Japan, Awonoyoh / Takayuki Ishii, Indigo Dyeing
Takayuki Ishii is an indigo dye artisan who was born in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. He currently owns a workshop in the mountainous area of Kanagawa Prefecture, where he runs an indigo dyeing company using traditional techniques and materials. Takayuki started contemplating a more sustainable society after the nuclear power plant accident during the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and immediately thought of indigo dyeing. Polluted water used in chemical dyeing flows through the river to the sea and destroys the ecosystem. However, the indigo dye that he uses is a sustainable and natural pigment that can become fertilizer for the land or food for the fishes.
Takayuki studied indigo dyeing at an indigo dyeing workshop in Tokyo, and then visited many workshops in different parts of Japan to further develop his knowledge and techniques. He has learned and mastered all the procedures necessary for traditional Japanese textile dyeing including spinning yarn, weaving fabric, katazome, shibori, tsutsugaki, batik, and others.
Currently, there are only six artisans who produce raw material for indigo dye (sukumo) in Japan. The aging of the Japanese population, which has become a major social problem in Japan, has made it more difficult to obtain sukumo every year. This is a complicated problem in the Japanese textile industry. Takayuki grows the indigo plants and produces sukumo by himself to preserve the traditional method of indigo dyeing. He passes on his knowledge to many people and works hard to preserve the traditional way of Japanese textile dyeing.
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