Upcoming Hurry, limited spots left.

Sukumo & Fermentation Vatting

$ 400 usd
Mon, Jul 1, 2024, 11:00 AM EDT – Sun, Jul 14, 2024, 2:00 PM EDT
Wagon Master Ranch Resort, 359 Adventure Ranch Rd, Murphy, NC, United States Map
Sukumo & Fermentation Vatting

“The deeper the blue becomes, the more strongly it calls man towards the infinite, awakening in him a desire for the pure and, finally, for the supernatural … The brighter it becomes, the more it loses its sound until it turns into silent stillness and becomes white.” – Wassily Kandinsky

Japan is known for its Indigo Culture!

INDIGO dyeing in Japanese is called: AIZOME 

AI = indigo

SUKUMO is the name given to AI ( indigo ) leaves that have been fermented and prepared so that we can use them later to dye in a fermentation vat.  This is the traditional Japanese indigo dyeing method. 

The indigo plant used for preparing SUKUMO is called persicaria tinctoria or polygonum tinctorium. It is a different plant from the ones used in Mexico, India, and Europe. 

The indigo plant grows for around five months, after which the leaves are picked, dried, and fermented for a period of three months. They compost the indigo leaves by adding water, at high temperatures, and stirring them once a week. This is how the leaves start to ferment. They ferment for about three months and the result of the fermentation process is this material called “SUKUMO”.

Preparing the natural indigo dye vat is called AIDATE. 

We first have to form an alkaline environment that activates microorganisms and creates the perfect environment for dyeing. T To prepare the vat they add SUKUMO, lye water (aku), lime powder, wheat bran Japanese sake

The Japanese índigo vat is a fermentation vat, This fermentation vat takes approximately 10 days to be ready. It’s a long process that requires lots of patience!! The 1st seven days will be spent making the lye batches. this is done by mixing the hardwood ash and hot water. Once this is finished for the day, you can go hiking, tubing or work on shibori for later dyeing. Evenings will include bonfires The vatting process will begin on 7/9 and take 10 days. during this time, it is necessary to stir the vat 4 times per day.  ( ie; 7am-11am-4pm- 8pm)

Dyeing in the Sukumo vat will not begin until approximately 7/19

This workshop is for the indigo dyer who wants to learn more about making fermentation vats. During these 14 days, there will be plenty of free time for independent study. There will be other indigo vats available, we will make an iron vat and a fructose vat. I'll also have shibori and katazome supplies and some of my Japanese pre-reduced indigo. This is also a great time to try some botanical printing or making of black walnut dyes.

LIMITED to 6 people

Lodging available on site: https://wagonmasterranchresort.com/lodging

I also have a few local Airbnb cabins on my website: https://www.ayafiberstudio.com/north-carolina-lodging-suggestions

SUPPLIES: Apron, gloves, shibori or botanical printing supplies you might want to use, fabrics


Makiko Tokunaga

Japanese Indigo Dyer and Shibori Artist

Contact us


Wagon Master Ranch Resort, 359 Adventure Ranch Rd, Murphy, NC, United States


  • Seasonal- Blue in the Mountains
  • Indigo
  • Shibori
  • Resist Dyeing- Katazome and Batik
  • Studio- Independent Study
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced