Exploring Kyoto I realized we were in the center of Japanese culture and tradition.
I was fortunate to spend a morning with one of the few remaining masters of the art of dying raw silk with indigo. This man, a fourth-generation practitioner of this art form, had recently been selected to create uniquely colored, dyed silk for The Emperor. His work is considered to be a national treasure.
Upon arriving at his home, he shared this ancient process and workplace his family has used for generations. Using raw silk that had been woven by his wife and daughter, he immersed it into vats of indigo dye specially created from a crop grown on his land. Between each immersion the raw silk was hung for 24 hours to air dry. This painstaking process was repeated 18 times to achieve the deep color necessary for his work, in the end taking days to accomplish.