Masaaki and Tomoko are the couple behind the brillant work going on at Tezomeya. Kyoto is where they call home. Their studio is a short walk from The Kyoto Imperial Palace. I was fortunate that they are located in a big city like Kyoto. Most of the time when I go see craftspeople they are always tucked away in the country-side. Masaaki spoke passionately about his crafts and we chatted about his processes. Their kindness made me feel like I was at home. I felt more like I was in heaven though with all the astounding colors and knowledge to behold.
What you will find there is nothing short of extraordinary. A organic-dyed wonderland. Colors that are made from exotic ingredients – insect galls, mordants, indigo, madder roots – the list goes on and on… . Their main product is t-shirts. Organic cotton, woven on 100 year old loop-wheel knitting machines in Wakayama. The colors are shibui, nothing bright or annoying. Real colors from things you can hold in your hand.
They left their careers to open this studio and do their craft in 2002. Something so simple as a t-shirt becomes a cultural treasure. Colors dating back to Edo period and earlier, they are protecting important cultural assets. They are also creating something unique and important by using locally produced materials. By using organic elements in their proceses they are also doing no harm to the environment. The tasks are tedious and time-consuming. The results are truly amazing, and the story of each color is so deep and intriguing.
If readers ever have a chance to visit you can see for yourself their passion for their craft. You can hear first-hand about the history, chemistry, and love that goes into their colors and products. Please if you are in Kyoto, stop by and say “Hello”.