Can we create new products with traditional Ishigaki Island textiles? We got together and did some prototyping.

On November 21st, 2013, loftwork.com held a workshop giving participants a prototyping experience. It took place at the Shibuya digital fabrication cafe, FabCafe Tokyo, in Shibuya, Tokyo. The prototyping theme was the creation of new products with the traditional Ishigaki Island textile hanaori minsa. Hanaori minsa is one of the items covered by the USIO Design Project, an Ishigaki Island specialty product redesign competition that is currently underway. There were six participants on the day of the workshop. We also received a visit from designer Kenichi Matsumoto, the creator of many award-winning works in past design contests. Just what kind of prototypes did they come up with? We’re going to show you in the form of a photo report.


△First, a project staff member gave an explanation of hanaori minsa. While each pattern has its own significance, the message conveyed by these dramatic fabrics in general is of “love.”


△Reference video: Here you can see the weaving of hanaori minsa. This video shows how the cloth is made by hand with meticulous care.



△These are scraps of hanaori minsa, the subject matter of this event. The makers gave them to us as a present for this occasion. Everyone picked up pieces of fabric and gave them careful consideration.



△ In the center, wearing glasses, is Mr. Matsumoto. At the beginning, he told us about his prize-winning work from the specialty products redesign project Roooots.
* Roooots is a specialty products redesign project that has been conducted by Loftwork since 2009. The project has spawned new product and package designs through collaboration with various regions and creators. →→See introduction page for Roooots



△ An initial attempt with the laser cutter. This decoration was made by cutting wood and inserting pieces of fabric. The distinct colored pattern of the hanaori minsa has a gorgeous look that stands out even next to the strongly assertive wood grain material



△This too is a prototype being made with a laser cutter. The plan is to sandwich the fabric in between two pieces and make them into a coaster.



△A participant who is good at sewing finished this bag with a sewing machine in the blink of an eye! She cut the minsa fabric into pieces and combined them to create a new design.



△The leading hanaori minsa products are pouches and other items made for women. For this event, we were asked for product ideas that could be made for men as well. So we created a bow tie.



△She is sewing hanaori minsa as a breast pocket onto a coat brought from home. It looks great as an accent when added to simple fabric.



△Everyone sharing the finished prototypes. The creation in the front, by Mr. Matsumoto, is an idea for a postcard which makes use of the fabric as is.



△Here’s a photo of all the participants holding their creations. Thanks for working so hard late into the night! We’re looking forward to your contest entries too.

The Usio Design Project is currently seeking your redesign ideas for the ten products of Ishigaki Island. The deadline for entries is December 9th (Mon.). Why not help think of products that tell the story of Ishigaki Island?
Official site of the Usio Design Project



Bonus:
We also got some of the workshop on video! Be sure to take a look at this too.

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