An indigo dye studio in Kyoto

Toru Shimomura is a master of Indigo dye whose studio is a place called Ohara with a 30-minute drive north of Kyoto.

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Shimomura was born in the Nishijin, which was famous of brocade. His parents run a boutique selling Indigo dye products. Like the vanish of many traditional craft ,these finished high-quality Indigo dye works are become rarer and rarer ,with the passing away of many old craftsmen. At the same time, more and more craftsmen have begun to turn to chemical dyeing, which even makes Shimomura's parents once wanted to close their store, but Shimomura believes the value of hand-plant dyeing, and decide to insist on it.

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"Although, I began to help my parents to take care of the store at the student age, but I did not think I had to take over and become a master of it. In fact, when I was a little boy, I did not feel the beauty or attraction of it at all. And even felt boring about it . However, I gradually understand and found the charm of indigo , after working for a long time with my father . "

After taking over family’s business, Shimomura spent two years, concentrate on the study of indigo dyeing with Yamagata Prefecture ,a great master of plant dyeing .

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In the process of learning with the master, he was crazy about indigo dye.In May 1993, he and his father opened a dyeing studio in Ohara, and named it"Ai no Yakata". The main reason why they Choose Ohara is totally because of the clean water in this place, which is vital for dyeing.

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"The color of natural plant dyeing is quite different from that of chemical dyeing.I am attracted by those deep and light,vivid lovely blue. And i know that is what chemistry can not be presented. Unfortunately,most Products in Japan are chemical dyed. but the more challenging the environment are, the more I hope to let everyone understand the extraordinary of plant dyeing and Japan blue .

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In Shimomura’s mind, the difficulty of Indigo Dye is the indigo mud. "An indigo is lively,just like a living person. A newborn baby is full of energy, an old man may be lack of energy, but he has a wealth of experience, which is just like indigo. The new fermented indigo have strong energy, But it can only take about two weeks. A indigo mud will drew different color in the same day or morning and afternoon. Just like man,Indigo will  be tired after working a whole day.

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So manual plant dyeing is the conversation between dyers and indigo.

If you want to visit Shimomura studio,please make reservations in advance.and the information may help you.

-Address:Ohara,take Kyoto Bus #17 或 #18,get off at Kyoto Station or Keihan Sanjo station.

-Tel:075-744-2404;

- Opening time:10:00-16:30;

-website: http://aizomeya.com 

 
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