Nordic masterclass in natural Japanese indigo
The Masterclass was organised by Helle Rude Trolle and Helle Vibeke Jensen in cooperation with the Japanese indigo farm Buaisou. The workshop was intended to introduce the concept of natural dyeing techniques of Japan to Nordic artists working in the fields of: textile, weaving, papermaking, graphic design, jewellery and academic research. Artists from Denmark, Faroe Island, Iceland, Norway and Sweden participated.
For the workshop I prepared a group of hand stitched vessels using silks, linens and Japanese paper yarns that all retained their natural colours. To begin, we learned about the impressive, evolving processes from growing plants to preparing vat dyes. The indigo vat is a living organism that has to be cared for, nourished and treated with gentle respect. The indigo masters from Buaisou showed us how to handle the vat, how to pay attention, be present and patient to achieve the most beautiful deep indigo colours. Every day a small piece of fabric was testing the condition of the vat; some days it had to rest, in order to be ready for dying again. Efficiency – as we know it – is not part of the indigo dying process, it is about sustaining, not producing lots fast. The indigo masterclass was a genuinely wholesome experience where we had to let efficiency subside and presence, joy and gratitude prevail.