indigo making

I started growing indigo in 2016, after meeting Miki Totsuka, who was teaching a workshop in Gifu. At the time I lived in Tokyo and I took the bus to her place and learned the whole process from seed to dyeing from her over a period of 6 months.

Miki is an artist whom I respect so deeply. The way she works with indigo is unique and beautiful. The way she expresses herself through her art is remarkable.

With indigo, the result we want is often the color, we can get lost in this lust for the color. I remember when I was first learning with her I would ask her questions like how many grams of indigo will a plant give and how many grams do I need to dye how many grams of cloth and I could tell I was asking the wrong questions.

I was lost with calculations for a while. Always wanting more indigo.

I started in the smallest field in the middle of Tokyo, then I borrowed a space that was two and a half hours away from my house, then I moved, and I moved again and I moved again!

2021 is the first year that I am using my field for the second year in a row. My field is big enough so I think I won’t move again so soon… Also, I can see it from my house, my cats come to help hunt moles, my neighbors cheer me on.

I went from making calculations to going with the flow. It took me 6 years. I am always thinking of ways to improve this or that but I also have learned to enjoy the imperfectness of how my field looks, the holes in my indigo leaves, the insects in the earth, the hot sun, something is always happening.

It took Miki 10 years from the day she planted her first indigo seeds to her being able to dye with her indigo. Thanks to her teachings, it took me less time but I am still learning everyday. I love it♡