I is for…
Call it serendipity or simple coincidence, but it seems just about every colour to which I’m drawn has a textile alter-ego. Indigo textiles have origins rooted in the ancient times of many Asian countries, in particular Japan, as indigo dyes from the flower of several species of plant were one of the easiest to source and most inexpensive natural coverings available. My favourite of these are Boro, the repeatedly mended rags worn or used for bedding by rural peasants in Japan. Often heavily stitched and patched, the shades of blue give them a depth and history that is irresistible. Shop my collection of indigo cloth here.
Lots of people like blue. I wonder why? I am definitely a culprit as is my great friend, textiles expert Sally Campbell, We are often found talking of indigo and all its fabulous qualities. My memories of indigo discovery always make me smile (sometimes a happy sad): visiting a natural dyer’s in Central Asia with my mum; searching down the best piece of boro in Tokyo with Aaron and Mitzie from Anthropologie; fondly talking about mends & patches with Sally; pulling and spreading out a new shipment of textiles in the warehouse with Karmn and Paul from Edo Arts. Good memories, I want to wrap myself up in them. On a recent trip to an artisan market in the highlands of the Andes, I bought the cloths people brought their wares in. Much to their amusement, I loved the mends & patches on the woven cotton blues.
I am always attracted to the unusual and the curious, and hunt them out in various markets – preferably the sort with goods spilling out the back of vans, natural history museums, both small and large, artists’ ateliers, historic houses, and traders’ workshops etc. The appeal of old trades & crafts that still exist from textile dyers and embroiderers, shell arts, wood turners & mills, paper makers, smiths & tinkers, foundries, leather workers & tanneries, felters, basket weavers etc are always at the forefront of any of my exploring both across the globe and in my local environment.
An important thing to listen to and be conscious of at all times. Not to be dismissed as an important tool/talent.