Well after many years of liking indigo dyed cloth from many cultures in a vague unfocussed sort of way, I recently realised I like it very much, that it definitely spoke to me, but that I know absolutely nothing about it. This, to me, is a wonderful situation to be in.
For several years now I have painted and printed my fabric, usually calico, with acrylic paints. When I first started with textiles this was an accessible way to produce your own fabric and I do like the abstract expressionist look you can achieve, so I won’t be giving it up. I’ve never dyed fabric, but students in my classes often bring glorious fabric dyed during other workshops. Indigo is special in that not only does it produce the most glorious range of blues it also goes with every other colour so well, a quality exploited daily by millions of jean wearing humans. So I have some ideas brewing for mixed pieces, as it is such an inclusive colour.
So I was reading the latest issue of Embroidery, found myself absorbed in the book reviews, spotted the Jenny Balfour-Paul book Indigo, and managed to resist buying it for about two days. But it’s that time of year when to offset the niggling inadequacies of life you need something to revitalise and invigorate yourself, so I bought it, and also one or two other books also reviewed in that dangerous magazine. They haven’t arrived yet, I’m not sure why, perhaps they’re being printed by hand, in a sort of Kindle backlash.
The Indigo book is published by the British Museum, and it is excellent, not a how-to book, but a book that covers all aspects of the subject of indigo, with many illustrations. So as soon as I can, when I have read up more on how to do it, the old indigo vat will be established somewhere in the Redfern encampment, and undoubtedly many strange blue rags will be hung on the line, and once again the neighbours will be bemused by the state of our washing.