Craft Portrait: Dorozome
Satomi Minoshima, Pauline Agustoni
Dorozome is a mud-dyeing technique originated from Southern Japan island Amami Oshima. The process involves dyeing white threads repeatedly – the technique requires more than 85 dyeing steps! – until they reach a deep black colour. Traditionally, the technique is used for the production of Oshima Tsumugi, delicate patterned woven silk kimonos.
Our project Craft Portrait: Dorozome takes the shape of an installation and a publication. The installation will be exhibited at the museum Z33: House of Contemporary Art from 6th February 2021 until 11th April 2021.
Craft Portrait: Dorozome is a publication that originates from the wish to narrate craftsmanship in the most forthright way. Instead of relying on secondhand sources and online « how-to’s », we want to go straight to the source of a country’s craft culture and understand it from the inside.
In February 2020, we travelled to Amami Oshima, an island situated in the South of Japan. There, we spent three weeks with the artisans of the dyeing workshop Kanai Kougei, learning and exploring dorozome dyeing. This immersive field trip allowed us to dive into the artisans’ everyday life, understanding their relationship to their craft and getting acquainted with the island’s culture.
The rhythm of the dyeing process shaped our entire time in Amami. It led us to discover a new cycle of creation. The craft showed us its transformative potential, both of the goods that we held in our hands and of our relationship to what we had created. With our publication project, we want to share this transformative potential with unlimited people – you.
Our book’s aim is to take you with us to Amami Oshima and to allow you to dive into the island’s atmosphere by learning about dorozome from the people performing the craft every day. By allying testimonies of the artisans – in the shape of full-length interviews – with photographs of the process and of the island, the publication documents the technique as well as the island’s way of life and offers a commentary on contemporary dorozome craft and its actors.