ABOUT JAPANESE MATERIALS

Kimono Fabric · Nishijin Ori · Seagrass & Tatami · Washi Paper · Charcoal

KOFU = Vintage Style Kimono Fabric

About KOFU (Kimono fabric):
Many decades ago, kimono was an everyday garment. Japanese selected and maintained their kimono with much love. Kimono fabric has many different patterns and each pattern has a very deep meaning. Most designs are of natural scenery and animals. Many of these symbolize 'luck'. Some examples are pine tree, bamboo, plum, cherry, turtle, crane, rabbit, etc.

New Trend:
Since modernization, Japanese lifestyles changed and kimono became a formal occasional dress. However, there has been a revival of kimono in a new way. In the last few years, kimono fabric has regained it's popularity among young people in the forms of fashion accessories, decorations, casual wear, ornaments etc. Modern style combined with traditional Japanese material is becoming popular around the world.

Types of Kimono Fabric Materials:
Kimono fabric are made of silk, cotton, rayon, polyester, and hemp.

    Chirimen (Crepe) : Chirimen crepe has unique fine wrinkles with the touch and texture of silk. Chirimen is the largest selling Kimono material in Japan. Today, Chirimen can be silk, polyester, or rayon. Silk and Rayon will shrink after washing even in cold water but polyester will not. Polyester Chirimen is softer, with less wrinkles and less gloss. Most of Nagomi's purses and apparel are made with polyester Chirimen Crape for easy care.
    Kinran (Gold Brocade) : Kinran is a Gold Brocade. It uses gold foil, silver foil, gold and silver thread, weaved with white thread as warp, so the patterns are embossed. Kinran is mostly used for Obi (sash for Kimono) and for theatre costumes.
    Nishijin ori (Textile) : Traditional artistic and luxurious highest quality weaves. See Nishijin Ori.
    Kyo Yuzen and Kyo Komon (dyeing methods) : Kyo Yuzen is a traditional stencil dyeing technique that originated in the 8th century. Yuzen allows a complicated pattern of many colours to be dyed. A special technique prevents the colours from running together, resulting in intricate, vibrant patterns.
    Kyo Komon is the dyeing style with patterns of delicate, refined, small shapes. Both Yuzen and Komon dyeing task is delegated to a specialist. Thus, it is a combined effort by many artisans.
    Care Instructions for kimono material : Hand wash in cold water. Use iron on LOW heat setting except cotton which can be iron on mid-high heat setting.

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NISHIJIN-ORI Weaves
Textile Art Coloured by 1200 Year old Tradition

About Nishijin ori:
Nishijin weaves are traditional artistic fabric made in Kyoto, Japan. Weavers use coloured and gold brocade with silk. It is well known in the world of textiles for its high quality and beauty. Most high end kimono and obi (belt for kimono) are made of Nishijin ori. Most of Nishijin designs are of natural scenery such as flowers and birds.

History:
When Kyoto was Japan's capital, weavers produced high-quality, luxury fabrics for the Imperial court and aristocracy. The technique was originally imported from China but the Japanese weavers made much progress. In 19th century, they sent experts to France and introduced modern technology such as power looms, computerized designing and engraving patterns.

Technique:
Nishijin technique is unrivaled in sophistication and elaboration. Nishijin ori uses yarn dyeing which utilizes more than 20 intermediate steps, each of which requires high skills. Yarns of different colours are woven together to create patterns. It goes throgh many stages from design drawing to yarn dyeing to weaving to finishing. Each task is performed by a specialist. Since they specialize in one task, ie. design only, they were able to develop and master their skills.

Kinran (Gold Brocade) :
Kinran is a Gold Brocade. It uses gold foil, silver foil, gold and silver thread, weaved with white thread as warp, so the patterns are embossed. Kinran is mostly used for Obi (Kimono belt) and for theatre costumes. Today, Kinran can be made of silk, or rayon. Rayon allows for easier maintenance and cost reduction while maintaining its beautiful look.

Care Instructions:
Hand wash in cold water. Use iron only on LOW heat setting. Do not store in plastic container. Do not use perfumed sachets. Let it breathe by hanging or laying flat in paper box or wrap in undyed tissue paper.

IGUSA = SEAGRASS/RUSH & TATAMI
Live in harmony with nature

About IGUSA :
Igusa is a perennial plant that grows wild in the damp area. It has traditionally been used to weave Tatami floor mats for 1300 years. Even now, every house in Japan has one Japanese room called Washitsu with tatami mats and shoji sliding doors.

Fine quality Igusa requires rich soil and lots of sunlight. Igusa is a subtle living substance that keeps breathing even after it's made into various products. Artisans weave Igusa products with minimal processing in order to keep Igusa as natural as possible.

Health Benefits:
Igusa takes in polluted particles such as nitrogen oxide in the air and acts as a purifier. It absorbs moisture when it's hot and emit moisture when it's dry. Thus, Igusa automatically creates a comfortable living atmosphere.

Sometimes we need to feel the earth with our bare feet to remeber how soil and grass feel like, because that is our roots and is related to our health. Igusa lets you breathe in nature's scent and feel the nature even at home. Nature is what gives you the strentgh to heal yourself. It is a healthy product that helps you relax and makes you feel warm and calm.

Igusa Today:
Igusa was traditinally natural colour, made into standard size Tatami mats. Today, Igusa is colourfully dyed and weaved in many patterns. Their designs fit right into the western style rooms. Tatami is a floor mat (ours has natural palm and wood board inside) with 2.1cm=.83" thickness. Goza is a thinner rug, similar to carpet. There are also cushions, window blinds, tapestry, room dividers, table runners and placemats, made of Igusa as well.

Igusa Production:
Igusa is planted in cold winter and harvested in hot summer. It is a time consuming and harsh task. Only the high quality Igusa, longer than 130cm and with uniform diameter, are selected. Then Igusa goes through dyeing process. Igusa grown in different field produce ununiformity in dyeing. After dyeing, bent Igusa and ones that did not dye evenly are removed. Slight colour difference can affect the weave. After weaved, Igusa is dried under natural sunlight. For finishig, the surface is rubbed with a loofa to make it glossy. Product is checked carefully and any imperfections are hand-mended.

Japanese Igusa vs others:
We sell only Japanese made Igusa products using only Igusa harvested in Japan. About 80% of Igusa products sold in Japan are made of Igusa from other Asian countries. These imported Igusa differ in production methods, and use more fertilizers and pesticides. For example, in China, Igusa is harvested earlier so the plants may be immature and unhealthy. Unhealthy Igusa turns black or dark brown over time and weaves are loose and surface shreds. The Japanese Igusa is tightly weaved and the surface is glossy. Igusa products we carry use more Igusa per product than most products produced by other manufacturers.

Igusa Care Instructions:

  • Wipe the surface with a dry cloth before using Igusa product
  • Do not use in extremely humid areas ie. bath, kitchen, or extremely dry areas, ie. near heater
  • Do not put carpet or rug on top of Igusa. Igusa needs to breathe.
  • To clean, gently vaccuum over surface or wipe with dry cloth. Stand it up or hang it 2-3 times a year. Avoid direct sunlightwhen doing this. Open the window when it's sunny. If mould start to appear, dry all sides well under direct sunlight, vaccuum and wipe with dry cloth.
  • For storage, stand it up or hang in shaded area (avoid sunlight) then wipe with dry cloth and store in dark place away from the sun, humidity and heater.
  • **Natural Igusa changes colour over time. Undyed Igusa changes from green to beige.

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    WASHI Japanese Paper
    WA = Japanese, SHI = Paper

    About Washi:
    Washi is a traditional Japanese paper made from the long inner fibres of three plants, all native to Japan. Trees and Paper have been a part of Japanese culture for a long time. Japenese people lived with soft, wam light coming through Shoji paper sliding doors. Washi lamps create similar peaceful feelings.

    Characteristics:
    Warmth - warmer to the touch, feels soft and creates a feeling of warmth.
    Body & Strength - Washi has a deceptive strength since the fibres are left long, pounded and stretched, rather than chopped. Washi is highly workable when wet. Rough edge makes a handsome paper.
    Soft translucency - Uses naturally translucent fibres.
    Absorbency - Absorbs ink and dyes.
    Flexibility - Resistant to creasing, wrinkling, and tearing.
    Low acidity - Lasts a long time
    Decoration - Used for decorative purpose for centuries.

    FORES brand Washi Lamps and Accessories :
    FORES uses traditional sophisticated techniques in making high quality, simple yet beautiful design Washi lamps.

    Not only lamps, there are many wall tapestries, roll-up screens, tapestries with vase that you can put live flower and water in, room dividers, clocks, etc. available in different sizes and patterns, all hand-made out of Washi Japanese paper.

    FORES GUARD and SUPER GUARD special coating on Washi paper:
    FORES GURAD is a coating which strengthens Washi paper, makes it dust repellent and less water absorbent. (Not all products have coatings) Look for FG=FORES GUARD in the product description.

    SUPER GUARD is a coating similar to FORES GUARD but even stronger. SUPER GUARD repells water and oil, and enables rincing Washi with water and even a light rubbing uner the water. (Not all products have coatings) Look for SG=SUPER GUARD in the product description.

    FORES GUARD and SUPER GUARD coatings help Washi paper last longer and reduces the chances of paper ripping. The coatings are tested in Japan for safety.

    Since all FORES Washi paper products are hand-made, Washi patterns and colours may vary slightly from one another.

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    SUMI = CHARCOAL
    Charcoaled Wood and Bamboo Ornaments

    Healthy, Theraputic, and Aesthetic. Big hit in Japan.

    Benefits :
    Charcoaled wood and bamboo offers many benefits. It cleans the air, absorbs bad odour, and harmful particles. It humidifies the air when its dry, and absorbs moisture when its humid. It also absorbs electromagnetic waves, and gives off enerty and minus ion. More minus ion means cleaner, fresher air, which helps releave stress and relaxes you.

    Thus charcoaled wood and bamboo adjust the atmosphere naturally, creating a healthy environment for us.

    About Charcoaled wood and bamboo :
    Trees and Bamboo absorb minerals such as water, sunlilght, minerals from soil, during their growth. When they are charcoaled, they become water soluble minerals. They also have a few hundreds of small holes which allow water and air to pass through easily.

    Ideal Place for Charcoal Ornaments:
    - by computer or other electronics: absorbs electromagnetic waves
    - in bathroom, shoe closet, car, in a room: absorbs bad odour, moisture, harmful particles in the air.

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