Friday, November 11, 2011

"Shindigo" with Hiroyuki Shindo in Miyama, Japan

Our small tour group boarded a bus that carried us from Kyoto to the mountain village of Miyama. The ride through the mountains was filled with hairpin turns, cedar forests (perfectly groomed to produce long, straight planks), and villages with gardens in full production. Here is a link to my album of photos from the day.

The village of Miyama, Japan

Before enjoying lunch with our Sensei, Hiroyuki Shindo at The Little Indigo Museum, we explored the village. The houses have thatched roofs that are built at an incredibly steep angle so the snow will slide off during winter.

Thatched roof with family crest.
Small "firehouses" are scattered through the village...

We had time before lunch to explore a temple

Barb (left) and Kathy (right) at the temple in Miyama
Shindo-san, a lively and gregarious person, gave us a fascinating tour of his collection of indigo-dyed pieces displayed in the attic area of his home/museum. The inner workings of the thatched roof cast a warm glow over the room.

Attic view of thatched roof
Then we moved downstairs to his studio area on ground level. Glenna, Kathy and I were amazed to see his collection of indigo-dyed balls. Glenna swears she will figure out this technique and make balls for stitching temari!

Artful display of "Shindigo"
Large thread-wrapped balls 
Shindo-san explained his process of dyeing with "natural indigo, fermented with ash, lime, bran, and sake in vats sunk into the earth floor of what was once the farmhouse kitchen."

Hiroyuki Shindo, one of the world's leading indigo artists
Then we had our turn. Acting more like a teen than a 70 year old artist, Shindo-san scurried among us to help each person in our group create a stunning, cotton scarf.

Nancy of Kyoto Kimono and all the different indigo-dyed scarves
Wonderful day!

Quotation is from "Blue Sky Thinking, The Innovative Approach of Hiroyuki Shindo" published in Selvedge magazine in the UK in 2007.