Moving Continents:Japan Blue aizome September 2019

A celebration and reflection of my time in Japan a year ago. Keeping natural indigo dyes in all its forms and applications going is a big task for the growers. Several indigo farms in Tokushima supply 80% of the indigo for dyers and weavers. Learning from master dyers in Okayama, Tokushima and Kurume weavers has…

Ransyu Yano HonAizome Yanokohjoh Co. Tokushima

Through the 2019 Japan Foundation fellowship I was in Japan to meet the Kasuri weaving community members and research specific processes and indigo dye for it’s uses for Kasuri weavers. Through Okayama based artisan Hiromi Watanabe, her professional skills in studio based dyeing were an insight into the fundamentals of Japanese aizome practice. Her education…

Kurume High School International event day

Imagine One World kimono project director Yoshikawa Takakura owner of Choya Kimono company had loaned 9 of the International kimonos used for Kurume High School. The big event day on Saturday 13 July. I couldn’t wait to see the works up close, each designer was invited from around Japan. Only three Kurume Kasuri weavers were…

Hiromi Watanabe Aizome artist and dyer Tsuyama Okayama

Getting to know a region through its people, culture and arts is one way of making very good connections to the Japanese landscape of arts. Meeting Hiromi Watanabe dyer and artist through Toyomi Harada from Misaki cho was a tactile experience for our group of visitors from the Arts and Craft Village. I can’t thank…

Japan Blue – Aizome, indigo dyers Tokushima

My trip to Japan wouldn’t be complete without meeting some of the dyers who create original and traditional works from the indigo plant and makers of sukumo. The fermented Aizome or sukumo is made from indigo plants in Tokushima. Awa blue is made from polygonaceae from the knotweed family. The leaves are harvested, dried and…

Fashion kasuri

The 200 year movement of Kurume kasuri has evolved with changes to meet consumers needs. Simpler lifestyles and modern fast paced business towns and cities have meant kasuri designs also need to keep pace. Hiroshi and Masami Tomihisa have adapted their woven ikat range for contemporary life. Dyed cottons with machine care wash makes caring…

Case study Tomihisa Hirokawa and Kurume Kasuri introduction June 2019

When you are in this time and place which are both special you have to follow your kokoro-heart feeling. Kasuri is the Japanese word for ikat. Mengikat is a Malay word in the Indonesian language family which means ‘to tie’ and ‘to bind’. From 1909 the name for kasuri across Japan was standardized. This June…

Takehara revisited

Takehara is the home of Kikumi Takahashi with husband Junichi and son Yuki. I met them last year in Sept 2018 with NZ warbride researcher Mutsumi Kanazawa. Kikumi generously shares her enthusiasm for her local town history. The visit to Takehara ohakka the local cemetery and township was the inspiration for my new, art works…

Moving Continents Japan

Art forms made from natural materials and plants have become part of my contemporary arts and teaching practice since the 1990s in New Zealand arts education. These forms include: plant based dyeing, weaving printmaking, felting using resist techniques. Japan has a long history of many of these art forms woven into its rich cultural heritage…

Guangxi School of Construction Interior Design teaching 21-31 May 2019

Cross cultural teaching exchange between Weltec Te Auaha and GXPC Nanning.We are building scale models and presentations at Guangxi School of Construction. The interior design brief was writtento allow students to bring their interests and creativity with the design process together as collaborative teams. They combined team meetings, hand made models and technology to bring…

Deb Donnelly ecotextiles and indigo dye vat workshops 2018

January 2018 Workshop #1 Indigo summer workshop for teachers group at Kapiti campus. Introducing shibori resist techniques making patterns, blocking areas of cloth and indigo vat dye methods on cotton and rayon cloth. Nui means stitch resist, tracing a grid and stitching then pulling up tightly. Itajime means clamp resist and honeycomb is wound around…

Kurume Kasuri and Aizome

My cultural study of aizome or indigo vat dyed yarn colourations also known as ‘Japan blue’ in the media of weaving led me to find kasuri cloth – a wonderful artistic blend of warp and weft ikat designs. Mainly woven for kimono and yukata use or everyday accessories. This particular weave was developed in Kurume…