Tuesday, 29 May 2018

From the Kogin Festival in Aomori

The last month has been so busy, and I had very little time to blog.  I went to Japan for a fortnight with Katie from Japan Crafts, and we had a brilliant trip.  One of our main reasons for going at the end of April and traveling around Japan during Golden Week (when it can be very busy everywhere) was to go to the Kogin Festival at Hirosaki, which was amazing and really worth making a special trip.

We saw some incredible work, old and new.

We met some of the artists exhibiting there.  Keiko Kawamoto from Olympus (sashiko & kogin thread company) traveled all the way from Nagoya to spend the day with us too.

Katie trying on the bodice panel of an old Koginu work jacket - this one is Nishi Kogin style (all over pattern).

Modern kogin is much more colourful.

Kogin can even be used to create pictures.

Lots of small, cute items on display, including these kokeshi dolls wrapped with kogin.

So many beautiful things for sale, from hand dyed threads and fabrics to kogin kits and finished items.

Of course, we had to have a bit of fun stitching too!

After a rather bizarre start to the trip, when our first flight was cancelled and we ended up arriving in Japan on the right date but in the wrong city, we traveled to Aomori Prefecture on the Hayabusa shinkansen on Friday 27th April and managed to arrive in time to visit the Kogin Institute as well as going to the festival on the Saturday.

Since I visited in 2014, Hirosaki station has had a bit of a makeover, with kogin designs decorating just about every surface!

It was very busy in the city, and the train from Shin Aomori to Hirosaki was packed on the Friday afternoon, because it coincided with the 100th Hirosaki sakura matsuri (cherry blossom festival).  The park around the castle was packed.

It was a great start to our trip and very useful for me, because I'm currently working on a book of Kogin patterns which will be published by D&C in spring 2019.

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