Tuesday, 22 June 2010


Kakishibu is the fermented juice of unripe astringent persimmons. Its brown colour comes from its tannin molecules. Apart from its beautiful colour, it is known for its strengthening, antibacterial & waterproofing qualities.

Kakishibu has been widely used in Asia (Japan, China & Korea) through history. In a more eco-aware society, kakishibu should be enjoying a revival as it is a completely natural colouring for anything from textiles to wood or paper. It can be used in immersion dyeing on fabrics or equally well being applied to a fabric's surface by brush.

I have experimented with kakishibu and discovered its beautiful effect on a hemp-cotton t-shirt that had been dyed with woad (indigo). The depth of the brown depends on the number of layers applied by brush. This slow build up of dark brown allows it to be used for working with different tones. For the lizard design, I chose to stay with the same depth of colour for the entire design.