The cherished plant Polygonum tinctorium, known as tade-ai, continues to be carefully grown in the fields of Japan’s Shikoku Island in the Seto Inland Sea. Its leaves are harvested, dried and pulverised, before being fermented for three months to become ai-zome, ‘Japan Blue’ – a deep indigo dye with a unique translucent hue, and one of the oldest plant dyes known.

Large sacks of the dried plant sit in the studio of one of Japan’s foremost textile artists, Shihoko Fukumoto, who has dedicated over 30 years to working in indigo. Using the ancient method ...


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