Textile & Craft Workshops in Tokyo

Students often ask me where they can learn more about textiles outside of the classes offered at Bunka and in the GFC. There are many places an eager student can go in and around Tokyo to learn all kinds of things! One caveat, however, is that they are most often taught in Japanese. Even if you don’t speak the language, or don’t possess the technical vocabulary to really gain 100% of the knowledge that is being offered you, I suggest you go for it anyways. Learn the skills intuitively, learn it with your hands and the rest of your senses. If you have the right teacher, they will make sure you leave with at least the basic knowledge, and guide you to further resources.

For my students, if there is a place that you want to go on this list, let me know and I will arrange it. For factories that aren’t listed (for example….if you want to see a pleating factory) let me know specifically and I’ll figure it out!

Also, if anyone can think of any places in Tokyo with friendly, English-speaking instructors, please let me know and I’ll add them to the list! I will try to update regularly!

Printing:

** Okuda Print. A silkscreen factory based in Hachioji that offers a wide range of screenprinting classes once a month. (Japanese only)

Dyeing:

** Kosoen Tennenai. An indigo-dyeing workshop. (Japanese only)

** Wanariya. Very bad website, but they seem friendly and welcoming! (English classes available!)

** Futaba Dyeing. Masters of Some Komon and Sarasa dyeing methods. They also do Saturday classes, but this kind of work is not for the impatient or people who get overwhelmed by minute details.

Weaving:

** Le Poilu. Weaving workshops. (Japanese only)

** Hataoto. A weaving school with night classes in the East side of Tokyo.

** Jota. A weaving studio and school with locations in Kichijoji and Jiyugaoka. They have one-day classes, as well!

** Izumi Koubou. Centrally located in Yotsuya, this school offers beginner, intermediate and advanced weaving classes.

** Traditional Crafts Museum. Here you can visit and see some very cool old mechanical looms from the dawn of the industrial age, and you can also do some hand-weaving on wooden looms. There is also a very cool old man present to answer your questions.

** Minowa Naoko may become your weaving master. This is a small classroom/gallery on the south bend of the Yamanote circle.

** Aikoubo. A lovely weaving workshop near the beach in Kanagawa.

** Art Center. A centrally-located hand-weaving workshop in Tokyo with a supply shop attached.

Leatherwork:

** His Factory. High-end (but easy to do) leatherwork handstitching and finishing workshops. The guy who runs it is crazy (in a really friendly way) and is the best guy ever.  (Japanese and broken English classes available!)

Papermaking:

** Ozu Washi. This place has a classroom in which you can learn all about Japanese Calligraphy and Paper making, among other things. (Japanese only, but contact them and they might take you!)

Glasswork:

** G-Process. This is actually a laser-cutting factory that does all kinds of cool stuff, and likes to work with students. They also do a glassmaking workshop. Have a look at our workshop from last year when we visited the factory!

** Edo Kiriko. Traditional glass etching workshops. Pretty badass cool.

Other:

** Tokyu Hands. Here you can do workshops in all kinds of different topics, from how to build a shelf to how to use that new tool. Have a look at their website for more info.

** Takumi no Sato. You can visit this little Arts and Crafts village in the mountains and have a hand at making Tofu, Soba and Konnyaku!

** Chochin-ya. Here you can have the experience of painting a paper lantern. You may feel like a tourist, but it could be something hat has room for innovation.

For further reference, check out this Japanese Textile Reading List, from the V&A and this quick intro to Japanese textiles. Be sure to order any books you like to the Library if you are interested!

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