Producing fabric from Gara machine spun thread
After introducing the gara spun thread in a previous article, we received an immediate response.The inquiry was from Satomi Kawamura, a textile designer living in Sapporo. Along with teaching at a fashion school in Sapporo, she also makes her own work using manual looms, and also holds occasional workshops.
After introducing the gara spun thread in a previous article, we received an immediate response.
The inquiry was from Satomi Kawamura, a textile designer living in Sapporo. Along with teaching at a fashion school in Sapporo, she also makes her own work using manual looms, and also holds occasional workshops.
Ms. Kawamura studied in Belgium for 7 years from 2003 to 2010. Most might imagine the world famous Antwerp Academy when it comes to studying in Belgium, but Ms. Kawamura studied at the Royal Academy of Ghent.
Ghent, the third city of Belgium, is called Gand in French, and Gent in Dutch. The pronunciation used in Japan is Gent, so it must be derived from the German language. In this city, old townscapes of the medieval age has been preserved, and its recognition in Japan began increasing in the recent years.
Ms. Kawamura chose Gent instead of Antwerp because she was drawn to the old and beautiful townscapes, and also because of the affordable tuition. Antwerp, due to its rising fame, has a high tuition for international students, unlike Gent.
Ms. Kawamura was originally interested in knits, but after studying at Gent, she became fascinated in fabric. For those outside of the industry, there may not be much of a distinction between knits and fabrics. However, the structure is actually very different, for example, the quantity of thread used. Knits only use 10 to 20 different threads, even when making multicolored patterns. However, when it comes to fabric, warps and wefts are intersected, requiring at least 5000 warp threads. High density fabric may use up to 15,000 warps threads.
This makes it easier to create fine details when compared to knits.
Ms. Kawamura credits her instructor at Gent, who she claims was a very interesting person, for opening her mind to fabric.
When Ms. Kawamura arrived at the factory of CHICA, she began asking questions and exchanging opinions. Fabrics woven with the gara thread used for the warp and weft have ununiformed thickness with a unique, uneven texture. In general, the uneven texture makes the fabric unsuitable for use in clothing. Ms. Kawamura suggested to “either use ordinary spun yarn, linen thread, or synthetic fiber as the warp when spinning gara thread, to create a moderate sharpness.” Mr. Matsui of CHICA responded positively to the suggestion.
Demand for organic cotton material is definitely not low. However, consumers who fixate on organic cotton are rare, due to the fact that the material is not suitable for ordinary clothing or other goods used in daily life.
Ms. Kawamura ‘s proposal suggests the creation of fabric and threads which are not fixated to organic. This may be an angle necessary for widening the use of gara threads.
For example, one of her other proposals was to produce a grainy colored thread by mixing white organic cotton with colored fibers. Another was to use chemical dyes instead of just natural dyes, to increase color variation.
She also suggested to develop beginner-friendly yarns for those who have interest in weaving and knitting.
To accomplish this, she believes that the variation of thread can be increased by changing the following four properties.
Thickness → Thickness of the spun thread itself, and thickness when aligned and twisted together
Twisting → Strength and direction of twist
Color → Combining threads of different colors, or spinning fibers of different colors
Material → Matching threads of different fiber, mixing into cotton as the form of fiber
Through this visit, Ms. Kawamura and CHICHA agreed on trying various experiments and trials, and continuing to exchange opinions with Mr. Matsui, owner of CHICA. Hopes are high for threads and fabrics soon to be produced through this collaboration.
Text: Mitsuhiro Minami
Picture: Koichiro Sato
You can buy her fablic.