Ukwanshin sponsored kimono class began last night with this first group of future kimono makers snipping and measuring out their material panels that will eventually come together to become their first self made kimono work. In the LooChoo,Okinawan tradition, this was a very important part of culture and everyday life. The sewing together of a garment also infused the spirit of the seamster, and the stitches were believed to help hold in the spirit an protect. That is why as part of the requiem ceremony after death, the stitches of the side panels were removed to release the spirit from this world.
The purpose of this workshop is to pass on this art form and to create a pool of kimono makers so that we have resources to be able to call upon for dance costumes, obon, or if anyone just needs a kimono. It was good to see that the group was all young members, as many who can sew now are in their 70’s or 80’s. Mrs. Miyashiro is the “shinshi” for the kimono workshop, and has a background in working with kimono making and repair from a young age, as her family had a material business in Kyoto. She is still spry and sharp at her young age of 81yrs.
There was a great response to the announcement of this workshop a couple of moonths ago, and the class filled within a day or two. We had to turn some away, but hope that we can have another session to accomodate others who would like to learn.