Since 2008, NUNO has been committed to reducing waste from the spinning and milling processes. One big project focuses on making use of kibiso, the protective outer surface of silk cocoons, typically discarded as too tough to loom. Working with elderly women in Tsuruoka, one of Japan’s last silk weaving towns, NUNO started a kibiso hand-weaving project. These women set up looms in their garages and kitchens for extra family income, and made woven bags out of the thick, stiff kibiso yarn, as well as handknit hats. Today, NUNO has refined kibiso down to a thickness that allows automatic machine looming, resulting in a whole line of new fabrics, most of which have normal silk warps and kibiso wefts. As part of an effort to revitalize Japan’s once-booming silk trade, NUNO’s head designer, Reiko Sudo, also works with the Tsuruoka Fabric Industry Cooperative on a variety of products under the “kibiso” label, many of which are available at www.NUNOonline.com.
NUNO’s kibiso collection is on exhibit at the George Washington University Museum, the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C. through January ’18.