ACE CAMPS TRAVEL COMPANY

FUJINO INDIGO 2018

SHIBORI + INDIGO DYEING WORKSHOP IN THE MOUNTAINS OF JAPAN | FUJINO, JAPAN | OCTOBER 28 - NOVEMBER 8, 2018

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Located in the beautiful mountain village of Fujino, just outside of Tokyo, this 12 day Ace Camp is a master class introduction to Japanese textiles with a focus on indigo dyeing using shibori techniques and katazome stenciling. This workshop is perfect for designers, crafters and anyone who enjoys or wants to learn about stitching and dyeing. For those individuals considering setting up an indigo vat at home, this is an excellent opportunity to learn to make and maintain a non-fermented indigo vat. The material covered in the workshop is also a hands-on introduction into Japanese culture in general. The ideas and technical approaches to textile work share the same ethics and standards as Japanese artistic disciplines. 

For inspiration we'll head to Folkcraft Museum in Tokyo, this is the place to get back to the source of where everything Japanese derives. Understanding the origins of Japanese crafts, feeling and absorbing the subtle seasonal nuances will give you further insight into all things Japanese.

Japanese Textiles are fascinating in their precise structures, complex techniques and aesthetic sophistication. At the farmhouse you will have access to hundreds of textile-related books and examples of traditional Japanese textiles. In addition, we will explore the art of textile recycling techniques in old rural Japan, ashiko and akiori, (‘reinforced stitches’ and ‘rag weave,’ respectively). Of particular interest is the Zen Japanese aesthetic of refined poverty (wabi sabi) apparent in every stitch and shuttle pass of these textiles. Join us on this unmissable adventure. 

This Ace Camp includes:

  • 11 nights*  (based on shared occupancy)
  • 11 breakfasts
  • 11 lunches
  • 9 dinners 
  • 10 days of workshops, lectures and discussions with Bryan Whitehead, Indigo Expert
  • A guided tour of the Tokyo Folk Craft Museum
  • Ikebana flower arranging workshop
  • Tea Ceremony
  • Katazome Stencil workshop with 6th generation Katazome Master
  • Delicious home cooked Japanese meals
  • Transport during workshop 

*Rooms are shared with one other person.  Unfortunately, there is no opportunity for single rooms. The first night is hotel accommodation in Tokyo and the remaining 10 nights are farmhouse accommodation in Fujino. 

This Ace Camp is limited to 8 people.

There will be no refunds for this Ace Camp due to the planning and logistics involved. 

Fee:  $3989.00 USD - airfare is not included

Deposit:  $2289.00 - due when place in workshop is confirmed 

Final Payment of $1700.00 due July 27, 2018

/\/\/\ WAITLIST /\/\/\

BRYAN WHITEHEAD, indigo & shibori expert

Originally from the West Coast of Canada, Bryan has been living in Japan for 27 years, farming and processing indigo for over 20 years, and rearing silkworms for 18 years. 

He runs a small textile school at his 150-year-old farmhouse that focuses on indigo dyeing, natural dyes, shibori, stencil dyeing ( katazome), thread making from silk cocoons, and weaving on traditional Japanese looms. The farmhouse is situated in a serene tea-growing mountain village just outside of Tokyo.

 

Shibori Techniques – There are an infinite number of ways one can bind, stitch, fold, twist, or compress cloth for shibori, and each way results in very different patterns. Each method is used to achie0ve a certain result, but each method is also used to work in harmony with the type of cloth used. Therefore, the technique used in shibori depends not only on the desired pattern, but the characteristics of the cloth being dyed. Also, different techniques can be used in conjunction with one another to achieve even more elaborate results.

 

Bryan Whitehead

Bryan Whitehead

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where we're staying:

Fujino in Japan’s northwestern Kanagawa Prefecture is a peaceful place with a population of about 10,000 people. The village was designated as one of ‘ The Most Scenic Mountain Villages in Japan’. Located in a valley and surrounded by abundant nature with mountains and lakes, it is only one hour away from central Tokyo. Fujino is an incubator for sustainable living, and artistic creativity known as an artists’ haven, promoting and displaying art works around town.

From the front of the Farmhouse you can see well-tended tea terraces ascending impossibly upward. The guest rooms on the third floor were completed four years ago. The rooms are comfortable and cozy. There are three shared bathrooms on the first floor with a shower and a traditional Japanese wood bath in the garden. There is WiFi at the farmhouse. There are healthy snacks, drinks and fruit in the kitchen at all times. Please note there may be friendly cats and dogs on site in case of allergies.

A glimpse inside the 150 year old farmhouse where we will spend 10 days.

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IMPORTANT TRIP NOTES

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homework

Each guest will be mailed a homework box filled with fabric and supplies about 6 weeks before the workshop. This homework will need to be completed prior to you arrival in Japan. The homework time commitment will be 50+ hours of hand stitching work and katazome stencil cutting.  Full instructions will be provided, and the work is simple enough for a beginner. We will always be on hand to answer any questions you may have. The stitching work is an important part of your journey through the process of learning about shibori techniques. 

MOBILITY

The stairs in the farmhouse are quite steep, with the bedrooms on the third floor. Additionally, there is a short, but steep ladder climb required to access the river where we wash our dyed pieces of fabric.

FOOD

Japan is not always an easy place to travel for vegans, vegetarians or those with restricted diets such as gluten-free. Many foods in Japan that appear to be vegetable based may be prepared with dashi (stock), which contains traces of dried fish and soy sauce. Gluten, fish + soy sauce in particular are staples in Japanese cuisine. Unfortunately we are unable to handle specific dietary requirements on this trip as almost all our meals will be served family style. 

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TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS

ACE CAMPS  will email you when it is time to make your travel arrangements. This email will always be sent 60 days or more before your trip departs unless you book within 60 days of the camp. If this Ace Camp fills prior to 60 days we will let you know right away so you can plan. 

Transportation to central Tokyo can be made from either Haneda Airport or Narita Airport via airport bus, train and private shuttle. More detailed travel arrival information will be sent after your registration.

WEATHER

Autumn is from September to November, and is generally cooler with less humidity. Fall is always a welcome relief with clear blue skies and beautiful autumn colours. Average temperatures range from 9°C to 16°C (49°F to 60°F). Daytime temperatures are almost always moderate, but the evenings are often cooler in the hillside towns.

ACE CAMP TOUR LEADER

The ACE CAMP TOUR LEADER is a part of your group and are there to look out for your safety, to help resolve issues, and to make sure you get what you want from your vacation. The Tour Leader will make sure that everyone who wants company has it, including dinners when no group meal is scheduled.

 


*AN IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT THE ITINERARY...

We prefer to keep the structure each day as organic as possible, the itinerary below is a general overview of the activities we hope to try out while in Fujino. There are so many different projects to work on and interesting spots to visit, we try to adjust the activities in a way to make them meaningful for the whole group. A couple of the activities are weather dependant so we may have to shift things around. We are often working on projects from morning until night. Flexibility and an open mind are requested to fully relax and enjoy this immersive cultural + creative experience. 

 

ITINERARY*

DAY ONE - SUNDAY

Travel Day - Arrival in Tokyo

Check-in at 3 pm to Tokyo Hotel.
7:00  Casual welcome dinner, meet + greet

DAY TWO - MONDAY

Breakfast at the hotel

Today we are picked up in a private bus and from there we will drive to the quietness of the mountain village only an hour and a half away. After unpacking you will be welcomed by a typical Japanese lunch.

Not wasting any time we dive head first into a talk about indigo and Japanese shape-resist dyeing, shibori. It is a round table discussion and questions and comments are encouraged. We will check the homework and start pulling the stitches to prepare for indigo dyeing. We will also start another folding project in preparation for dyeing tomorrow.

Dinner - local grilled-chicken restaurant

If the weather is good, a campfire with beer and wine are waiting for us back at the farmhouse. There is also a traditional wood bath next to a small stream in the garden, if anyone would like a proper Japanese bath before bed.

DAY THREE - TUESDAY

Breakfast is simply served on the kitchen island. Lots of fruit and yoghurt and cereals, bread and pancakes, and eggs.

Today the talk will be about Indigo and the vat process.

The first step will be to set up an indigo vat and get a clear idea of the variety of processes involved. We will dye Japanese tenugui towels and cotton thread to familiarize you with the dyeing properties of indigo.  By the end of ten days you will have a clear understanding of how indigo works with the various additives, different kinds of dye vats and the reaction of indigo with different kinds of fabric.  

Today, you will complete the binding of your homework to prepare it for dyeing.

Late afternoon, Bryan will take those in the group interested to the local Onsen - a Japanese hot spring. 

Dinner at the farmhouse

DAY FOUR - WEDNESDAY

Breakfast at farmhouse

The after-breakfast talk will be about the local silk producing history and silk in general. We will have a silk thread making (both spun and reeled) demonstration.

We will make two natural dye baths from gardenia pods and madder to under dye yellow and red to combine with indigo to get greens and purples. If you decide to use indigo at home this is a useful skill to expand your color palette. We will dye scarves with these dyes.

Lunch will be a simple Japanese hot tofu dish. This afternoon you will have time at the indigo vats to dye scarves and stencil patterns.

Dinner - TBD 

If the weather is good, a campfire and traditional wood bath will be set up and available in the garden of the farmhouse. 

DAY FIVE - THURSDAY

Breakfast at farmhouse

The morning talk will be on stencil dyeing and a short talk on local history and local food customs. We will spend the day working on indigo projects. If the weather is clear, we will experiment with leaf stencilling to get a better feel for it.

In the afternoon you will be introduced to katazome stencil dyeing in preparation for our outing tomorrow.

Later in the afternoon we will try to visit a local potter who makes beautiful pieces and is generally inexpensive. The pottery can be boxed and shipped from the local post office if necessary. (note, this may change dependant on how much supply the potter has available).

Dinner - we will try a local restaurant in Fujino (not included), perhaps Japanese Pizza!

If the weather is good, a campfire and traditional wood bath will be set up and available in the garden of the farmhouse. 

DAY SIX - FRIDAY

Breakfast at farmhouse

Today we have a special outing planned to the katazome stencil master who lives a short train trip away. You will not only witness the astounding techniques and skills but the values and aesthetics that make Japanese textiles so interesting. We will spend the day at the doyen master's house. We will use the stencils we cut for the homework to make some simple table runners and tenugui scarves. It is a very interesting and fun day.

Lunch - Bento Box

Dinner - at the farmhouse

If the weather is good, a campfire and traditional wood bath will be set up and available in the garden of the farmhouse. 

DAY SEVEN - SATURDAY

Breakfast at farmhouse

Today's activities are stencil dyeing and shibori. You are welcome to bring a small amount of your own cloth or garments to dye ( within reason). We will learn and practice more advanced stitching details and test out other methods for folding, binding and compressing the material to be dyed.

Dinner at the farmhouse

DAY EIGHT - SUNDAY

Breakfast at farmhouse

The after-breakfast talk will be on the subject of the Japanese Crafts Movement.

From the farmhouse we head into Tokyo, where Bryan will lead us on a guided tour of the Japanese Folkcraft Museum. This is the place to get back to the source of where everything Japanese derives. Understanding the origins of Japanese crafts, feeling and absorbing the subtle seasonal nuances will give you further insight into all things Japanese.

Lunch - Noodle Shop

This afternoon Bryan will take us to some vintage textile stores, a stencil shop and other interesting spots we find along the way. We make our way back to Fujino late afternoon.

Dinner - nabe (traditional Japanese soup/stew) at home

DAY NINE - MONDAY

Breakfast at farmhouse

The morning will be spent on the same activities as Saturday: stencilling, shibori and indigo dyeing. 

In the afternoon we will have a special Japanese flower arrangement lesson.  Hiro sensei will guide you through the elementary principles of design. It is always a great time. 

Dinner - we will try a local restaurant in Fujino (not included)

DAY TEN - TUESDAY + DAY ELEVEN - WEDNESDAY

The last two days of the workshop are left flexible for you to work on any projects you wish. Most of the students prefer to spend more time at the indigo vat. 

Bryan will give you individual guidance on your projects. You will have time to cut more sophisticated katazome stencils and try more elaborate shibori techniques.

There are several local artisans studios around Fujino. We can make decisions about where to visit together.

The farmhouse is surrounded by beautiful mountainside and an ideal hiking location. You may also choose to carve out a path thru the lush hillside one day. 

One afternoon a friend will come to the farmhouse and perform a traditional tea ceremony.

Dinner at the farmhouse

If the weather is good, we hope to enjoy one last campfire in the garden.

DAY TWELVE - THURSDAY

Breakfast at farmhouse

This morning we say Sayōnara! さようなら and take the train back to Shinjuku Station in Tokyo.

 

*WAITLIST ONLY*

 

Nota Bene: this is a prospective itinerary. It is subject to modifications, dependent on local weather, new opportunities and the desires of the group.