Mary Lance, Documentary, Blue Alchemy: Stories of Indigo
Mary Lance is an award-winning filmmaker with a special interest in documenting the arts, and when she first came across indigo during a lecture in New York she was instantly intrigued.
BLUE ALCHEMY: Stories of Indigo is a documentary about indigo, a blue dye with symbolic meaning that has captured the human imagination for millennia. It's also about people who are reviving indigo in projects intended to improve life in their communities, preserve cultural integrity, improve the environment, and bring beauty to the world. BLUE ALCHEMY was filmed in India, Japan, Bangladesh, Mexico, El Salvador, Nigeria, and the USA.
Indigo dye has been in use since antiquity. For centuries it was the world’s only blue textile dye. A commodity that was once central to international trade and colonial economies; and the reason blue jeans are blue. When trade routes opened in the 1500s, Europeans discovered tropical indigo and over the next 300 years, it became a valuable commodity in world trade. It was a global product, in increasing demand due to the upsurge in textile production during the Industrial Revolution. Colonial enterprises produced massive amounts using forced labor and slavery. Indigo dyed all blue textiles from uniforms to silks to workers' clothing, including the first blue jeans. At the end of the 19th century, this came to a sudden end when synthetic indigo came onto the market.
This fascinating documentary weaves together visually stunning stories of indigo's cultural traditions, its history and importance in global trade, and people who are reviving indigo for sustainable development - once again making true blue.
79 minutes, All Region DVD. If you are buying the film for anything other that private individual use, please make sure to select 'Institution Use'.