Master Yasuo Nakajima Sensei (master indigo dyer) of Hanyu City, Japan, participated in CCA Textiles Program's Masters of Tradition series on the Oakland campus, where he was artist-in-residence March 24-28, 2008.
Many regular classes in the Textiles Program were suspended, and Master Nakajima and and his entourage of experts taught a series of workshops on indigo dyeing and traditional stitching that included customary dyeing and surface design methods, such as ikat, shibori, and katazome.
Mr. Nakajima is a master indigo dyer and successor to the family business that was founded in the mid-19th century, Nakajima Indigo Dye Works. Master Nakajima continues to operate the dye-works using the traditional methods of natural indigo dyes kept alive in sunken earthenware vats.
As a designated regional Living Treasure of Japan, Master Nakajima's goal is to impart his experience, skills, and knowledge to the next generation of artisans and artists wishing to work with traditional Japanese indigo dye techniques.
Also teaching were Kiyo Oshio Sensei (master stitcher), Kumiko Toya (stitcher), and Daigo Niijima (indigo dyer). Dignitaries visiting CCA with Nakajima Sensei included Mr. Koumei Kawata (mayor of Hanyu City, Saitama Prefecture) and his wife, Mrs. Midori Kawata, Jyun Saito (the mayor's secretary), and Hideo Ninomiya Sensei (clothing manufacturer from Hanyu City).
CCA Provost Stephen Beal hosted a dinner that was attended by Associate Dean Mark Takiguchi and Textiles Program Chair Deborah Valoma who honored the guests from Japan.
In an effort to bring traditional skills and voices into the curriculum, CCA's Textiles Program has cultivated a nine-year relationship with Master Nakajima. During week-long residencies occurring in 1997, 2002, and 2005, and now again in 2008, Master Nakajima taught, demonstrated, and lectured about a wide variety of indigo dye techniques.
These intensive learning experiences focused the attention of the entire student body on the depth and breadth of Japanese indigo dye techniques. Just as important, these cross-cultural encounters provided a unique opportunity for students to be immersed in Japanese aesthetic and philosophical approaches.
The Textiles Program is deeply committed to bringing diverse voices and viewpoints into the curriculum at all levels. In the classroom they have hosted traditional artists, including Tongan tapa makers, Mien embroiderers, traditional French-lace makers, and Native American basket weavers, among others.
Recently the Textiles Program established the biennial Masters of Tradition series. Every other spring semester the program invites a master of a textile tradition to teach workshops available to all students interested in taking a textile course.Read the rest