Curious to know about this dyeing technique that is practiced only at the Hachimantai Geothermal Dyeing workshop in Iwate?
Called geothermal steam dyeing, this is the only place in the world where you can see this process. The photograph below is one of the artist’s handiwork. Isn’t it beautiful?
Geothermal heat refers to the amount of heat that is emitted from the earth’s surface. The first geothermal power plant in Japan called Matsukawa Geothermal Power Plant is located in Hachimantai, Iwate. The steam here is known to be the cleanest steam in the world.
Takahashi, a dyeing artisan, thought that the temperature of the steam and the moisture contained in the steam was suitable for dyeing. After trial and error, he learned how to dye using geothermal steam. At Kobo Mujosen(工房 夢蒸染), you can enjoy a firsthand experience and even learn to dye using geothermal steam under the artisan who started this technique.
No where else in the world can you dye using geothermal steam, so if you plan to visit Iwate, add this to your itinerary.
There are various course options but the easiest would be trying your hand at dyeing handkerchiefs and mini scarfs. Shibori is a world renowned tie-and-dye technique and that’s what you will learn. First fold the piece of cloth.
Then tie it with a piece of string or rubberband.
You can combine various colors to great a subtle gradation. You can dip the tied cloth into various bowls with color.
Once you’ve applied all the colors, the cloth is placed in a steamer for about 20 minutes. The cloth is steamed at a temperature of about 100 degrees in order to fasten the dye.
While the cloth is being steamed, you can listen to the story of geothermal heat and Hachimantai or learn to put on a scarf.
After 20 minutes, undo the thread from the cloth. Be careful not to get any dye on your fingers or hands.
Then you rinse the cloth with water and iron it flat. Can you believe you can create a one-of-a-kind piece of clothing using this unique technique?
Next to the workshop, you can buy products dyed using geothermal steam as well as see the work of many dyeing artists at the Alpine Rose (アルペンローゼ).
Hachimantai’s famous “dragon eye” motif is a popular item.
[4-9 people] One handkerchief and one mini scarf for 5,800 yen (incl. tax)
[10-14 people] One handkerchief and one mini scarf for 3,780 yen (incl. tax)
[15 or more people]
A course: One mini scarf (bandana) for 2,700 yen (incl. tax)
B course: One handkerchief and one mini scarf (bandana) 3,780 yen (incl. tax)
*Reservation required (firstname.lastname@example.org)
*Maximum number of people: 30
*May vary due to weather conditions from December to March
*Explanations can be provided in simple English.