Kyoto was once the capital of Japan. Its history as the capital began in 794 and continued until 1869 when the capital was moved to its present location, Tokyo. During that period of about 1000 years, many aspects of Japanese culture were cultivated and developed in Kyoto.
Even after its function as the capital came to an end, Kyoto has maintained its flourishing cultures, showing respect and support to the people who continue to uphold the craftsmanship of these cultures and traditions.
The modernization which took place in Kyoto did not eliminate its atmosphere as an ex-capital. The picturesque images of the old and new perfectly merge within the city, creating the unique atmosphere of Kyoto. It may not be an exaggeration to say that the city represents the quintessence of true “Japanese-ness,” and Kyo-Yuzen is one of those cultural aspects nurtured in Kyoto which has evolved with modern craftsmanship.
Background of Yuzen and the Story of Morphosphere
Yuzen is one of the dyeing methods in Japan, and it is mostly used to create Kimono (Japanese traditional wear). It uses starch as a resistance to draw outlines, so it prevents colors from being mixed; therefore, the design of the final product appears clearly like a picture, with vivid and beautiful details.
“Yuzen” is named after a fan drawing artist who lived in Kyoto during the Edo period (1603 -1868) called Yuzensai Miyazaki, who is said to have invented the Yuzen dyeing method.
There are three well-known areas in Japan that offer Yuzen, and one of them is Kyo-Yuzen (Kyoto-Yuzen). It features pastel colors with elegant designs, many embroideries and decorations of “gold leaves.” These attributes remind us of its history as a former capital.
After the Meiji period (1868 – 1912), synthetic dye was brought into Japan from Europe and Kata-Yuzen (Stencil-Yuzen), which enabled Yuzen to have mass production, was introduced. Therefore, when people say Tegaki-Yuzen (Hand-painted Yuzen), it is to indicate that all the processes are done by a Yuzen dyer, although specifically Tegaki Kyo-Yuzen dyers seem to divide the steps in the process among individual specialists, therefore, involving more Yuzen dyers.
2019 – Morphosphere, a Kyo-Yuzen craft brand, was established by Yuzen dyeing artist Sachi Manabe.
Manabe has always been passionate about drawings since she was a child and when she was in university, she became interested in Yuzen. While studying at the university, she registered for the Tegaki-Yuzen courses at Kyoto City Senshoku Shikenjo and it guided her further pursuits of Yuzen.
After graduating from the university, Manabe became an apprentice to Yuzen dyeing artist Mr. Kihachiro Yoshida and started to produce her own Yuzen crafts at the same time.
Finally, a beautiful “Morpho” butterfly and a “sphere,” which were design motives she drew often when learning Yuzen, led to the establishment of “Morphosphere.”
Traditional Craftwork Meets Fashion and Visual Art
“Tint” is the accessory series from Morphosphere, made by “dyeing” and “embroidery” with the concept of “Wearing the Colors”.
The designs are not bound by only Japanese-like motifs but flowers which are meant to be familiar to people all over the world. These familiar motifs will allow people to enjoy Yuzen in their own unique way in their lives.
“Tint” crafts are pieces of ultimate beauty created after a long consideration of its material, design and colors, and after conducting many tests for its quality.
The “Tint” series has all the factors that we wanted to achieve with the distinctive features of Yuzen. The “Tint” series offer Yuzen tiles, which have prints from copper plate printings of Yuzen designs originated from Tegaki-Yuzen Kimono, Yuzen furoshiki* and card cases.
All crafts are created through the individual dyeing formula; so, no two crafts are the same.
Furoshiki is a square-shaped cloth which can be used as a wrapping cloth, a bag, a table linen or even a wall decoration like a picture. Its usage is limitless.
“Tint” Monotone Life with Yuzen
Morphosphere’s series “Tint” offers card case, furoshiki and tiles and how to use them in your daily life is totally up to you. Our Yuzen crafts has no limit on its potential. Sometimes tiles turn into dishes and furoshiki turns into an eco-bag – as you wish.
Yuzen, which was born in the city of 1000 years history, has such an exquisite beauty of its cololurs that have been passed on over generations, and we believe our Yuzen crafts will “tint” your daily life even more.
2009 Formal Kimono “Invitation to Paradise”
Accepted at Nihon Kougeikai Kinki Branch Exhibition
2011 Men’s garment “Kemonode”
Japan New Crafts, New Talent Incentive Award
2018 Semi-grand prize at the 6th Youth Competition of “Kyo-mono”