“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.