Long Thread Podcast: John Marshall

Season 4, Episode 2: Starting as a teenaged apprentice, John has made a life's work in learning, practicing, and sharing traditional Japanese fiber arts.

Anne Merrow Feb 4, 2022 - 2 min read

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Working in the studio of a Japanese dollmaker, seventeen-year-old John Marshall learned skills for every step of the process from making glass eyes to shaping the body to creating intricately designed clothing. He developed a love for natural dyes on natural fibers, especially katazome (a paste-resist technique using stencils), as he studied dyeing and garment design for five years. Over five decades, his work in Japanese fiber techniques has followed two paths: creating traditionally inspired art-to-wear and sharing what he has learned through extensive writing and teaching.

In our lively and wide-ranging discussion, John shares stories of how lac insects are "herded" in the Himalayas, what a suit made from bagworm silk feels like, and what he plans to do with his collection of the Emperor's old clothing.

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John Marshall's website lists his books. His workshops and lectures are also listed there, including a list of courses he offers regularly. John's most recent book, Singing the Blues, is devoted to fresh-leaf indigo. He contributed a short article about fresh-leaf indigo to Nature's Colorways.
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