Great Skill

Contributed by Evelyn Leung.

Workshop participant Evelyn Leung threading a tiny needle at Yano-san’s conservation workshop. The eye of the needle is barely larger than a single strand of silk.

As someone who has been constructing garments for over a decade using western techniques, visiting the workshops of these Japanese craftsmen has been the most enlightening experience.  Hearing the meditative “chunk-kathunk” of the weaving looms and seeing the silk fabric growing millimeter by millimeter as tiny slivers of gold paper are woven in has given me new appreciation for kimono and obi, and their exorbitant price tags are well-justified.

Yano-san indicates that this is Evelyn’s “audition.”

The delicacy required to apply the gold leaf is astounding, just like the resultant products.  It is obvious that each of these craftsmen has great skill, developed by years of training.

The pressure builds with a room full of people watching –
including conservation professionals.

I only wish that I would have had a chance to try all these techniques at their respective workshops, but then I’d probably owe them thousands of dollars for messing up their projects.

Success! Evelyn passes the audition.
If you’re looking for a costumer who can thread a single strand of silk,
you’ve found the right person

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About Theatre Nohgaku

Noh, one of the oldest continuing stage arts, combines highly stylized dance, chant, music, mask and costume with intense inner concentration and physical discipline, creating a uniquely powerful theatrical experience. Theatre Nohgaku’s mission is to share noh’s beauty and power with English speaking audiences and performers. We have found that this traditional form retains its dramatic effectiveness in languages other than Japanese. We believe noh techniques hold a powerful means of expression in the context of contemporary English language theatre.
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