Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mysterious, Exotic Indigo


Indigofera tinctoria is the plant that was once one of the original sources of indigo dye. It is a small shrub with light green leaves and sheafs of delicate pink flowers. This past spring I planted two different varieties of indigo in our garden. I like to use the graceful sheafs of blooms to use as filler in cut flower arrangements.

Indigo, the color of a midnight sky,
the tint of my favorite pair of jeans,
and the dye used to create these exotic fabrics.
Indigo appears in the rainbow between
blue and violet and shares attributes of both.

Hand Dyed Indigo Fabrics

Indigo, a color both rich and mysterious, has traveled through time in many cultures being used as pigment for painting, as dye for cloth, and for both medicinal and cosmetic purposes. A natural dye originally extracted from plants, indigo dye is among the oldest dyes used for both textile dying and painting. Most indigo dye today is usually a synthetic, but these fabrics were dyed using traditional methods of the Yoruba culture of Western Africa.

Gasali Adeyemo

Gasali Adeyemo, one of the international artists at the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, is a master at his craft of indigo batik dying. Born and raised in a rural village in Nigeria, Adeyemo spent six years to perfect his artistic skills at the Nike Center for Arts and Culture, Nigeria. After his student years, he became a trainer to teach others the arts of the Yoruba people: batik painting on fabric, indigo dyeing, embroidery, applique, and quilt making.

My husband and I had the good fortune to meet Gasali at the 2009 IFAM where he exhibited his craft and sold the rich textiles that he had created. The yards of exotic indigo Batik were done using traditional Adire techniques of tie-dyed fabric with traditional natural indigo dyes.

Totally fascinated, my husband and I listened as Gasali explained this time intensive method. Using raffia, he stitched row upon row of repeatedly folded fabric to create the white pattern on the indigo background.

Once dyed and opened a design of concentric rows of pebble shapes encircle this fabric.

More of the same type of design but a little different color effect.

Other designs are created using paraffin or beeswax to lay out a pattern on the fabric with traditional tools such as a broom stalk or chicken feather. Once the textile is dyed, the wax is carefully removed revealing the white design.

Indigo fabrics dyed with this age old natural process are rare these days. We haven't decided what these yards of fabric will become, but we appreciate the craft and the artisan who created these beautiful textiles. Perhaps a table cloth? Pillows? Or just maybe a quilt?

What would you make with them?

You'll find more indigo at Mrs. Matlock's here.

And The Winner Is . . .

A huge thanks to each of you who took the time to enter this Anniversary Giveback with a thoughtful comment and to all my faithful followers both old and new. I appreciate you more than words can express.

Some think the #13 is unlucky,
but not Mr. Random Generator.

Congratulations to Penny
@ The Comforts of Home/
Lavender Hill Studio!

Meet Penny, mosaic artist and author of two wonderful blogs, The Comforts of Home and Lavender Hill Studio. Penny lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina where she creates exquisite pieces of mosaic art and other delights. This active, creative lady also generously shares her beautiful home, gardening, cooking, and inspiration for a comfortable life. If you don't know Penny, stop by The Comforts of Home for a visit. You'll be charmed with all this lovely lady has to share.

Send me an email, Penny, and the Anniversary Gift Package will be on it's way to North Carolina. I hope you enjoy the contents as much as I enjoyed putting this together.

And again, thank you to all who visit, comment, encourage, correspond, and share your individual talents and creative spirits. It truly has been an amazing year with hours of creative fun and a whole new circle of friendships. I follow and read your blogs with great admiration. Bloggers are an amazing group of individuals who generously and graciously share your talents. Your creativity continually amazes me. I learn from each of you every day.

You, to me, are unique in all the world.