Prices in US$

A new chapter for Kokuin

A set of napkins in terracotta with green and cream prints next to a ceramic cup and dish.

In September 2020, I came across an article in CNN about pollution and toxicity associated with industrial textile dyeing. Here is another article about dyeing and water pollution and the new ventures into water-less dyeing. It was shocking to read the environmental pollution caused by the effluents from the dyeing factories being emptied into water … Read more

Improving the production process

Over several trials (and over several months), I learnt better methods of sewing, dyeing and printing – improved proportions of dye: urea water: print paste, how to get a crisp print repeatedly without clogging up the grooves on the woodblock, how much pressure to apply when using the block (when to press and when to smack the block), which time of the day is best to start the printing process with dyes so that I can print in the best conditions, how to keep dyed fabric warm and moist for longer so that the dye will bond better with the fabric, how to wash the dyed fabric so that only the excess will wash off, and of course how to sew faster and better.

What does ‘Kokuin’ mean?

Woodblock print on fabric

Recently, I sent an email to someone telling her about my business venture and the launch of the website. She replied with a congratulatory note and also asked what the word ‘Kokuin’ means. I realized that I had not explained anything about the name on the website, so here goes. ‘Kokuin’ is a Japanese word that means ‘imprint’ or ‘seal’.

The beginning

Person woodblock printing a fabric

I have always liked working with my hands. I tried my hand at pottery when I was in my teens, and even though it was a short-lived attempt and most of what I made bore little or no resemblance to what they were supposed to be, I enjoyed every bit of it. It was only after I returned to the US a few years ago that I began to think about learning another craft.