I want to make saddle bags (panniers) for my new road bike. The fabric will need to be durable and (semi)waterproof.
My friend Dan Barney introduced me to an ancient Japanese fabric treatment using fermented persimmons called "Kakishibu." The treatment dyes the fabric and makes it water-resistant. Some even suggest that fermented persimmons are a natural bug-repellant.
I'll use this post to document my progress as I learn about this process.
Here are a few links that I'm using to get started:
> Some history, from a contemporary Japanese textile studio.
> Koreans call the persimmon dye "Garot." This wikipedia page has some more history.
> Techniques for dying fabrics with persimmon dye. Also, sun-bleaching.
> Applying kakishibu to denim.
> A cool blog with posts on Eco-dying, here and here.
> A mysterious book, supposedly the only comprehensive text in english, about Japanese dye.
> Fermenting your own persimmons, from a PhD in Plant Physiology ("Chaotic Gardening," so rad).
> Ordering Kakishibu dye. Option #1 (ships from CO), Option #2 (ships from Japan).
Update: Use Option #1. I just called Chris Conrad (owner of Kakishibui and author of the mysterious book I mentioned above) and she was so delightful and helpful. She was trained in Japan, where here Sansei nicknamed her "What if?" because she was always asking questions about the limits of the process. Chris and her husband are avid makers and fiber-enthusiasts who raise angora sheep on a little ranch in Colorado. 1 (970) 903-5116.
(the Brooks "Brick Lane" Roll-up pannier. Here.)