In 1996 I was a visiting lecturer at India's National Institute of Design (NID) and luckily at a time to witness the events in the Indo- Japanese Shibori Conference, which was held there that year. Both India and Japan share the tradition of decorating textiles with a very sophisticated version of what we in the West call 'tie-dye'; in Japan it's called 'Shibori' and in India 'Bandini'. The technique is common throughout Asia, but the application of the craft differs from country to country and from culture to culture.
This is particularly true in these two great cultures and as I went from one display to the next at this conference, I was struck by the contrast between exquisite textiles exhibited in the galleries. The Indian works were complex, vibrant and showing a fearless use of colour, whereas the Japanese exhibit was full of subtle hues and sensitive skill that produced an under-stated elegance.
I am reminded of this when I see Clematis 'Yukikomachi' come into bloom in my garden; it has large white flowers edged with a pale lavender that seems to have been applied by a Shibori artisan, the effect is to give the flower an almost silvery brightness, that is at once dramatic and subtle. I find this highly discriminating taste common in Japanese bred Clematis, as it often is in most horticultural pursuits in this country.