This furoshiki is based on a print of a Gion district Kyoto scene by American woodblock artist Clifton Karhu and would make a beautiful wall hanging.
It features umbrellas set out to dry after a shower during the rainy season, which usually runs from mid-June to mid-July in Kyoto. Traditional Kyoto 'machiya' townhouses like these are still a common sight in Gion.
Furoshiki are traditional Japanese wrapping cloths. This one is 100% cotton and is about 90cm x 90cm(35.4” x 35.4”).
Mr. Karhu was born in Minnesota but spent most of his life in Japan, where he lived from 1955 until he passed away in 2007.
This beautiful furoshiki can be hung without any backing with small nails, tacks, etc., or with simple wooden dowels that you can get at a local hardware store, where they might also drill holes in one dowel for you if you inquire so that you can run a simple cord through it.
It also displays wonderfully when stretched on a frame, as you would mount a painting. In fact, when I first saw this furoshiki at Mr. Karhu’s studio, he was displaying it this way, and I was struck by how well suited his furoshiki are to this type of presentation-their size and texture add an extra dimension to the beauty of the original prints.
It can also be used as a tablecloth, or as the focal point in a quilting project-let your imagination be your guide!
Please note that this is not an original print, it is not rendered on paper, it is not hand signed and numbered, nor is it a limited edition, as a collectible print is. If you are looking for a standard print as an investment grade collectible, this is not what you're after.
This is a cotton furoshiki cloth that Mr. Karhu’s studio here in Kyoto has approved and licensed. It lives up to his high standards in both the quality of the cotton, which has a good weight and a rich texture to it, and the superior craftsmanship in the printing, which lives up to the care and attention to detail that went into in his prints.
I have other furoshiki based on Mr. Karhu's work here:
Mr. Karhu made a name for himself among contemporary woodblock print fans around the world over the course of his many years in Kyoto. In his work I see the traditional Kyoto that I love, and the bold colors and distinct lines that characterize his work lend a fresh vibrancy and boldness to familiar scenes.
He was a rare artist in that he mastered each aspect of the process of making woodblock prints, from the initial sketch, to carving the wood blocks, to making the prints. Traditionally these steps were carried out by different craftsmen, each a specialist. It's a time consuming, exacting succession of tasks, and he cut no corners. These furoshiki are made in the same spirit, and actually with the same kind of technique. First, a photo was taken of the print and enlarged. Then a stencil was cut, and the stencil was used to hand print these wonderful works of art in Kyoto with Mr. Karhu’s permission.
If you'd like more information on the artist, I encourage you to visit some of the many websites that deal in Mr. Karhu's work. Spending time with him at his studio was a truly memorable experience and I came away from it feeling grateful for having had the chance to meet a man who was not only influenced and entranced by Kyoto, but in turn added his own distinct artistry to the rich history of this ancient city.
Good news for folks in the U.S.!
Thanks to your support our California office for domestic orders is up and running and this furoshiki is in stock.
Get it fast via USPS and rest assured with tracking and insurance already included in the price. We also ship to select countries outside the US from our main office in Kyoto, Japan. If you live outside the US, please allow about 2-3 weeks for your package to arrive via Japan Post.