script> Africa Moto: March 2015

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Decorate: African Indigo Textiles in Interiors

There is no doubt that deep blue indigo is my favorite color. 

I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to this gorgeous and timeless color.

The deep, rich—dare I say moody blue?— color is once again trending in interior design. The beauty of indigo is that it acts like a neutral and pairs well with other colors, such as brown, pink, cream, gray and white.”

Indigo blue and handwoven textiles are a match made in design heaven.

History of African Indigo

Captivating indigo blue has such a rich history that dates back thousands of years. It has been intrinsic to many cultures throughout history and continues to inspire creativity today. African indigo textiles have been studied, collected and exhibited as fine works of art in museums around the world.

Author Catherine LeGrand has a beautiful book titled  Indigo: The Color that Ruled The World that explores the  use of indigo around the world. The book documents the importance of indigo to the practices, culture, art and garments of various communities around the world.

Indigo Dyed Textiles of West Africa

The Dogon people of Mali have a long history of natural indigo blue dyeing, and the color is revered in Dogan culture. The dyeing process is passed down  through family generations.  Archaeological sites in Mali have yielded textile fragments dating as far back as the 11th century. The Yoruba of Nigeria and Mossi of Burkina Faso also have a rich history of indigo dyeing. Other west African countries with a history of indigo dyeing are Guinea, Senegal and Gambia.

Unfortunately natural, traditional indigo dyeing is a dying art form due to the introduction of chemical dyes. Master indigo artists like Aboubakar Fofana have been working on reviving this ancient art form, which you can now only find in remote areas.

How it is Made

Strip weave cloths are typically prepared and dyed by women through a time consuming process. The dyeing takes place in large dye vats, which are partially sunk into the ground. The traditional dye comes from the indigofera plant which grows locally. More recently dyers have  started using imported synthetic dyes.

The indigofera leaves are collected, formed into balls and dried. The indigo balls are then added to water that has alkali (wood ash). The dye bath is then left to ferment. The cloth is prepared by a technique of stitch resist or tie resist pattern dyeing. The prepared cloth is then dipped into the fermented dyed vats and pulled out to allow it to oxidize and take on the bright blue color.  To get a deeper blue, the cloth is repeatedly dipped into the vat. It is then hung to dry.

Get decor  inspired with these indigo looks
Designer Seg Bergamin's home in Elle Decor has some of my favorite uses of indigo in interiors. Next week I will be sharing some of my use of indigo in decorating over on instagram.

Here are some ways that you can incorporate indigo blue into your home

                                   Contemporary indigo pillow by Aboubakar Fofana for Dara Artisans

Hand-Dyed Shibori Sofa via Anthropologie

                                                    Indigo Woven Throw via House & Garden

                                                  Throw Pillow via Amber Interiors

                                             Mali Indigo Cloth via Project Bly

                                                  Vintage Indigo Cloth via The Loaded Trunk
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