Archive for the ‘Indigo’ Category

steady on

March 3, 2010

This week trying to regain some rhythm and restablize a bit after being without power for a few days due to a double-whammy storm that hit this area last Thursday night.  Everything melting and dingy and wet now, but last weekend it was drama.  Now just trying to get my head back to projects underway.  Things that will help:  the Japanese indigo stripe has finally arrived and will shortly become a trim little border to hold the indigo table scarf.  And DIA:Beacon has recently installed some Agnes Martin paintings from its collection that I’ll try to see this weekend.  I really like Agnes Martin.


small indigo

February 14, 2010

Working on a table scarf as a gift for someone very dear.  She loved the colors and fabrics in our indigo quilt, so I’ve used the remaining cutoffs in this piece for her.  Among the ordinary print fabrics are many special ones: vintage Japanese kasuri, African adire, traditionally hand-dyed and hand-woven indigoes, and others.  But it’s pretty busy and needs to be held a little more firmly than just a dark border.  I’ve ordered a couple pieces from Japan in hopes at least one will be right for this.

Indigo table scarf detail-1

Detail of table scarf - full size is approx 2'x4'

indigo table scarf detail-2

some vintage kasuri, handwoven stripes, African adire, and some commercial indonesian batik

boro variant

August 22, 2009

Can’t remember exactly how I discovered Japanese boro, but probably while searching around for Japanese textiles some years ago.  Possibly about the time I started thinking of making the indigo quilt.  At some point, of course I found Stephen Szczepanek’s Sri Threads and could really begin to follow the variations and learn more about the history – along with a good deal of other cultural and textile information on Stephen’s website and blog.  Not long after learning about boro, I started seeing it in other things like stacks of fabrics that happen while working on projects.





Maybe such stacks are too regular and not gestural enough to be compared with boro.  But there is a kind of unintentional composition that happens.  Not to say that boro never involves compositional intent.  You can see that it does sometimes.  (Check Sri Threads for lots of beautiful examples of real Japanese boro.)


indigo inclined

July 30, 2009

I sometimes think indigo must be the color of the human soul.  Or perhaps the soul of all living things.  Here in the Catskills, I’m often transfixed by the indigo hues of these ancient mountains.  I’ve read that they are the oldest mountains in the world, though now they are more like great, elegant hills, the very opposite of brash young skyscrapers like the Rockies.  It’s as if they’ve lived so long their blue souls have become very apparent.  In the winter, our mountains are the more austere, deep indigo tones, breathtakingly dramatic.  In summer they take on blue-green hues, and with their veil of humid haze look faded and well-used like the oldest indigo fabric.

Some years ago, I wanted to gather the full range of my love for indigo into a single quilt.  Impossible of course, but the attempt was not completely unsuccessful in its own way.

indigo quilt with sun, 94"x94"

indigo quilt with sun, 94"x94"

The dark diamond “eyes” in this pattern are made from hand-dyed, handwoven cotton of the darkest indigo created by an 80-yr-old dyer in Japan who used traditional methods.  The lattice strips creating the larger grid pattern are structured mostly by three different indigo woven stripes made by the same dyer.  Both the stripes and the solid dark indigoes were obtained from Susan Ball Faeder of Quilters Express to Japan.

Detail 1 of indigo quilt

Detail 1 of indigo quilt

Detail 1: West African adire on cotton damask; front and back of South African Da Gama Three Cats shweshwe; vintage Japanese kasuri; commercial Indonesian batik; and, very special, the back of a katazome stencil-dyed fabric by Karen Miller (Karen also has a blog).

Detail 2 of indigo quilt

Detail 2 of indigo quilt

Detail 2: vintage Japanese indigo and red woven stripe from a small piece that was used very judiciously and scattered across the surface of the quilt; also other vintage Japanese woven stripe, Dargate wet-print (red diamond), Indonesian batik, African adire.  The occasional irregular center diamond is the result of deliberately inconsistent cutting. A random effect, however, because the color field of the quilt was laid out for the broad surface composition.  The diamond eyes fell as they would.

Detail 3 of indigo quilt

Detail 3 of indigo quilt

Detail 3: red spot in a vintage Japanese kasuri; other kasuri examples; African adire; shweshwe; batik