Just a short one today....
Mystery and Folklore
In researching 'Japanese Boro' for my workshop here in October, i've decided to make my first "Feature Friday" article about Indigo.
(Boro samples for workshop)
Many of the vintage japanese fabrics i'm currently handling in preparation for the workshop have been dyed with Indigo, the colours vary greatly, some have been lightened by sunlight maybe or may have not been re-dipped in the indigo dye to get the intense blue characteristic of the indigo colour.
Indigo dyeing has been around for centuries and used worldwide "a vibrant colour laden with symbolic meaning; a commodity that was once central to international trade and colonial economies; and the reason blue jeans are blue".
There is much information about Indigo from books and from the wonderful world wide web and it was whilst flitting from place to place on here that i became aware that there was mystery and folklore surrounding this "Magical Dye".
(photo from http://photos.ye-travels.org/keyword/indigo;guizhou/i-JR9vJ9n)
Extracting indigo, and then dyeing with it is akin to a conjuring trick. The precursor to the blue colour is invisible and hides in the leaf of the plant until chemically transformed, it's no wonder then that many superstitions and rituals arose due to the mysterious changes that took place in the dyeing process and no wonder that it was used for ceremonial purpose! "Myths about fertility surround the vats. In some places pregnant women are kept away or talismans are added to the vats".
I could use up ten more blog posts to talk about the magic of indigo but 'Feature Friday' is not about blinding you with information (or science), i want it to be about drawing attention to things/people/processes that i find interesting or has influenced my work and my life. You may find it interesting, you may not and that's ok too.
For those of you who are, i reccommend "Blue Alchemy: Stories of Indigo". It's a documentary by film maker Mary Lance. This website shows a trailer, you have to buy the DVD, but it's well worth it.