Sunday, 16 September 2012

Life 5 - Shoji blinds and tatami mats

As you can see Life 5 is going to be large.  

I've spent a happy few hours researching shoji blinds and tatami mats and getting an idea of placement in the whole picture.  I find the easiest way to do this is to stick the quilt to the wall, and stand back.  By putting on bits of masking tape and moving them around, I can get a feel for distance, scale, and perspective. You can just see the tape on the white cotton below.

Things I've found out and will be in the picture!

Shoji blinds are those lovely paper screen within a wooden frame that divide rooms or go over doors and windows to provide privacy.

Tatami mats are what people sit on when going through the tea ceremony.  The mats are laid out in a very particular way - usually 4 around the outside and a half one in the centre.  How the mats are laid out determines how a person walks through the tea room. It's customary not to put your hands palm down on the mats, but to shuffle on your knees and the knuckles of your hands.

If you wear a kimono and walk on tatami mats, to avoid disturbing the mats, you need to shuffle. This slows you down, makes you walk in an erect and dignified manner, especially if you wear the slippery socks (tabi) with 2 toe spaces. 

The room often has a scroll with calligraphy, a flower arrangement, and incense burner. There are lots of imaginary lines crisscrossing the tearoom-based on the placement of the mats- and these are used to determine the exact placement of utensils etc.


  1. blimey - but you're really getting into the whole orientation mularky. Japan seems to be flavour of the month - son No 1 is stocked on Tokyo, Kim at Flextiles blogging about Japan to win a trip of a lifetime (she is in the last 3) and of course there is 'Orientation'!

    Fascinating stuff - where is this one destined?

    Hilary G

  2. Did I reply to this one Hilary?? Not sure now! This one will be for Orientation when it moves on to a larger venue, and also to keep things fresh so you can visit more than once!!