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♡

2016年に岐阜に住んでいるアーティスト、戸塚みきさんのもとで藍を作る勉強を始めた。種撒きから染めまでの工程を教えてもらいました。その工程はもちろん、みきさんが藍に対する姿勢がカッコ良くて、見惚れてしまいました。彼女は美術家として、種から作品作りをする。本当にかっこいい方です。

勉強している時、良く、数字的な質問をしていたの覚えています。例えば、何gあれば何g染められるの、みたいな質問です。藍を何株植えたら、何g染められますか?というような質問。その時、彼女はある表情で答えてくれました。その時は私の中で早く染めたいというあせりがあって、気づかなかったですが。今思えば、量じゃないよ、という意味があったり、あせってもダメよという意味があったのだと思います。その時は身体を壊してでも畑を大きくして、たくさん作って、早く染めたい!という欲が大きかったです。藍に完全に取り憑かれてしまってました。

東京、竜ヶ崎、埼玉、岡山で畑を転々として、やっと2021年の春、岡山で同じ畑で2年目がスタートします。あせりがどんどんなくなり、畑の全てが愛おしいという思いが大きくなってきたところ♡