Shibori Furoshiki from KyotoNovember 22, 2013

by Jessica Warner

I'm excited to introduce Boulder customers to spectacular shibori furoshiki from Kyoto-based shibori artisan Kazuki Tabata. Tabata, who learned shibori dyeing from his father, quit his day-job to devote his career to keeping alive this Japanese dyeing tradition, which dates back to the 8th century. Tabata is a traditional craft artisan who is certified by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. If you have ever tried shibori dyeing - which involves twisting, folding, stitching and clamping fabric before dyeing - you will be blown away by Tabata's sophisticated designs, which take this ancient technique to new levels! 

At the Twofold Holiday Shop in Boulder, Dec 6 - 12, we will be selling some gorgeous furoshiki from Tabata. Furoshiki are wrapping cloths, used to wrap packages and make bags by folding and tying. These are large furoshiki squares, measuring 40" x 40". We'll be demonstrating how to fold furoshiki at our opening party on Friday, Dec 6 from 5 - 7pm. We hope you'll join us!  Click here for further information or email






Paper Roll Scarves from NUNOOctober 07, 2013

by Jessica Warner

We are pleased to introduce the Paper Roll scarf from Tokyo-based NUNO!  This NUNO classic has a crinkly paper-like texture and is not as delicate as it looks! The scarf is made with polyester tape that has been sewn together on a background of soluble fabric. Once the base layer is dissolved, the cobweb-like design is held together with stitches. The Paper Roll scarf was recently featured in 365 Charming Everyday Things, an exhibition of Japanese design for every day of the year, which was presented in Japan and Paris.



This spectacular scarf also looks great hung against a white wall as seen below from a NUNO exhibition at the MOMA Design store in Tokyo last year. (NUNO is part of MOMA's permanent collection.)


Introducing YamashiroOctober 05, 2013

by Jessica Warner

In Kyoto in May, we stumbled upon a little gem of a store selling products from Yamashiro, a 60-year old company that is known for its crepe cotton. Their small  shop is located in the same neighborhood as Kyoto Design House, which is a great area for browsing. We fell in love with their vivid polka dot scarves and we're delighted to now be selling them on Twofold! The scarves are hand-dyed using the itajime shibori method in which the fabric is folded and clamped with a circle-shaped resist before dyeing. Yamashiro is dedicated to making contemporary products using old Japanese textiles and techniques and their polka dot scarves are a great example of a Japanese form updated!



Virginia Johnson Sumo SweaterSeptember 08, 2013

by Jessica Warner

How cute is this new cashmere sumo sweater from illustrator & textile designer Virginia Johnson?! It makes me think of the sumo tournament we saw in Tokyo in May!


Reiko Sudo - Nuno CorporationJuly 09, 2013

by Jessica Warner

In Tokyo our group had the pleasure of meeting Reiko Sudo, head designer and co-founder of the legendary NUNO Corporation. Reiko had just returned from Melbourne where she was a speaker at the agIdeas 2013 International Design Week. It was interesting to hear Reiko talk about how NUNO's fabric design, which is very experimental and cutting-edge, is also rooted in Japanese textile traditions.

An example of reinterpreting Japanese textile traditions is seen in this scarf (pictured on the left), which looks like crushed shibori. Using the traditional Japanese dyeing method as a starting-point, Reiko developed this fabric by placing dye-coated paper, containing holes, on top of silk. The fabric is then pinched through the holes and flattened before the dye is heat-transferred to the fabric. This technique gives an edginess to traditional shibori. We'll be selling this scarf in blue and copper at the pop-up shop in August. On the right are two fabrics that are created using a dissolvable base fabric, upon which smaller fabric pieces are sewn.

It was also interesting to hear Reiko talk about the recent exhibition of traditional Japanese textiles that she and her team curated for Found MUJI, the MUJI concept store in Aoyama, Tokyo. She told us about the many weekends she and her colleagues spent visiting textile-makers all over Japan during research for the exhibition. I wish I could have seen it! Check the blog for gorgeous images such as this one below. Reiko took many of these photos herself!



Shou-Sugi-BanJuly 05, 2013

by Jessica Warner

We're building an office/studio/guest-room in our backyard and we're exploring options for the exterior. One idea we're looking into is shou-sugi-ban, which is an old Japanese method of burning wood to make it fire-resistant. We just received these shou-sugi-ban samples from a company in Austin, Texas called Delta Millworks. There are so many different options! Below are some photos I took in Kyoto with examples of black interiors and exteriors.


                                          (This feature wall, pictured left, is actually lined with black paper)


Nezu Museum, TokyoJune 17, 2013

by Jessica Warner

Our first morning in Tokyo was spent at the Nezu Museum, an oasis in Tokyo. Designed by architect Kengo Kumo, the new museum building (re-opened in 2009) features classic Japanese design elements applied in a thoroughly contemporary way. The irises in full bloom in the museum's garden complemented the stunning iris screens we saw by 17th-century artist Ogata Korin. Susan, JM and Catherine are pictured below in the light-filled cafe, which has a translucent washi ceiling.





Kyototo & its NeighborsJune 17, 2013

by Jessica Warner

On our first morning in Kyoto we had the pleasure of meeting Kayoko Horiba, the designer of Kyototo, and Yasuyo Fujimoto, who is a batik and felt artist who translated for us. Kayoko gave us a sneak peak at their new line of products and also demonstrated to us two ways to tie furoshiki, the Japanese wrapping cloth. Click here to see the video! Kyototo makes quirky, contemporary versions of traditional Japanese items, such as tenugui, furoshiki and tabi. Their Ta-Wa-Ra neck cushion is made by the same atelier that makes traditional zabuton for Tenryuji Temple in Arashiyama, Kyoto.


Kyototo's store has the most charming location, just down the hill from Yasaka Pagoda, not far from Kyomizu-dera. Here are same maiko (geiko in training) pictured on the street outside the store!


Kyototo also has some great neighbors including Uragu Hatch, a lovely stationary store and Bungakudo, a cute kimono and accessory store with the best windows!






Indigo PotJune 10, 2013

by Jessica Warner

I love this photo, taken by Anneke, of our group at the indigo pot!


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Japanese Textile WorkshopJune 01, 2013

by Jessica Warner

The highlight of our trip to Japan were the five days we spent in Fujino, a beautiful town outside Tokyo, where we were guests of Bryan Whitehead.  Bryan is Canadian but has lived in Japan for 25 years and is an expert in Japanese textiles.  He lives in a rustic Japanese farmhouse situated amongst verdant, lush mountains.  This is the view from the second floor of the farmhouse.  While we were there, these fish flags flew over town for Children's Day.  Also pictured below is the farmhouse exterior and Catherine reading in Bryan's cosy living room (Love the indigo-dyed curtains!).



Bryan grows his own indigo and also breeds silk worms.  Two large indigo pots flank the entrance to his house. In addition to dyeing, Bryan also weaves and he has several looms set up inside his house.  This is Bryan at the indigo pot and collecting wisteria for ikebana.


Our workshops with Bryan included shibori and katazome stencil dyeing in indigo.  Below is a lovely picture of Catherine at the indigo pot and a photo of me rinsing my shibori-dyed fabric in the river.  As this photo was taken another piece of fabric started floating down the river and I had to run -- rather ungracefully -- over the slippery rocks in plastic slippers to retrieve it! 


Its always fun removing the shibori stitches to reveal the pattern after dyeing -- Susan made this stunning piece on the left. On the right are katazome-dyed samples by Bryan.


Each morning we gathered in the living room where Bryan introduced us to various Japanese textiles and showed us pieces from his collection. 


Bryan's house is filled with gorgeous ikebana arrangements done by the lovely Hiro, who is a Japanese-Brazilian ikebana artist.  This is the spectacular ikebana arrangement on the third-floor where the guest rooms are located.

Hiro gave us an ikebana lesson and here he is below working magic with the flowers!  It was a lot of fun to try (although weirdly difficult...) and Hiro had the most beautiful selection of flowers, branches and vines for us to work with. The wisteria was collected from the forest behind the farmhouse.


We ate incredible food at Bryan's house, prepared by his friend Shuji, who works as a lawyer in Tokyo and spends the weekends in Fujino where he has a pottery studio.  Have I mentioned that Bryan's house is filled with the most interesting people?  It was like Grand Central Station with talented creative friends coming and going.  Here's some of Shuji's food and pottery.


We also had the privilege of meeting Ogata-san, Bryan's 95-year old friend and one of the most inspiring older woman I've met!  She cooked hand-made udon noodles for us and prepared lunch for about 15 people!  In addition to cooking, she also gardens and does shibori stitching!  Bryan's friend Aiko, who is a fashion designer (Carol bought a dress she made - wish I had a photo!), came over with her trunk of kimono and Ogata-san helped dress us.  That was quite a moment - to have the arms of a 95-year old woman around me while she tied the obi.  Here she is making udon and dressing Susan in kimono.

Bryan took us out to dinner at Shu, a restaurant belonging to his friend, and he also arranged for some friends to play music that night.  In a stroke of serendipity, there just happened to be a singer and Elvis look-alike from Tokyo eating at the restaurant that night.  He sang classic American cover songs and we had fun, fabulous evening!


Thank you, Bryan, for giving us such a rich experience!  Thanks also to everyone who helped out while we were there.  Shuji, thanks for the delicious home-cooking; Hiro, thank-you for sharing ikebana with us; Anneke, thank you for the pots of tea & fabulous presence; Ishikawa-san, thank you for taking us places & for the lovely baskets; Mini & Henry, thank you for sharing your space with us!