The craft of aizome


Clothing has been a distinctive feature of humans for roughly a million years, and weaving techniques were one of the defining characteristics of the industrialization. Plain weave is the simplest and most common form of weaving. It is made by passing each filling yarn over and under each warp yarn, with each row alternating. Plain weave fabrics that are not printed or given a surface finish have no right or wrong side.



Much of the distinctive beauty of Japanese textiles rests on the use of highly developed techniques of dyeing, including paste-resist, shaped-resist, and ikat, as well as composite techniques employing two or more of these methods in concert. This is a masterful and tedious processes, only recently revived in Japan due to subsidies. How high the quality has always been can be seen on these beautiful fabrics, which were made more than a hundred years ago.



Japanese Indigo, Polygonum tinctorium (also called Persicaria tinctoria) is frost tender and likes fertile soil, heat and humidity but will grow almost anywhere - most commonly on the island of Shikoku. This vegetable dye, of course fully organic, was loved for its beauty, reminding people of the ocean and was said to have spiritual qualities. The dye develops its beauty over the years it is used and worn.