If I had to choose a favourite colour, I would have to opt for Indigo. The oxidisation process that occurs when the fibre is lifted out of the dye bath for me is magic. (Although, I have recently learned this process also occurs when dying with Tyrian Purple and now wonder if any other dyes react in this way.) With this in mind, it is unsurprising that, when it came to choosing from the long list of events that ran during London Craft Week, I gravitated towards the ones featuring indigo. There was much on offer.
Coal Drops Yard in Kings Cross had commissioned a series of handmade and hand dyed flags specifically for London Craft Week from BUAISOU, a Tokushima based dye company. Tokushima prefecture is known as the production area of Awa Indigo (see issue 81) and BUAISOU are involved at every stage - from Indigo cultivation to creating dye and dyed products. BUAISOU indigo dye uses a traditional technique which is called “jigoku date” (meaning: producing hell) mixing wood lye, bran and shell-ash, followed by a fermentation process. This is the most difficult dye to produce in the world, but the colour it produces is deep and does not run like other dyes. BUAISOU works extensively in Japan and abroad, running workshops and putting on exhibitions. See Indigo Hands at Coal Drops Yard until 30 May.
From the other side of the world, Blue Innovations: Contemporary Czech Indigo is an exhibition at the Czech Cultural Centre. The exhibition introduces traditional Czech indigo printing techniques from the two remaining block printing workshops in the Czech Republic via photography, video and the components used for printing. It also showcases contemporary indigo block printing production featuring the work of Alice Klouzková, who creates exceptional, high-quality hand-made items in collaboration with some of the most talented and specialised craftspeople in the country.
Until 14 Jun 2019, Vitrínka Gallery, Czech Centre London, 30 Kensington Palace Gardens, London.
Blog post by Polly Leonard.
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