Workshop in September by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems

Heated discussions over the information of canvas silk and silk yarn between Mr. Shimura/Ms. Akimoto and the audience

 In the monthly workshop held on Tuesday, September 29, 2015 by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems, Mr. Akira Shimura of the Silk Fabric Research Institute, Katsuyama Textile Corporation made a presentation under the title of “Conventional Techniques in Silk Production” as part of our research project, “Research on art expression, techniques and materials.” Ms. Noriko Akimoto of the Silk Fabric Research Institute also attended the workshop as a commentator. Mr. Shimura has been working on the restoration of traditional silk fabrics produced before the modern age. As a base material for Japanese paintings, canvas silk, the theme of this workshop, is very familiar not only to researchers of art history but also to Japanese art restorers. The attendees were engaged in diverse areas, including art history researchers and Japanese art restorers, which shows their strong interest in this field.
 For this workshop, Mr. Shimura told us about a variety of findings on canvas silk and silk yarn he accumulated during the process of technical restoration based on field research for canvas silk of various ages left until today. At the beginning, Mr. Shimura presented basic information on silk yarn. Then, receiving useful comments from Ms. Akimoto from time to time, the audience asked questions, and Mr. Shimura answered the questions. During the Q&A session, we, researchers, realized that some of our knowledge on canvas silk and silk yarn perceived as common sense resulted from misunderstandings or misperceptions. Thus, this workshop was a good opportunity for us to revise our understanding, such as the unit, “d (denier),” which is not related to the thickness (diameter) of silk yarn but to the volume of silk. The relations between back coloring and the density of the texture produced with warp and woof (space between threads) were also revealed through detailed observation of the canvas silk produced with traditional techniques and restored.
 The workshop, which proceeded in a Q&A session style, took more than two hours. However, the information and knowledge about canvas silk and silk yarn Mr. Shimura presented were very fresh to us. We also had a good opportunity to feel beneath our fingertip the real texture of canvas silk produced in different fabric thickness and density by Mr. Shimura and Ms. Akimoto, as well as glossed silk beaten with a wooden block (silk cloth). These precious experiences will surely assist us in our art research in the future.

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