“I don’t tell the acorn or gardenia seed pod or plum bar what color I want – I listen to the voice of the plants.” – Fukumi Shimura
The Kyoto Symposium is an annual event in San Diego to recognize the recipients of the Kyoto Prize, an international award honoring contributions that have significance to humankind’s scientific, cultural, and spiritual development. The sponsor of the Prize, the Inamori Foundation of Japan, and other supporters provide funds to the hosts to offer the Symposium at no charge to the public. As a co-host, the University of San Diego welcomes the winner in the Arts and Philosophy prize category.
This year’s Kyoto Symposium at USD features the 2014 Arts and Philosophy Kyoto Prize Laureate, Fukumi Shimura. Ms. Shimura developed an original style of art in her dyeing and weaving of tsumugi kimonos, the kimonos of the common folk. Using plants to produce vegetable dyes, Ms. Shimura creates a colorful palette that connects human existence with nature. Upon her award, the Inamori Foundation produced this video of Shimura explaining her dyeing process, with an emphasis on Japanese indigo, and highlighting the two-year training program on the technique through her school, Ars Shimura. Declared a “national living treasure” by the Japanese government, Ms. Shimura will speak at USD in the Shiley Theatre on March 19 about her craft and the influence of nature’s colors on her plant-dyed yarns used in the process. (Image source)
Copley Library is currently sponsoring an exhibit of Ms. Shimura’s publications and library resources related to her craft. The exhibit includes the digital video in which she explains her dyeing and weaving process. Click here for more information about Ms. Shimura.