One of the tasks I had to prepare to take to Fujino, Japan in November 2019 for my workshop, was a work of Mokume.
From Japan, they sent me a cardboard box with beautiful stamps containing several cuts of cloth, patterns, some special pencils with orchid ink (which disappears as soon as it comes into contact with water), threads and needles. The larger fabric was intended for us to make a design to our liking. It was a project that would end up being a huge scarf in Mokume.
The word Mokume means wood grain. That is, the idea is to imitate the drawing of the wood grain on a fabric. And, to achieve this, hundreds of parallel lines are sewn onto a piece of fabric.
It is a very laborious work that takes many hours of sewing by hand parallel lines.
Once finished, the fabric is moistened and it begins to gather by pulling the threads tightly one by one taking care not to cut it and, then knotted tightly. Generally during this process, the wet thread produces deep and painful cuts in the fingers.
When the fabric is all gathered, it is ready to dye.
The dyeing process can consist of submerging the fabric between seven to ten times in the indigo, depending on the intensity we are seeking in our indigo, with its oxidation time between each dive.
Once the dyeing process is finished, it is time to cut the threads of the Mokume one by one. It is a difficult task because the freshly dyed fabric is wet and the intense color of the indigo does not allow differentiating the threads to be cut from the fabric and, there is a serious risk of cutting the fabric unintentionally and, damaging all the work of several days. But, once all the threads have been cut and removed, the magical and long-awaited moment arrives ... the Mokume's fantastic work is finally revealed.