⟨ Craft ⟩

Color of the lives on earth

Natural dye by Atelier Shimura

Texts / Ron Lam
Translation / Iris Heung

「即使時代的改變再激烈,地球賦予生命的本質也是不變的。我們與生命親密地接觸,期望能將織物新的美感與活力展現出來。」染織家志村Fukumi及志村洋子,以「跟生命接觸」來解析她們的工作。生命,是指動物與植物,她們以蠶繭造絲,把植物煮成染料,以用鑛物作為媒染劑,全都組成大自然最重要的元素。草木染,原來是連接地球生命的重要工藝。

志村Fukumi與志村洋子是一對母女,Fukumi自母親小野豐的一代,便開始從事草木染,與柳宗悅推行的民藝運動,有著至深的關係。而女兒Fukumi與孫女洋子順利成章地也踏上了草木染工匠的路,並成立了Atelier Shimura。

要做好草木染,得看懂天氣,以及植物在不同季節裡的變化,這與大自然緊密相連的工藝,在現今追求速度的時代裡,已日漸被遺忘。然而,其造來的柔和溫暖的色澤,絕非任何化學染料所能模擬的。Aterlier Shimura不但推出製品,同時也京都成立學校,教授草木染的製作方法,培育專業的人材。

由於Atelier Shimura的出品,都是由染製絲線開始,再編成各種布藝產品。多種顏色不同的細絲交纏著彼此,色彩多變卻出奇地柔和。或許也就是大自然的本質,包容著各種差異,讓所有事物平衡彼此,組織出平和的風景。

“Even though time changes drastically, the substances of life provided by our mother Earth have never changed. We engage closely with those substances, transcending them into works; and we wish to discover new beauty and vitality in textiles.” The textile and dyeing artisans Fukumi Shimura and Yoko Shimura interpret their work as “an interaction with life”. Here, Life refers to animals and plants. The Shimuras weave cocoon into silk, boil plants into dyes, making mordants from mineral; natural dye is a result of combining the most precious gifts from Mother Earth, it is the craft that connects us to the lives on earth.

Fukumi Shimura and Yoko Shimura, the mother and daughter duo, are the founders of Atelier Shimura. The story can be traced back to Toyo Ono, Fukumi’s mother, who was also a natural dye practitioner and an acquaintance of Yanagi Sōetsu, the founder of Mingei Movement. With no surprise, Ono’s daughter and granddaughter, Fukumi and Yoko, followed her steps and became natural dye artisans.

Weather is a critical element when it comes to performing natural dye; seasonal change is also a factor that affects plants. One can say natural dye is a handicraft that is inseparable from Mother Nature. Although it may be gradually forgotten by our modern society which is predominated by efficiency, the warmth and tenderness from natural dye color is not something that can be replicated by chemical dye. Atelier Shimura produces and educates. By setting up a teaching space for people to learn about natural dyeing, the brand aspires to provide education and training to talented practitioners.

Dyeing thread is usually the first step Atelier Shimura takes when creating any textile product; delicate threads of different colors are then interwoven into a colorful but calm picture. Like in Mother Nature, dissimilar materials co-exist without tension to create a well-balanced tranquility.