There are many ways of dyeing and it is common for more than one technique to be used when making complicated designs. I am going to introduce some of the basic resist patterns. Nowadays most dyers use a synthetic indigo blend even though they declare their products to be pure Aizome. Mr. Murata, sticking to the purely traditional way of dyeing, uses only natural indigo extracted from Sukumo.

1. Ito-zome 2. Shibori-zome 3. Ita-jime
4. Kata-zome 5. Tsutsu-gaki  

5-1: Ito - zome

'Ito' means thread and as you can imagine this is the method of dyeing thread before it is woven into cloth.

Kosoen does Ito-zome to order for weaving companies. Doesn't this method look simple - just throw the whole bundle of thread into a vat without any special extra preparation? No, not at all! All through the process the dyer needs to be very careful to ensure that the bundle of thread doesn't become entangled and that the fibres are evenly exposed to the dye.


After each dipping into the dye vat, the bundle must be squeezed by the dyer to remove as much of the liquid as possible. Looking at this picture you can easily understand just how hard this work is. The thread is then shaken in the air to promote oxidization, and then submerged in water for a while, which also helps oxidization. This process is repeated many times.

During the dyeing process the indigo in the fibers must be oxidized.
When the fabric is made from plant fibers it can be exposed to the air for this,
but for silk fabric, oxygen in the water does the job better.

Dyers must constantly have both their arms in the bundle to rotate the thread. Once these bundles get wet they are quite heavy and as most of the work must be done in a stooped position, the work is very hard!

1. Ito-zome 2. Shibori-zome 3.Ita-jime
4. Kata-zome 5. Tsutsu-gaki