"Name" on Sashiko Vintage Piece? What is a good way to respect it?

"Name" on Sashiko Vintage Piece? What is a good way to respect it?

Sashiko was a form of stitching pratice for the ordinary Japanese People. In Harsh winter with very limited resources, they didn't have choice to replace the fabric so easily. They decided to stitch to make fabric stronger & thicker so that they can use the fabric longer & better. As the Sashiko stitched fabric was a par tof their Ordinary Days, sometimes they put their name on the fabric.


The name may be for the family's posession.

The name may be a way to identify whom they prayed for.


A name stitched on the fabric with Japanese/Chinese Characters may be fascinating to those who are not familier with the "names". It is similar for us (Japanese) to use the English words/sentence in Fashion Scene to be "cool" - you may find so many silly phrases on the T-Shirt walking in Japan. 


At the same time, if one is careful & mindful, they may find the name as something special - to be respected as a personal item. In this post, I would like to share my understanding of "what is respectful" when it comes to the Name on Vintage Pieces. 


Acknowledgement beyond "the Art"

Personally, I used to avoid the vintage fabrics with names as much as I could. We encounter many pieces of vintage fabrics with Names on while searching for the good piece to make another Sashiko Jacket. When I had choices, I left them with Keiko so that she could take care of it. 

The reason I tried to avoid is because of the "Animism" we naturally get familier with. Every matter has a spirit in it, and name specify the spirit. Following this belief, all of the vintage fabric has spirit in it... but I prefered to have it announymously.


Later, as I learn how to "clean" the vintage fabric, I am slowly changing my opinion on this. A spirit may exists, but it isn't something we should be afraid of. We should respect it (or even awe to it), but we shouldn't fear about it as it is just a part of the history it its fabric. Once I realize the power of "acknowlegement", if I have a choice, I would rather to pass it down to someone who also share the same feeling. 


As I described above, a mysterious character including names can be considered as Art. It is indeed the owners freedome to define what is Art or not. However, or even "Therefore", I would like to keep sharing the stories so that many people can acknowledge, and hopefully "appreciate" what they embrace as the Art.


It doesn't have to be the Art as well. In any forms, in the context of Sashiko, "Acknowledgement" will bridge the disrespect to the appreciation.


Name as a part of (Hi)Story.

As a Sashiko practitioner, I believe that every single fabric pieces with stitching carry their own story. It isn't always the "positive" one, but stitching means that there was someone (human being with feelings) faced to the fabric with needle & threads. Regardless of the nature of feeling they carried in stitching, it is definately a story - and it define the history of the fabric. 

"The Name" on the fabric simply magnify the level of its History. In other words, Name can give us more information about the story - who owns it, when, where, and how... sometimes name itself may tell use the story. Or, in other cases, name will help us to imagine the time they used the fabric.


As human beings, "imagination" is something we have naturally. As much as I shout for the importance of "ability to imagine", I believe that we cannot stop imaginging when we "acknowledge" something. When one acknowledge the characters on the fabric as "name", they would extend their imagination beyond its beauty to the possible stories that the fabric carry.

When one imagine the story while stitching, it is a moment of connecting the stitcher & the past with someone who stitched. This "Connection" is what we enjoy throughout Sashiko - as Keiko define as a "Time-Machine" to learn from someone who stitched the piece hundresds of years ago.


By stitching on the fabric with feeling someone who had stitched previously, you are adding another story - in other words, you are being a part of the history of its beautiful Stitched Vintage Fabric - by using the fabric, YOUR story is moving toward one destination so called "Boro".


Your concern about "what is respectful" may be simply enough


Again, this is my personal feeling... but when one concern about what is respectful and disrespectful when they obtain the Sashiko Stitched fabric with name, it is already an act of respect. 

So, as a Sashiko practitioner, I would like to say it out loug: "Enjoy what you have, received, or about to have".

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