Think indigo, think Japan

There’s an artist in Japan called Hiroyuki Shindo who is determined to keep the art of indigo dying alive.

The work of Shindo’s is based on a concept called okkochi. The story goes that there was an easterly wind blowing about 300 years ago. The wind blew a corner of some kimono fabric into a vat of indigo. From this a new kind of dyeing was born. A little bit random. A little bit playful.

In Shindo’s okkochi interpretation, he makes a wooden trough about four centimeters deep and scatters small stone and pebbles on the bottom and at the edges. Laying the cloth in this shallow trough he carefully pushes it into the concave shapes in between the stones. Dye is ladled many times into the hollows of the fabric, and he constantly changes the boundary of the well and the depth of the stones to make these free form clouds.

The intense indigo color is a result of this repeated dipping rather than the time submerged in the dye.

Intensely beautiful indigo.

| Hiroyuki Shinodo, Space Panel, 1993, cotton and hemp, The Museum of Modern Art, NY |

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