Today, we visited the dye studio of a pair of 6th/7th generation katazome artists. The father and son team paste and indigo-dye rolls of cloth they sell to department stores to be made into fancy (and high-quality) summer yukata. Bryan estimates there are fewer than 20 studios like this left in Japan. They very generously gave us a tour and answered our questions, and then let us dip a few things into their fermentation vats.
Some images: 1. inside this unassuming doorway lies some traditional magic
2. tools of the trade–harite (stretcher bars) and hand brooms
3. the son is writing calligraphy with my very serious help (I was very focused you guys!)
4. the father outlines the kanji with paste using a tsutsu (cone)
5. uncovering the in-ground indigo vats
6. carefully dyeing so I don’t introduce extra oxygen into the vat