Masterclass: Ainu Embroidery with Kaparamip and Ruunpe techniques by Selina Ben

*This class will be in English* Date: 11th and 18th of June 2023 Time: 10:00 – 16:00 Location: Rotterdam It’s believed in Ainu culture that textiles have souls and power to ward off evil spirits. An Ainu woman put her heart and soul into each stitch of her embroidery, because a garment made without passion would not have a soul. The Ainu, with their distinctive language, religion and culture in Japan, have always lived in harmony with nature and showed gratitude to the natural world. In this two-day class, Selina will walk you through a brief history of the Ainu, share images of traditional Ainu textiles, and look into Ainu material culture. She will also discuss the contemporary approaches from Ainu artists with a few examples she collected and showcase some of her own Ainu embroidery works. You’ll be invited to explore two Ainu embroidery techniques: Kaparamip (in Ainu language), which means cutting and applying thin clothes and Ruunpe (in Ainu language), which means what road exists. Selina will demonstrate the full process of these techniques covering pattern transfer, basting stitch, precision appliqué, circular reverse appliqué, high density whip stitch, couching stitch and chain stitch. You will be able to create a sample of a basic Ainu pattern based on each technique at the end of the class and use the skills to further explore more complex patterns. A package with all the materials and tools needed will be provided at the class. Selina Ben is a self-taught textile artist and mender based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. With a professional background in textile product development, her passion for textiles has existed for as long as she can remember. Selina is inspired by historical textiles around the world. Her curiosity about why the textiles were significant to a place, what materials were used and how they were made stimulates her creativity. With her practice, she hopes to preserve disappearing techniques, honor unknown makers and their cultural heritage. Selina’s practice can be found at Instagram @selinaam05. Photo 1: Robe (Retara Kapara Amip) via Collections LACMA and Ainu couple via murrayarts. Photo 2: Work by Selina Ben