Katazome Indigo Leather, perfect gift for Denim Heads.

Dyeing leather with indigo is a tricky business.  Leather and indigo don't always play nice.  It must also been an expensive project to undertake for indigo dyers in old Japan.  Katazome, is indigo pattern dyeing method developed in Japan.  To make the surface design on this wallet, first stencils were hand cut, then rice paste was applied to leather using the stencil.  Once the rice paste is dried, it acts like a dye resist.  Leather(with rice paste resist stenciled on) is dip dyed in indigo vat.  When rice paste is washed out, the parts once covered by the resist is in its natural leather color, while other parts of leather is dyed deep blue.

Although there are some examples of indigo dyed leather from old Japan, information or reference on Katazome leather(indigo leather with stenciled pattern) is almost nonexistent .  Due to this rarity, I was very happy when this wallet was successfully developed after many trial and error.   

The flower like pattern was inspired by the image of tea stain pattern on a napkin.  My husband who is also a designer and an artist hand cut the stencil following the outline of the tea stain.  With the stencil, rice paste resist was applied onto the leather.  

Once the leather was dyed, it was waxed, cut and hand sewn with English saddle stitch.  Edges were finished with leather dye then deer glue.

I always like carrying light wallets in my pants pocket, so I designed this wallet to be minimal and thin, skinny enough to fit into tight pants pockets.  Enclosing flap neatly tucks into itself...Perfect. Hooray for traveling light!

I had one prototype made a year ago and had been carrying it around for the past year.  The blue of indigo and the natural tanned leather gets softer and the color mellows as it ages - just like your favorite pair of jeans.

 

 


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