The Singh Twins painting of the story of indigo, showing both its value as well as the suffering caused
NATURAL INDIGO DYE: Blue is the color of the sky and the sea. It is the color of the sapphire and the tanzanite. It is a color we take so much for granted when we wear our denim and fleece that we forget that at one time, it was worth its weight in gold, worn only by the richest and royal. Indeed it was called Blue Gold. It also has a turbulent history associated with famine, slavery, and human suffering.
Silk Route: History, as it is taught, has a strong and very narrow bias to the West. Most history concentrates on the rise of Europe, to the cost of ancient civilizations like China, India, and Persia. Yet, through much of ancient history, civilizations were concentrated around the Black Sea and eastwards. Harappa had a teeming population, as did Babylon and Mohenjo Daro. And at the center of this great melting pot of culture, religion, and language were the Silk Roads, a bridge between West and East, carrying goods, produce, ideas and disease.
Cypress Motif: When studying the history of motifs in the arts and crafts, we often read about the Paisley. But there is another motif, more mysterious, more philosophical, one that represents death and eternal life. And that is the Cypress. Many say that the Paisley was born of the cypress when a stray songbird sat on its very tip, bending it slightly. But let’s go back to the beginning.
(more…) Textile Crafts of Japan : I had a pink hand-painted pajama set as a child, which came in an artful box, with the inside flap mirrored and beribboned. I loved this so much I never actually wore it but pulled it out at intervals to admire it. This was my first exposure to the miracle of Japanese crafts.