Ainu Tote Bag
Ainu Tote Bag
The Ainu are indigenous people living in Hokkaido. Ainu are living with respect for nature, flora and fauna. The Ainu people say that God dwells in everything, and that everything on earth serves a purpose.
One of the Ainu crafts that immediately caught our attention were embroideries and their particular shapes. For example the “moreu”, the spirals, and the “aiushi”, the thorns pattern. These patterns may differ from region to region and from family to family, as they are traditionally being passed down from mother to daughter.
The pattern of this tote bag is designed using part of the pattern of ceremonial Kaparamip kimono created by Miyuki Kaizawa of the Nibutani Folk Art Association. This Ainu pattern has a characteristic swirl and spine-like bracket pattern, and it is said to prevent evil spirits from coming.
The Ainu Living Series aims to make it easier for people to enjoy real Ainu designs and patterns through products produced by Hokkaido Potluck and supervised by the Nibutani Folk Art Association.
Currently, the number of Ainu people who have inherited Ainu know-how for crafts such as woodworking, weaving, and sewing is decreasing, and in order to preserve the traditional techniques, they need to teach their crafts to future generations. Therefore, a part of the profit made from the sales of this product is given to the Nibutani Folk Art Association.
Given their reduced numbers, Ainu people are unfortunately unable to produce enough bag at scale. Therefore, a dyeing workshop in Kyoto print on the pattern on fabric before sewing the bags one by one.