Saturday, 27 July 2013

Many Kinds of Indigo Students

Winnie and Hilary .... a mother and daughter artist tag-team dropped by for three weeks and turned the house upside down. It was a a bit of a shock on the second day when it suddenly sank in, that when they told me they had never worked with textiles, they were telling the truth. Never.
Winnie is a ceramic artist and Hilary just finished her art studies at NYU in New York. Japan wouldn't need any nuclear reactors if they could find a dozen Winnies and somehow rigged them up to a generator and set them at an indigo vat. The amount of energy released created a critical mass and we all were caught up in the vortex.

I had to change the regular teaching approach. They are super creative and can make overambitious decisions in a severely split second and actually pulled their complex projects off.

Each student who shows up here to learn about indigo and textiles has a different background and different goals. Some know much more than I do about textiles. Some know nothing about Japanese history and craftsmanship. Some don't care. Some are so excited about the new world of indigo and Japanese textiles. They are up until the morning stitching and carving and working on projects. 

 It takes a few days of talking to get an idea of who someone is, what their backgrounds are and what I can teach them.  It can be taxing but I enjoy it immensely. So many interesting people. 

My one-month August group is showing up one by one. Julie, a young French Butoh dancer has been here a week. She studied Japanese dance for years both here in Japan and abroad. She studied corset making in Paris. I could understand her approach to work quickly. She loves and needs to get to the essence of the material through being close to it. Long complex procedures do not intimidate her. The contrast between the creative powerful explosions of Winnie and Hilary's work and the intimate concentration of Julie's work gives me plenty to contemplate and absorb energy from. These are very very busy days at the house. I am somewhat tired and being resourceful with my energy while my batteries are being charged by those around me. 

I came home to the house being wrapped in freshly dyed indigo. I'll never forget it W and H. Thank you for the energy and generosity. Bryan


  1. Lovely to see a post from you again. It always inspires me. I have done a little dying the last couple of days. Using some old woollen fabric with turmeric and food colouring. Turned out quite nicely. Cheers bev

  2. Hi Bev,
    I miss my blog. My old friend.
    It is hard to get an even colour with turmeric. Over dyed on indigo is gorgeous.
    Hugs, Bryan

  3. A post like this continues to fuel my desire to visit your Japanese home and learn from you. I'm working on it, believe me ... saving my travel pennies and trying to convince a friend or two, to come, along. So very much looking forward to meeting you, while you are at Maiwa, in Vancouver, this fall. Keep it up.


  4. Thank you Jennifer. I'll see you at Maiwa.