Fukumi Shimura’s parents, Motozumi and Toyo Ono had a friendship with Muneyoshi Yanagi, who led the “Mingei Movement” (Japanese folk art movement), Goro Aota, who was a member of Kamigamo Folk Craft Association, Tatsuaki Kuroda and Kenkichi Tomimoto who were craft artists. In order to provide their ideal education, they invited an educator, Noboru Tani, from Tokyo, who worked for Seijo Elementary School and established Showa Gakuen (Showa school) in 1927, which was the prefecture’s one and only one private elementary school in Oumihachiman, Shiga Prefecture. At Showa Gakuen, creativity and independence were regarded as most important for students, based on the philosophy of Taisho new education movement.
Fukumi began weaving with pongee yarn dyed with plants’dye in 1955, influenced by her mother, Toyo. Since that time, she has made a profound study of the beauty of tsumugi (pongee) kimono, which Japanese peasant women traditionally wove for everyday use, and she has developed her own original style of art. Fukumi’s daughter, Yoko, advanced in the field of dyeing and weaving just as her mother had done. In 1989, she established Tsuki Kobo (Atelier Tsuki) with her mother. Since then she has been pursuing the universal beauty of “the color”, beyond that of the traditional kimono of Japan, influenced by the ideas of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Rudolf Steiner, who both established their own theories of colors in a different point of view from Newton’s.
The dyeing and weaving art school of “Ars Shimura” was established in 2013, and was led by main family members, Fukumi, her daughter Yoko and her grandson Shoji, who were impelled by a sense of impending crisis in the times. They wanted to make a place for art education to be open to society. Since the opening of the school, many students who sympathized with this artistic spirit have been gathering from all over the country, learning, graduating and returning back to their communities.
In 2016, They launched a new brand “Atelier Shimura”, which has emerged out of the flow of the story above, and which follows Shimura’s philosophy, formed through an intimate dialogue with nature. Atelier Shimura is regarded as a place to practice and spread that philosophy.