Spring 2014 is fast becoming a season of Earth-bound beauty and there is no color more intrinsic to this mood than blue. Earth itself appears in the cosmos as a sapphire suspended. The oceans gleam of blue in more shades than can be imagined. Our landscape is covered in it from animal to mineral, from flora to fauna, but especially from dusk to twilight and on to midnight as the light of changing blues advances and saturates the earth. And so at the dawn of the spring Fashion and Home Furnishing presentations at NY Now it is clear that it will be a color that you will be surrounded by and incorporating into your life.
While blue of every shade was represented it looked best when it reflected natures shades, from the palest watery blues almost absent of color to clear sky blues, onto ocean shades of blue green and aqua that resemble cool pools and rippling waves, marine blues of all intensities deepen to colors that reflect the darkest depths blurring the lines between midnight and black. One of the freshest shades of blue is also one of the most ancient and rose to the top as indigo. It is a shade that is often difficult to define like the changing evening sky.
Indigo is at once alluring and elusive. It sits somewhere between deep blue and violet but its intensity is completely dependent on the saturation of the dye and therefore it can show up in a variety of shades. There is something unmistakably mysterious and compelling about its depth conjuring a magical quality. It is earthbound in its vegetable dyed intensity but it is also mystical and elusive.
The making of indigo dye goes back centuries and is largely still done the same way today, by hand. The dyed fabric is the end product of a long and labor intensive process that begins by making the dye itself. The fabric or yarns are dipped and saturated to their desired shade or until the fiber cannot absorb any more color. It is wrung out by workers whose hands are equally blue and stretched out to dry in the sun.
“INDIGO: THE COLOR THAT CHANGED THE WORLD”
A new book titled “Indigo: The Color That Changed The World” written by Catherine Legrand and published by Thames & Hudson documents the making of the dye through to the creation of the fabric itself. It tells the story of the impact that it has had on the people that produce it and the global market that buys it. The book covers the authors travels through the countries and cultures whose economic existence depends on the production of the fabrics, clothing, furniture, and art that are the end result of the process. The process begins by harvesting the leaves and variants from the indigofera plant and then soaking and pressing the plant to extract the dye. The entire procedure is a long, detailed, labor intensive process that seems almost primitive. Click on the video below to see how indigo dye is made and the fabric is dipped and dried to produce this deeply intense hue. It’s clear to see why indigo is a naturally produced treasure and why the process is a valued tradition that must be kept alive.