Thursday, March 01, 2007

a good day for crafts

the people who organize the handmade market at chion-ji temple that i've blogged about before, also are involved with another handmade market in kyoto, this one on the 1st thursday of every month, here. it's in a big park, which was nice and sunny today. by the time i found my way there, it was around 3:30 and everyone was packing up. but it looked great, very similar to the chion-ji market, with lots of traditional and contemporary crafts, from handmade lacquered bowls to linen slippers and everything in between. i will definitely check it out again, and if you do, i suggest you go in the morning!

it's walkable from the kyoto train station, 15 minutes due west.
when you get to this pedestrian overpass, you are half way there. take the stairs that veer to the right, and when you go down on the other side of the street, walk to right of the school and continue west.
here's a view from the inside of the kyoto train station, looking down on the mister donuts and cafe du monde open air food court. i was on my way up to the excellent tourist info center on the 9th floor. i was doing research about what kinds of traditional craft classes i can try out with my mom when she comes to visit in june. and there are tons! i'm very excited (and i hope mom is too) to try indigo dying, traditional weaving, and wax resist printing, just to name a few.
but...the best part of my day craftwise happened at the yarn shop, kin no hitsuji, which i've blogged about before too. since it takes over an hour for me to get to kyoto, it's kind of a far local yarn store, but they have great wool for felting and great books. after going there so many times i've lost count, they all know who i am, and i think i know all the people who work there too! i thought they might be a family (mom, dad, two grown daughters, and grandma) but i don't think that's actually the case. so today i finally bought a book for myself that i've been eyeing for months. it has some felt projects and some spinning and weaving. i can't read it (in japanese of course) but the most exciting part are the photos showing the natural dye process and the natural materials that the author goes out and gathers to dye wool. so when i was buying the book, i asked if they knew of any classes about natural dyes...and it turns out that they teach classes at the shop! so i signed up for a one day class in march that includes spinning, carding and dyeing (perhaps not in that order). oh boy. i was literally skipping down the street.
and then i discovered the muji in kyoto that has a muji restaurant, so i got to eat this lovely healthily meal.
then, i walked past this shop, sisam, which has fair trade products, including these cool felt cushions.