I came upon Nuno and Stitch when the quiet elegance of their market stall caught my eye at the recent Indie Market Place's Belgrave South Community Market. It was only their second foray into the world of markets being a relatively new business that started online in August 2015.
They continue to operate via their online store available to you 24/7. 'Like' their Facebook Page to stay updated. Now that they've dipped their toes into the market scene, there's no doubt they're bound to pop up at yet another market and that's the best way to find out when and where.
A venture both the owners Allie (Ai (pronounced 'I'), Allie's real Japanese name meaning 'love') and Paul used to talk about, the online store became a reality when Allie was faced with unemployment after the birth of their son. Even though her job as a website manager was online with a traditional Japanese firm, it became impossible to dance to the beat of another's drum and working one's own hours became an attractive prospect.
Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, Allie's love of Japanese stationery, fabrics, clothing and home wares have now become the basis of her business.
Nuno (meaning fabric in Japanese) and Stitch's speciality is TENUGUI. It's a piece of fabric that can be used in a variety of ways for sewing, decorating and wrapping. Fascinated by patterns and colours of various fabrics from the time she was little, Allie's attraction has not waned and she's constantly inspired by it. She has a charming blog written with great honesty on all aspects of her personal and business life, and it is there that she gives you tips and ideas in the variety of ways you can use her wares. She's also happy and accepting of your comments if you have other creative ideas about how you can use what she sells. Pinterest is another of her pages full of ideas.
Allie stocks the traditional that's environmentally friendly and chosen with thoughtfulness and mindfulness and leaning towards the hand crafted and hand printed. For instance, TENUGUI is not machine printed like other fabrics as you may think, but hand dyed using the CHUSEN method.
It's dyed by well trained craftsmen in Japan called 'SHOKUNIN'. Shokunin is not just about having technical skills but implies an attitude and being socially conscious with a social, spiritual and material obligation to do ones best for the general welfare of the people.
Nuno and Stitch are not about cheap imitations. Their traditional CHUSEN TENUGUI is dyed on both sides and you cannot tell which side of the fabric is front or back. Having some knowledge of the type of quality product you're buying makes you appreciate the craftsmanship of the Shokunin masters even more. You'll find a variety of patterned Tenugui on the website which is 100% cotton and generally sized 37 X 90cm. You're only limited by your imagination for the many uses of Tenugui.
Furoshiki is formally known as a type of traditional Japanese wrapping cloth traditionally used for the transportation of clothes, gifts and other goods. It was later used by traders to protect their goods or gifts. You'll find a variety of patterns and sizes of Furoshiki at the online store as well. There's also stationery , homewares, accessories, kids goods and fashion goods of gorgeous traditional Japanese Tabi socks. These are worn by both men and women with their traditional thonged footwear due to the separation between the big toe and other toes.
You'll also find Musubi tie pins which is a bow tie as you can see worn by both Paul and Allie in the pictures. They are one of a kind Tenugui bow ties and is part of a project by the PReNippon organisation. People with disabilities sew these bow ties one at a time. This is a bow tie that is made with great care and quality and connects traditional Japanese materials and skills with a good cause. It also raises money for craftsmanship training.
Needless to say, the material of the Musubi Tie Pins (bow ties) are non-standard products from a Tenugui factory in Osaka, hand dyed by skilled craftsmen using the traditional Japanese dyeing method of Chusen as explained above.
I hope you do get the opportunity to meet this charming couple and experience their products at a market one day. They are very proud to be associated with the traditional craftsmanship of their wares.
If you have a love for the elegance and quality of traditional Japanese goods made traditionally, then you'll be very pleased it's accessible and right here in Melbourne at your fingertips. I do encourage you to follow the conversation about the various uses of everything on the website, Facebook page and blog to fully realise its many uses and value.