Feeling Blue – The Art of Aizome (藍染め)


Ai-iro, fuji-iro, mizu-iro, ruri-iro... did you know that there are over 30 shades of blue in Japan’s complex system of traditional colours? Ai-iro (indigo blue or “Japan Blue”) in particular is one of the country’s most loved and important colours, seen in everything from the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games’ 2020 logos and Tokyo Skytree, to kimono and denim jeans.

As 2020 has, amongst many other things, surprised us with a newfound love for tie dye, you might have even seen or heard of shibori.  It’s a centuries-old Japanese resist dyeing technique, most notably used in aizome dyeing to create elaborate indigo patterns.  Depending on the length of time that the dye has been fermented or soaked, the indigo can range from aijiro (“indigo white”) to noukou (“blue-black”).

 Sway Dictionary:

Shibori 絞りfrom shiboru (“to wring, squeeze or press”)

Aizome 藍染め from ai (“indigo”) and zome (“to dye/dyeing”)

Are you ready to try it yourself?

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