Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Indigo: In Search of the Color that Seduced the World by Catherine E. McKinley

Kweli recommended this book to me by way of Facebook.  Being a fabric designer herself she was really provoked to think deeper about the state of contemporary fabric production of African fabrics and the history behind it.  I downloaded the book to my laptop but I should have trusted her judgement and purchased a hard copy of the book, because now for 14 bucks I have it on my computer but for 3 dollars more I could have had the hard copy and after reading it, I wished I had.   Not realizing my assumption before hand, I thought the book would be an informative straight forward historical read, but it was much more than that...it documents one American woman's obsession with Indigo and the reason she is trying to discover why.  On a Fulbright Scholarship she journeys through West Africa looking for authentic Indigo production and use, but the cloth, not being in vogue compared to its past, is elusive.  Her adventure is told in antedotes which helps the book move ratherly quickly, but there are times I wanted more details of the story and wanted to get to know more about her feelings in relation to the people and places she visited.  But it is the search for Indigo that compels the story and the human relationships and geography take a back drop.


When I get taken with a book like I am with this one, I go off on a google search to find out more about the author and ended up requesting a FB connection only to find out she has a friend here in Louisville who I consider a good art-friend and has visited here before.   So I'm hoping there will be a chance to meet her and hear more of her stories sometime in the distant future.


McKinley's book led me to order In the Shadow of Slavery: Africa's Botanical legacy in the Atlantic World by Judith A. Carney and Richard Nicholas Rosomoff.  I started it last night and I tell ya it starts my mind spinning because I'm wondering if I can create a narrative in cloth around the crows, the faces I've sketched (the old woman who can be seen in older posts below), and botany...so my immediate challenge is to get centered and just listen for a bit.


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Yesterday I started a do-over, from scratch...hand-painting with fabric and acryllic paint mixed with Golden 900 vs using thickened dye like I used on the first start.  Its fairly large and detailed for me and I just hope I can meet a mid-November deadline for a regional fine art show.


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Remember when I said I was in the studio the day after Davis' murder by the state of Georgia and had the intent of doing one thing and then I heard this phrase in my head?  The phrase was, These are the Boats Carrying Us to Heaven.  I decided to put aside my intent and explore what this could mean.  As a result I have over 200 small "boats" to paint with distinct markings on cotton with a working size of 5 feet by 4 feet.  I would like to hand quilt it as the piece has a RAW art vibe on it.  But no way would I make a November deadline if I decide to hand quilt it.  


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Also, yesterday, in preparation to attempt meeting another deadline I sent a completed quilt into surgery.  I wasn't happy with one side but did love the surface...so I removed the facing and, today will attempt to square it up better.


Tuonane baadaye (See you later in Kiswahili)



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