Sunday, March 19, 2017

Safflower and Setters

Meet Lara, 8-month old pedigree orange belton female setter puppy, belonging to no other than master kimono craftsman and director of Nitta Textile Arts Inc., Hideyuki Nitta. I haven't met Lara, but I was overjoyed to meet Mr. Nitta at kimono store Jizaiya in Motomachi: his safflower dyed raw silk tsumugi kimonos from Yonezawa in Yamagata prefecture are my all time favorite kimonos. Finding out that he was an active hunter and proud dad of two English setters just made my day!
 Lara's just about to begin her hunting training, and Mr. Nitta was showing me his training menu; we were talking about bird launchers and long leashes...his two babes live in cages outside their home, and go walkies on leash or run free along the river banks nearby. 
 In honor of meeting him at Jizaiya, I'm wearing a cream and gold safflower dyed Nitta tsumugi that he made, together with a Norito Sakae Yuzen hunting obi. The obi depicts a hawk though, not English setters...I'm thinking of commissioning a setter hunting obi, but the artwork will take some time and it's all still a pipe-dream so far.
 You can tell you've got an original Nitta tsumugi by the safflower trademark stamp on a washi paper label, so that when you pass on your kimonos to your daughters, they know it's the real deal. 
 Here's a close-up of the fabric, amazing how safflower dyes blue, yellow and pink depending on how it's used! Nitta Textile Arts also use chestnut and Japan blue among other natural dyes for some of the most mouth-watering and awe-inspiring kimono fabrics you may ever lay eyes on.
 Fortunately my daughters appreciate kimonos too, so I know my wardrobe will have a good home when I'm gone. My local kimono store, Gumyoji Kurumaya, did the coordinates and helped us get all dressed up in the safflower kimonos for a fantastic mother-daughter afternoon on the town. They're great that way, not only selling you the kimono, but making sure you have a totally positive experience right through wearing it. They're also setter-friendly and I can take my well-behaved three pups inside the store when I go shopping there, although I do make sure I wipe their feet before we all go in. 
 And here, finally, is Mr. Nitta's other pup, a 14 year old pedigree blue Belton female named Judy. Looking good, Judy, a beauty like Claire! So pleased to meet your Dad to be able to thank him for the beautiful creations that grace my life.
Many thanks to Sakurako for the photos of me and Mr. Nitta together in Jizaiya Kimono store in Motomachi, Yokohama.

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