I’m a huge fan of natural indigo, but sometimes a different color can be refreshing. Kakishibu (柿渋) is a tannin made from shredded and fermented green persimmons. If you’ve ever tasted an unripe persimmon then you are familiar with the astringency it can have! Aside from giving you a puckery mouth, this astringency has some handy uses.
This water-based dye lends water resistance to wood and fiber, and is reported to be antibacterial and an insect repellant as well.
From soft blonde to deep red and aged wood brown, Kakishibu-dyed fibers will change over time with exposure to the elements. It’s impossible to dye consistent color every time, so even within this collection of threads there will be variation from batch to batch. While this may be undesirable for some projects, when working with vintage fabrics or vintage-look fabrics, it is ideal for expressing a sense of wabi sabi (侘寂).
#1 Rikyunezumi（Green Tea Gray）
#2 Chojicha (Clove Brown）
#3 Kakishibu（Astringent Persimmon Brown）
#4 Suzumecha（Sparrow Head Brown）
#5 Kurezome（Dusky Brown）
Important information from the Fujix website:
Note on the use of persimmon ingredient-dyed thread
Even in the same color number, its shade slightly differs from others depend on the lot, as the dyeing process is being made all by hand. It has the peculiar smell to persimmon tannin.To avoid the extreme shade change, refrain from keeping it in the place that gets sunlight directly. If you wash it with a mild alkaline detergent and/or in water which contains a lot of iron, it may turn black. In case it was blackened, putting it in water which is diluted by vinegar or reconstituted lemon juice will bring the color back to some extent. Do not use the detergent which contains bleach, because it will lose the colors. Please pay special attention to handle as the persimmon ingredient dyeing is weak against rubbing and its color may stain to others.
4 Comments Add yours
How very interesting! And what beautiful colors. Thanks for telling us about this. I’m really looking forward to trying some kakishibu-dyed thread in a future project.
I’ll have some for you to play with next time we meet, Ruthanne.
Very relaxing to hear about the fiber arts in different cultures. I made some things from Chinese Langchou silk (mudcloth) last year, and working with it had such a grounding feel to it.
That sounds intriguing! I’d love to learn more about Chinese mudcloth. I know a little about Japanese mud dyeing, but not Chinese.