2012年8月17日金曜日

The Second of Four Announcement Cards




Here's the second card from the I am Ai, We are Ai Project.  On the front are the narrow lengths of cloth cut from the larger cloths dyed by dyers throughout Japan.  They are crowned by dried indigo plants, just as they are in the Returning Indigo portion of the project.  On the back is the same stalk of Polygonum tinctorium from the first card as it begins to dry.




2012年8月15日水曜日

Tokushima Castle's Eagle Gate Plaza - August 12-13

The second of the Returning Indigo events took place on August 12-13 at the Tokushima Castle's Eagle Gate Plaza in downtown Tokushima.  The castle was the home of the Hachizuka family who, as feudal lords of the region in the Edo Period, invested heavily in the research and development of indigo in Tokushima.  Awa Indigo continues today because of their efforts over 400 years ago.

A view through the Eagle Gate or Washi-no-Mon in Japanese.


The arc of the cloths points to the hilltop where the castle once stood.

Visitors seen through the Eagle Gate.

A visitor selecting cloth to make a pin.  The indigo plants are hung to cover the cloth so that people touch the source of the color when handling the cloth.


More holes in the cloth mark the visitors and the pins they've taken with them.



There are more pictures taken by Hanga Yoshihara Horvath here.

2012年8月5日日曜日

Returning Indigo at Omiya Shrine - July 28-29

The first of the Returning Indigo events took place on July 28-29 at the Omiya Shrine in Sanagouchi Village, Tokushima.  The small shrine to right of the main shrine building is dedicated to the god Saruto-hiko who is said to have appeared to local villagers and taught them how to process indigo and dye cloth with it.

I am Ai, We are Ai Project - Returning Indigo at Omiya Shrine in Sanagouchi, Tokushima, Japan.  Over 200 lengths of cloth dyed by dyers throughout Japan who use indigo grown and produced in Tokushima. The small shrine to the right is the one dedicated to Saruta-hiko. (July 28-29, 2012)
The shrine to Saruta-hiko at Omiya Shrine in Sanagouchi, Tokushima (shot in February, 2012 when I was initially scouting out potential sited for this project.

I made an offering of dried indigo plants and the priest placed them directly in front of the shrine to Saruta-hiko.

Visitors to the first of six I am Ai, We are Ai - Returning Indigo sites selecting their favorite shade of indigo to make a pin with.

Visitors to the I am Ai, We are Ai - Returning Indigo project at Omiya Shrine cutting out a section of the indigo-dyed cloth they selected and making a pin with it.  The pins are numbered to correspond to the dyer who dyed the cloth.  This list will be posted as part of the final warehouse installation in October.


Detail of cloth dyed by dyers throughout Japan who use indigo grown and produced in Tokushima.  As visitors make pins from their favorite shade of indigo, holes are cut into the cloth that will accuulate as the cloths travel to six different sites of historical significance to indigo in the region.  The straw mats below the cloth were used to keep the composting indigo leaves warm during processing.

Samples of the indigo pins made by visitors to the Returning Indigo portion of the I am Ai, We are Ai art project that is part of the 2012 National Cultural Festival in Tokushima, Japan.

Detail of cloth dyed by dyers throughout Japan who use indigo grown and produced in Tokushima.  Above the cloth fresh indigo plants are hung to dry for the duration of the event.  Over the two days the plants turn from green to blue and the indigo in the leaves slowly oxidizes. Before being winnowed and returned to the grower for processing, the dried indigo plants will be used in the warehouse installation.


2012年8月3日金曜日

The First of Four Announcement Cards

 

The first card announcing the start of I am Ai, We are Ai.  On the front is an image of a group of pins like the ones visitors to the various sites of the Returning Indigo portion of the project will make.  On the back is a fresh stalk of Polygonum tinctorium.


The Returning Indigo installations are made up of over 200 smaller lengths of cloth - each one cut from one of the larger cloths dyed by indigo dyers throughout the county.  At each of the six sites of historical significance to indigo that the cloths will travel to, visitors are invited to select their favorite shade of blue and make a pin with it to take with them and wear throughout the festival.  This is a fun and simple action intended to build connections between the people of Tokushima and dyers throughout the country as well as to Awa indigo in general.


Invitation Letter to Dyers


This is an English translation of the letter that was sent to professional dyers throughout the country who use Awa indigo inviting them to participate in the I am Ai, We are Ai project.  It really gets to the heart of what this project is about. 

The response has been overwhelmingly positive.  We currently have 44 dyers from 19 prefectures throughout Japan who are transferring the indigo born in the soil of Tokushima to cloth for the project.  The group includes many of Japan’s top dyers, and everyone’s involvement is a testament to the importance of Awa indigo in each of their work.