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How Did You Get Into Natural Dyeing?

Updated: Jan 23

My First Indigo Dyeing
My First Indigo Dyeing

I frequently encounter this question.

The other day, while scrolling through my phone, Google photos auto slide show popped up and it took me back to 2015. The photos showed my first natural indigo dyeing experience with my friends and kids. It was at *BUAISOU studio in Brooklyn, NY. I still remember the moment I pulled out my old t-shirts from beautiful ceramic indigo vat transformed into brown to green to blue. (Look at the photo of me above. My mouth is wide opened in sheer astonishment. ) Even now, when I think about my first dyeing experience, I get tingling sensation in my brain and stomach. I completely fell in love. Not just with the process itself, but with the indescribable beauty of that natural blue hue.

At Buaisou Studio, Brooklyn, NY 2015
At Buaisou Studio, Brooklyn, NY 2015
Look at my daughter laughing out loud! Having fun indigo dyeing together. I miss this age...!

Since then, my journey of natural dyeing just begun. I started to read natural dyeing books both in English and Japanese. I took many different workshops wherever, whenever I could. I was working full time 5 days a week as a textile surface designer, so I took weekend and night classes. It wasn't easy – especially with a one-year-old second daughter. Balancing motherhood, work and creativity proved to be quite the challenge! I'd almost given up on creating art since the arrival of my first daughter, but then I am glad I didn't. I found Textile Art Center, Fashion Institute of Technology offer incredible dyeing classes. Liz, *Dogwood Dyer was one of the artist I took classes from : ) I started to experiment dyeing in a tiny kitchen in Queens, NYC. When my kids are around, I let them play with the natural dye ink.

Playing with oak gall ink

Then, I went back to my home country, Japan. I realize there are many natural dyeing studios everywhere in Kansai area. I took many workshops in Kyoto. I learned they dye differently. I will share more about my dyeing experiences in Japan in separate posts. Stay tuned!


*BUAISOU moved back to Tokushima, Japan. Their indigo-dyed creations have gained worldwide acclaim.

*Sayaka, who represented BUAISOU in Brooklyn back then started CURIOUS CORNER. which offers a diverse range of products, including indigo dyes sourced from Japan, vintage clothing, and art.

She is a remarkable and multi-talented individual works as a curator at SEIZAN Gallery, NY, as well.

*Liz, known as the Dogwood Dyer, is a natural dyeing artist based in California. Her creative vision is a captivating blend of fun and stunning beauty!


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