manipuri scarf vol.2 The skill of the printing craftsman who controls the vivid colors of the scarf

Patterns, colors, and tailoring. Items made with extraordinary attention to detail have a story that makes you want to talk to someone. In "manipuri Talkable Scarf", we will unravel the process of creating a luxury scarf that incorporates the craftsmanship and passion of the creator.

Step1_Make plates for the number of colors you want to express and mix the dyes

“manipuri” scarves are completed by handing them down from person to person, just like passing the baton in a relay. The design drawings created by Mr. Nakayama, the designer, are sent to a dyeing factory and converted into a "plate" for textile printing.

“All manipuri scarves are hand-printed by skilled craftsmen who carefully dye each scarf by hand. In hand printing, one plate is used for one color, so if you use 10 colors for one scarf, you need to make 10 plates.” (Mr. Iida, manipuri production manager)

At the same time as making the plate, we also mix the dyes called “toning”. By multiplying multiple powder paints, the dyeing craftsman pursues and creates the ideal color that the designer imagines.

“The blending of dyes is an important process that determines the rich color development that is characteristic of hand-printing. Repeat the adjustment with to mix the dye.After that, the dye and paste are mixed to create the "color paste" used for printing.By adjusting the hardness to an appropriate level, the outline does not bleed and the delicate pattern is created. It will be finished.” (Mr. Iida)

For 10 colored scarves, repeat the same process 10 times. In addition, "manipuri" often develops 3 to 4 color variations in one design, and the craftsman's perseverance and technical skills can be seen from the work.

Unique colors created with skilled craftsmen

Silk scarves were born in the flow of raw silk exports that flourished after the port of Yokohama was opened in 1859 (Ansei 6). "manipuri" scarves are carefully made one by one at a historic domestic dyeing factory with roots in Yokohama.

“Hand printing is a dyeing method that requires a great deal of skill from skilled craftsmen . In fact, you can only meet the ideal color by entrusting it to the "eyes" of a craftsman with solid knowledge, skills, and rich experience.The craftsman devises and spends time and effort to create each color one by one. It is precisely because of this process that we are able to create unique colors.” (Mr. Iida)

Step2_Carefully layering colors one by one

The plate is fixed on the printing table on which the fabric is stretched, and finally the hand printing process begins.

“The width of the Nassen printing table is about 120 cm, which is within the reach of a human hand. Another feature is that the table is slanted so that the force is applied evenly because the dyeing is done by the craftsmen. The dye is scooped up from the bottom and dyed smoothly from top to bottom, but this is the skill of a skilled craftsman! It is." (Mr. Iida)

There is a hole in the part that will be the pattern, and only the part that passes the dye will be colored. The theory is to dye in order from light colors. After finishing one color, wash the plate and move on to the next color.

“Repeat the same process and print as many colors as you want to express. In fact, there is a heater under the printing table, so you can dye while drying.After printing from end to end of the printing table, check for color unevenness and plate misalignment. Each piece is carefully checked by a craftsman.” (Mr. Iida)

The dyed fabric is then put into a steamer to fix the print onto the fabric. By thoroughly steaming, the color and luster appear, making the color more vivid. After steaming, it goes into the washing process. Since it is dyed with a mixture of dye and paste called “color paste”, the paste and excess dye attached to the fabric are removed. Finally, let it dry to complete the printing.

Deep colors and delicacy that cannot be achieved with digital printing

Scarves created by the eyes and hands of skilled craftsmen have a warm, high-quality appearance that cannot be found in mass-produced scarves.

"Completing precise work without hesitation and at a constant speed, where even one millimeter of deviation is not allowed. This is a technique that only skilled craftsmen can achieve. Digital technology that prints design data at high speed by machine without making plates. Compared to textile printing, hand textile printing allows the dye to be firmly imprinted on the fabric, so you can enjoy the vivid colors even on the back side.Because only one color can be dyed at a time, it takes a lot of time and effort to work. However, the quality of manipuri scarves can be maintained precisely because there are craftsmen who take pride in their old-fashioned skills and work with an honest attitude.” (Mr. Iida)

In vol.3, we will introduce the craftsman's delicate and beautiful edge finish, which is the proof of a high-quality scarf. Please look forward to it.

photography & video by Hiromi Kurokawa
text by Ayako Takahashi
edited by SELEK

manipuri Talkable scarf vol.1
The work of a designer who creates a variety of scarf patterns

manipuri Talkable scarf vol.3
Proof of a high-quality scarf, delicate and beautiful edge finish