Saturday, 22 December 2012

Indigo Guru Wanted

Someone shows up at your door and bows... "I've driven twelve hours to get to your house. I almost died in an accident I was so tired.   I have to talk to you. "

Just wanting to close the door and pretend it was an illusion, I snickered and replied... 'the guy you want is in another cave on the next mountain range.' (He doesn't speak English so my snarky wit just fell on the floor, waiting for me to step in later.)

"I want to be a live-in indigo disciple for two years."

Instant stomachache.

After a frown filled impatient coffee, a chill of the guilty MacNasties found me reluctantly asking him to drop by a few days later to try some indigo dyeing.  He had left 'a searching-for-the-foriegn-indigo-farmer-trail' around town and sure enough he had driven from Kyushu to find an indigo guru. He had met my good friends around the town at restaurants etc. and told them he was looking for me. His eager-beaver bushy-tailed enthusiasm filled the bench with supporters before I was even in the picture.

Requests for long-term live-in students who want to learn to grow and process indigo or learn to weave or farm silk do arrive in my inbox and occasionally at my doorstep. Not taking them too seriously, I make an effort to tell them to find something more productive to do with their lives. (Endlessly weeding mosquito-infested mulberry fields in sweltering summer days by myself, wishing to be and do anything, anywhere but there often sums up life .) These kind of requests are becoming more frequent,  I have yet to give any substantial  thought as to why. (I do have a few hunches though.)

When I asked him what and why questions he replied, "I have loved making things since I was a kid.
I want to learn a process like indigo dyeing from scratch... from a seed to a beautiful work of art. I don't care about making a living. I've read....."

Bob Dylan said,

 It's a feeling you have about yourself that no one else does.  The picture you have in your mind about what you are about will come true. It's a kind of thing you kind have to keep to your own self because it is a fragile feeling and you put it out there someone will kill it. So, It's best to keep that all inside.

I winced. These could have been the exact words out of my mouth when I was 25. (The indigo guru seeker's words, not Dylan's.)  I kept them to myself.  Recklessness or straightforward knowing himself. Hmmmm.

Shunpei will come by in early January to clean up the extra indigo field I have so he can start growing his own indigo next spring

Here he is with his first indigo dyed work. We used one of the stencils I picked up earlier last week.


  1. RATS! someone cut in front of me ;)

  2. I wish I could remember how it felt to be that young and enthusiastic. afraid I'm more in tune with your feelings of reluctance...looking for a cave!

  3. ....a warm cave I may add! My batteries don't charge like they used to. But if I leave them on the shelf for any length of time...

  4. Yeah, but he is so cute, how could you resist?

  5. you are far more generous than i am. people write regularly asking to come and live in my house so they can learn everything i know [and most of them expect me to pay them for the privilege] but at least nobody has had the audacity to show up on the doorstep.
    at least, not when i've been at home :o)

    1. It is really a balancing act. The Japanese are pretty clear on taking and receiving. I am lucky there. I meet so many inspiring people that I try to keep my door open. I don't mind being generous with my knowledge, the bottom of the tank is still not visible. Time is something more valuable. Guarding that while trying keep some unstructured time always is a challenge. It is hard to be fair. I think people want to 'be' you more than learn the techniques. This is easier to say no to. Velma wrote to me about this not long ago. I haven't processed it yet.

  6. Great news hope it works out well. I feel that we have a duty to pass knowledge on though it is important that the receivers of that knowledge are the right people at the right stage in life, you don't want to be spoon feeding someone who is not ready or does not have the right drive to learn.