Indigo Blues

No, we’re not talking about blue jeans. Natural indigo dye is extracted from the the Indigofera plant, and it was a luxury product in Ancient Rome, Europe in the Middle Ages, West Africa, and Edo Japan. For the ancient Greeks, indikon meant both “dye” and “Indian,” because India was the oldest supplier of indigo to Europe until Vasco de Gama opened up trade with Asia in the 15th century.

• This Adire Eleko textile comes from the Yoruba, Nigeria. The designs, signifying various plants and animals, are drawn on to the cloth with a cassava flour paste. As the cloth is dip-dyed in an indigo bath, the paste absorbs the markings to create a rich grid of blue on blue.

• Eben Goff’s Batholith Etchings are abstract compositions of overlapping blue fragments.

• This Platter and Bowl by Elephant Ceramics are handmade ceramics imprinted with the uneven surface of linen and canvas, creating an unusual contrast between textures.

• Robyn Muller’s Indigo I is an abstract painting that layers loose strips of blue and white.

• Mira Loyberg’s Bowl is glazed with a vibrant combination of indigo and other blue glazes.

• Jill Harrell’s iPad Case is made of of textured indigo leather with a raw edge flap.

• This Scarf by Vagabond’s Daughter is made of light silk gauze dyed with natural plant extracts.

• This Scarf by the L.O.V. Project has a dense polkadot pattern made with a dye process that uses natural ingredients like eucalyptus and mulberry leaves.

• Sheila Sullivan-Corbitt’s Nesting Bowls are hand-thrown stoneware clay covered with a rich indigo glaze.

• Egle Adomelyte’s Blouse is printed with a cyanotype technique that records the silhouettes of leaves on the silk crepe.

• Jeanie Deans’ Pouch is made of organic linen that’s been dip-dyed in indigo for an ombre effect.