visvim®’s latest survey puts the spotlight on textile and quilt artisan, Yoshiko Jinzenji and her experimentation with natural dyes, in particular those extracted from bamboo. Previously regarded as impossible to render white dye from natural means, Jinzenji continues her research through a rigorous process of trial and error.
“In 1994, I decided to hold an exhibition together with other distinguished Japanese lacquer artisans, and when I was thinking about what kind of pieces would go well with the powerful and elegant red and black lacquer, I was suddenly inspired by the color “white.” I had thought that it was a message from God. However, I had never heard of a natural white dye. I knew that there would be some kind of plant that would work, so I tried using everything from flowers to vegetables and even seaweed, but none of them worked out. I was at a loss as to what to do, until one day I noticed small bamboos growing in the yard of the studio. I began to wash the (dyed) cloth when it slowly started to turn white. I then dried the cloth and after several hours of sunlight pouring down onto it, I noticed that it was shining with a beautiful white shade. I was so surprised at the result.” Read the article in full, here.