The Kimono flea Market ICHIROYA News Letter just arrived in my inbox. It arrives weekly since I ordered the kimono silk from them. I enjoy reading it – it’s about some small aspect of life – this one about Senko hanabi (a kind of sparkling firework – I’d call then sparklers) which used to be made in Japan but haven’t been for about 15 years and of course the know-how for making the item has almost been lost. It’s been about the cost of producing the sparklers which can be manufactured in China much more cheaply. Ichiro (or whoever writes the blog) is lamenting the loss of craft knowledge:
Not only kimono but all the traditional art work are in the same difficult situation- they are seeking for survival, finding new concept and trying to appeal people. I knew this is happenng all over and by seeing the new products like this Senko hanabi, I almost scream,
`Don’t go, Kimono! Hold on! Hold on Senko hanabi, too!’
‘Don’t go, Kimono! Hold on! – that’s because the most beautiful kimono fabrics are becoming too expensive to make in Japan and cheaper, inferior ones are being imported from China. The fabrics Ichiro sells are often old ones – obtained from who knows where – and when they’ve been sold, they’re gone – no more of them being made.
How many of our craft skills are being lost because the cost of doing hand work has become too expensive? I know I don’t sell my quilts because I can’t get what they’re worth – I prefer giving them as gifts; that way I know they are treasured and might survive as family heirlooms (and I’m not angry that I was paid poorly for my efforts).