Craft Portrait: Dorozome exhibited at gallery Kazerne for the exhibition Between No-Longer and Not-Yet during Dutch Design Week 2021, photography by Yuta Sawamura

2 Craft Portrait: Dorozome publication

3 Craft Portrait: Dorozome exhibited at Atelier Muji Ginza

4 installation textiles drying in the air

5 Kanai Kougei workshop

6 treasures of the workshop

7 Japanese traditional craftsmanship certification

8 extracts from our Deep Mind for the exhibition re-FORMAT at Z33 (Design by Jore Dierckx)

washing the textiles by the river with Kazuko-san

01. Craft Portrait: Dorozome

Craft Portrait: Dorozome is a design project about contemporary craft Dorozome, a traditional Japanese mud-dyeing technique during whose process white yarns are repeatedly dyed until they reach a deep black colour.

In a largely globalized and standardized world, material creation often takes the shape of quickly mass-produced goods and we believe in the counter-cultural, alternative, almost rebel potential of craftsmanship to challenge the status quo. That’s what we want to emphasize with Craft Portrait. How to see further than the final product of such a rich and complex process?

For this project, we travelled to Amami Oshima, an island located in the South of Japan. There, we spent three weeks with the artisans of the Dorozome workshop Kanai Kougei. This immersive field trip allowed us to dive into the artisans’ everyday life, helping us understand their relationship to their craft and get acquainted with the island’s culture.

Our final outcome is a twisting textile installation showing the process colours of Dorozome and an art book presenting interviews of Dorozome artisans with photographs of the island.

Our textile installation highlights the usually invisible process colours of the technique. By tackling the so-called artisan aesthetic -the aesthetic of artefacts incomplete or in the process- we give a stage to those anonymous colours to exist.

We are using the rhythm of the twisting motions present in the dyeing process in our installation to accentuate the repetition of the artisans’ movements throughout the completion of the craft. This movement merges with the voices of the artisans telling about their relationship to their craft.

Beside our textile exhibition, we have published an art book containing 11 interviews we directed with the artisans we met on Amami Oshima. By involving the artisans and creating space for their testimonies, stories and opinions on their craft, we lead a dialogue surrounding craftsmanship that values the speech of the people performing it every day. At its core, the project originates from the wish to narrate craftsmanship in the most forthright way. Instead of relying on secondhand sources and online « how-to’s », we want to go straight to the source of a country’s craft culture and understand it from the inside.

Collaboration with Satomi Minoshima

Collaboration with Yukihito Kanai and the artisans of Dorozome workshop Kanai Kougei

Mechanical Design by Matiss Balodis

2023 Swiss Design Awards, Basel, Switzerland

2022 Exhibited at Research! Design with Fascinating Processes, Atelier Muji Ginza, Tokyo, Japan

2022 Exhibited at Design Fest Gent, Design Museum Gent, Gent, Belgium

2021-2022 Exhibited at Between No-Longer and Not-Yet, Kazerne, Eindhoven, the Netherlands

2021 Exhibited at re-FORMAT, Z33 House for Contemporary Art, Design & Architecture, Hasselt, Belgium

This project was supported by POLA Art Foundation