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border fade indigo linen scarf

We have a new design of Indigo scarf / stole.

Its called ‘border fade’ and it looks quite dramatic!

Where can I buy shibori indigo products?

This scarf is currently for sale on our etsy shop for international (non-Japanese) customers, our online shop for Japanese customers.  We sometimes do events such as markets in and around Awaji Island, and we are hoping to open a real life shop and participatory workshop in Awaji Island, Hyogo, Japan sometime in 2020!

What kind of dye is indigo?

Here at Ai Aii we dye with our totally natural, traditional Japanese indigo. The indigo is from leaves harvested in Japan that are fermented and stored for 1 year until ready to use.

The Japanese indigo leaf mulch, is called ‘sukumo’, and is picked and fermented by only a handful of specialists in the world. We crumble it then add boiling water and lye, which is an alkali made from soaking wood ash. Sometimes we also add wheat husk and shell lime, in a careful balancing act to keep the vat ‘alive’. We can keep the same vat going for more than 1 year.
This ancient method of dyeing is environmentally friendly as the ingredients are natural and can be returned to the earth directly. It uses less water than synthetic dye. The indigo is also gentle on your skin.
The colour of our dyed products is pure, deep and complex. It is difficult to replicate with synthetic versions of dark blue. The colour doesn’t fade or rub off easily, so you can enjoy it for generations.

Its 100% linen, perfect for any season.

There are various ways you could choose to wear this scarf. Its pretty long, it could be tied in a bow or just thrown over a shoulder.

How do you make patterns with Indigo?

To make this pattern the scarf is folded into a concertina (zig-zag) with a width of about 20cm. We then fasten the ends with strong rubber bands and clamp in the middle with a G-clamp. The clamp is necessary to hold the middle together, otherwise the wood will bow and let indigo and oxygen down the middle of the scarf. Folding and squashing between wooden shapes or planks is called ‘itajime’ in Japanese. I varnished these planks so that they absorb less dye. Wood is like a natural fiber so it will dye like fabric, getting progressively darker and soaking up all the precious (expensive) dye.

The next stage is to dye with a gradient, or ombre, which means dipping the darker side in for a longer, and for more times than the lighter end. I think the darkest end had about 6 dips of between 30 seconds to 3 minutes each). I also try not to hold it in one place for too long or a line/edge will emerge.

Here I removed the wooden sticks and am about to unfold the concertina.

Reveal! It is important to remember that when wet, it appears a few shades darker than the ultimate colour.