Kiri Kimekomi Zaiku refers to the craft of embedding cloth into paulownia wood. Although it seems easy, it is quite time consuming and involves several steps to create a finished product. A similar technique is used to make dolls.
The first step is to trace an image on the paulownia followed by carving the same.
Different kinds of knives and cutters with varying edges are used. Some are v-shaped while others are round.
Depending on the design, some of the grooves are painted.
3. Select the fabric
You can choose from a variety of kimono fabrics. All you need is a few bits and pieces.
The fabric is cut into desired shapes.
4. Kimekomi (tucking in)
This is the most critical and cumbersome process. It takes years of practice and patience to properly tuck these pieces of cloth. You cannot tuck them in all at once.
The final pattern made by the craftsman.
Repair and Reuse
Kiri Kimekomi Zaiku has been around for more than 140 years and has long been regarded as one of the traditional crafts of Japan.
One of the most important aspects of this craft is that you can repair and reuse almost anything made using paulownia. For instance, you could have a jewelry box passed on from your grandmother to your mother and then to you! Even if you see stains or any cracks, you can get it fixed.
The picture below shows that an artisan is repairing an old box, and the lovely bell is redecorated by replacing each part. This old set of drawers is given a new life.
Wouldn’t you want something similar to pass over to the next generation?
★Along Orange Street (オレンジ通り店)
Address: 1-4-5 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Business hours: 10:30 – 19:30
*Workshops: Official Website (only Japanese)
★Along Metro Street (メトロ通り店)
Address: 1-34-5 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Business hours: 10:30 -18:00
If you feel hungry, you can check out this feature on treats in Asakusa!