Another reason of my visit in Hyōgo was to meet with the atelier/store of designer Tamaki Niime. Actually, I didn’t get in touch with Tamaki in the first place but with Miyoko (sales overseas manager). However, the first encounter with Niime’s work took place in the previous issue while I was in New York two years ago. I was looking for inspiration and I came across her craft in the Nepenthes store where she had a small exhibition. I was able to reach out to her and conducted a small interview.
Texts, Interview, Photos Farade Nicolas with words extract from Sakai (business partner)
Tamaki Niime is a designer who drew out and extended the possibility of Banshu-Ori, yarn dyed textile, by her outstanding inquiring mind and flexible idea. Making a fresh start in her 10th anniversary year. She was born and raised in Katsuyama, Fukui. Her parents used to ran a boutique. At a textile exhibition held in Tokyo, she was introduced to Banshu-Ori where she met Mr. Nishikaku an artisan. In 2016 they moved to Hie-cho 550-1, Nishiwaki celebrating their 10th anniversary, the space has become five times as large
Let’s start at the beginning, how did you end up doing what you are doing today?
It wasn’t what I was expected in the beginning. Meeting people who gave me advices was really helpful. Those experiences made what I’m doing today. I have not reach my goal yet, I’m still experimenting and developping. That’s why I’m trying new things more & more often.
How would you describe your work as a textile designer?
It’s all about what you are feeling in the moment. When I’m working, creating and weaving I try to have a good attitude. We can’t see the colors but we can feel the texture.. It is also about colorway and variation. People have their own personalities so I do think each person can be able to find their own nature throughout a particular color..That’s what I truly believe.
When you were a child, which kind of textures awakened your curiosity to create?
My parents had a retail store, they were selling clothing in all kind. I guess I was inspired by their environment when I was growing.
What kind of joy do you get out of your process versus seeing the textiles that you have created ? Are these two things different kinds of enjoyment?
The process of creation captivates me. I have the chance to try new ideas, new design, it’s so interesting ! Also, when the customer are trying my creation and clothing on, it makes me smile that what I produce makes people happy as well. This is a good motivation to push forward.
What inspires you?
The process, the chemical operations. That imagination could be transformed into something real, that exist and could be shared.
Where do you find all the materials you work with?
I am working with special cooperative company. They help me to find some or sometimes, I am creating all by myself. Nowadays I’m thinking about a way to use the cotton that we are producing so, I am renting a field we just started to put in the ground the cotton.
What is your daily routine?
I go to the field and watch the growth of cotton.
« The shop was designed their store to show the workshop openly through glass so that costumers can feel their passion to work. She appreciates costumers looking closely to learn about the creation process. They are now planning to enlarge the organic cotton.Her personal desire is to love a life surrounded by all self-made products »
« I was shocked when I found Nishiwaki to be an ordinary country town. I decided to make my imagination come true. Wouldn’t it be quite exciting if the costumer came to Nishiwaki and got to see the craftsmen making shawls next to the store? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could offer truly unique experience and products? I always evaluate my products by imagining costumer’s point of view to determine whether my creation is interesting. Now that we have a larger space to install more machines, we can do a lot more things. We also plan to enlarge our organic cotton field. As a symbol of our future activities, we planted Ceiba speciosa (floss silk tree). This year, Tamaki Niime marks our 10th anniversary. I’m glad that we can finally create what’s in our mind. Working is truly fun and exciting for me and I believe that’s how it’s supposed to be »
« Self-satisfied research is no good to society. As long as I persist in detail, I should make my creation something that is beneficial to the customers and the society. I would be truly grateful if my creation pleases our customers. I want to make products that are universal; matching men and women, young and old...even babies. Moreover, shawls areone-size-fits-all and don’t have to fit particular tastes. That is why I decided to make shawls »
« Our former store had a bottleneck so customers couldn’t see the weaving process. Instead, we designed our new shop to show our workshop openly through glass so that customers can feel our passion to work. Though this system is a challenge for us because we are being watched, we appreciate customers looking closely to lean about our creation process so we can gain credibility »
«It is often misunderstood that I want to revive vintage styles since I’m using power looms In actuality, I am using a vintage machine to create something novel. For instance, I introduced a knitting machine to Nishiwaki, the center of the textile industry. I don’t look back on the history and am dedicated to my philosophy»