End of Winter Blues
March 15, 2009
A rustic indigo kimono, made for a newborn Boston baby… I just finished several of these this week, which is unusual. Blue really still is, the favorite color for newborn baby boys.
I’m in complete support of the choice of blue, I think there is nothing sweeter than a little one, all cozied up in fuzzy organic cotton/ hemp fleece, all dyed in natural Indigo. This kimono is a perfect garment for the end of winter days that we are now in.
As I sit at my sewing machine with my down jacket on, sewing this deep rich blue fabric, I think of warmer places I have been, where water and air meet in perfect balance, in a humidity that can really test you, and also slow you down, enough to appreciate and consciously deliberate every movement you make. These places where the body slows, are where Indigo can really grow. And where I have seen and worked in vats that are over 75 years old.
This is a series of vats in Northern Thailand. I went to this village, on the border of Thailand and Vietnam, hoping to uncover the enigmatic fermentation Indigo process. These vats are in a line, so that the artisans can dip in one vat, air the yarns, and then dip into the next vat. It allows many women to work together in a rhythm of dunking, pulling,dripping, blue, slow walking, meditation.
Here is Ju, the woman who inherited the Indigo studio from her mother. A devout Theravada Buddhist. She is walking on the most beautiful iron orange soil I have ever seen. Her clothes are from the cotton she grows, dyed in the indigo vats that she creates from her own plants, woven on the looms that you see throughout the village. The women sit under their teak huts in the hot moist summer air, and gently throw their shuttles across their looms, in a click and swoosh, back and forth. I think about the warmth, companionship, artistic fulfillment, ecological sustainability, and love that exists within the everyday motions and actions of this Indigo and weaving collective, and I wonder- is that possible here?
I’d like to think so. The thought begins to thaw the wintery ice that landed on my heart, upon leaving that village. It is now six days until the equinox, and 6 days before I move my own Indigo starts from the indoors into the little green house I’ve made for them in the yard- a miniature Thailand!