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.
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’.
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.