It's known as "Japan Blue," or aizome, a traditional indigo dye derived from the ai plant that has been a staple in Japanese textile manufacturing for centuries. Weavers fashioned evening kimonos out of cloth soaked in the rich hue, since it was believed to have insect-repellent properties. But while use of this particular color hit its peak of popularity during the Edo Period in the 1600s, centuries of use doesn't mean new applications aren't left to be discovered. Recently, Japanese craftsman have been experimented with using the dye for wood flooring and furniture, and the results are eye-catching.
Like most areas where natural indigo dyes were a mainstay of local industry, the advent of synthetic coloring in the 1880s, which fueled the rapid growth in blue-jean production, dried up traditional production in Tokushima Prefecture. But now, local craftsman, as well as companies such as the Dairi Lumber Company, which sells cedar panels soaked in aizome, are potentially building a new market and fueling hopes of a wider revival.
· Stunning Applications of Indigo Dye to Wood Products [Design Made in Japan]