After a few hour train ride through picturesque valleys, rivers, and forests, we made it to the mountain village of Takayama. It’s here you’ll find Keiko, a master sashiko stitcher, who’s known throughout the region for her mastery of the ancient art.
Keiko hosted us in her cozy second-floor apartment slash work studio, treating us to green tea, onigiri rice balls, and the most delicious mochi we’ve ever tasted. She told us all about the history of sashiko stitching – once used to reinforce clothes for winter, this intricate sewing technique has evolved over centuries and now adorns the highest-end couture with the most complex, ornate designs.
While a sashiko stitcher may use a pattern, she explained that the technique is deeply personal, reflecting the personality or even the mood of the one wielding the needle and thread. Each stitch represents who they are, resulting in pieces that are truly one-of-a-kind works of art.