of fine weft float weaving.
'Ori' stands for 'weaving (technique)'. 

The shop at Haebaru Weaving Center (Okinawa, Japan)

Japanese weaving yarn

During my trip in Okinawa in September 2011, I bought some new yarn to weave in Belgium.

I ordered silk and cotton yarn from mainland Japan.
I will have to clean this yarn first and then dye.

I also bought colourfully dyed cotton 
in Haebaru Weaving Center (Okinawa)