Image: Porfirio Gutierrez, Zapotec Textile Artist.
The latest episode of The Selvedge Podcast is out now, all about the colour red. Selvedge's founder, Polly Leonard, talks about the powerful appeal of red with a Zapotec weaver from Mexico, A Dutch duo, who describe how they are finding new ways with natural dyes and a member of the Khatri community in Gujarat. The earliest existing proof of dyed thread was red fabric from the sixth millennium, found in Turkey. Why have we always been obsessed with this colour? Throughout the centuries, it was favoured for its chromatic appeal and for predominance over other colours. For millennia, wearing red clothes expressed the legitimation of social status, political authority, religious rank, ancestry, and cultural identity. Since ancient times human beings have tried to find dyestuffs that could reproduce the powerful tint of blood, fire, and flowers. Be warned, it’s not always pretty: ingredients for red dyes have included rancid castor oil, sheep’s dung, bullocks blood and urine. As well as the natural dyes of cochineal madder and logwood.
Image: Summer 2019 Muslin postcards collection, courtesy of Injiri.
If you are looking for more textile conversations, we are also running a series of ‘tea and textiles chats’ on Instagram, called Selvedge at Home. In the first Selvedge at Home, which you can watch now, Polly talked with Injiri's Chinar Farooqui, one of our Selvedge World Fair 2020 exhibitors. Every stitch, gather and selvedge in Chinar Farooqui’s designs for Injiri tell a story. Farooqui sees her textiles as text, a hand-crafted tale that’s shaped by artisans and weavers across India. With influences from folk clothing and local dressing styles, complemented by a deep respect for process, Injiri writes a compelling aesthetic narrative. If storytelling looks back to folk traditions, so does Farooqui. She has a Masters in Textiles from India’s National Institute of Design, but can often be found continuing her education at museums, where she studies vintage folk garments.
The next Selvedge at Home will take place on Friday 22 January, where Polly talks to the founder of Raasleela, the 100% hand-stitched ‘conscious clothing’ brand. You can watch live - follow our account for the details - or afterwards on our IGTV channel.Find The Selvedge Podcast here and follow @Selvedgemagazine on Instagram to watch Selvedge at Home tea and textile chats.