Snow & weaving

Heidi Axelsen


Weaving with Gombei-san in the snow was a whole different experience to when we visited him in summer. Approaching their house we followed a compressed track so we didn’t fall thigh deep into the snow. In between weaving, we huddled around the kotatsu (sunken fire underneath the dining table) warming our toes, sipped green tea and ate potato; pumpkin dishes. Sumi-san gave us beautiful hand knitted slippers and gloves to keep us warm. Gombei-san took us outside to show us the tracks of the raccoon-dog, brown bear and Japanese hare in the snow. Although we have limited words to communicate with, Gombei-san is a wonderful teacher with his clear gestural demonstrations; big laugh. I am touched by the warmth; generosity of Gombei-san and Sumi-san and I am looking forward to returning and being with them and their big smiles.

Hugo and Gombei-san at the entrance to Sumie-san & Gombei-san's house

Hugo and Gombei-san at the entrance to Sumie-san & Gombei-san's house

Our finished hand-made waraji. Photo by Heidi Axelsen

Our finished hand-made waraji. Photo by Heidi Axelsen

Rice-straw Waraji in the making. Photo by Heidi Axelsen

Rice-straw Waraji in the making. Photo by Heidi Axelsen

Gombei-san showing us animal tracks in the snow. Photo by Heidi Axelsen.

Gombei-san showing us animal tracks in the snow. Photo by Heidi Axelsen.

Warming our frozen feet around the kotatsu. Photo by Heidi Axelsen

Warming our frozen feet around the kotatsu. Photo by Heidi Axelsen

See you soon 'Ja mata' Gombei-san and Sumi-san. Photo by Heidi Axelsen.

See you soon 'Ja mata' Gombei-san and Sumi-san. Photo by Heidi Axelsen.