Ever since seeing "Mottainai: The Fabric of Life" at the Japanese Garden in Portland two years ago, I have subscribed to alerts from Sri, whose collection was showcased in the exhibit. Sri sells antique and vintage Japanese textiles, and last week I spotted a swatch book of indigo dyed katazome fabrics in Sri's new listings. Loved it, had to have it.
There are just four fabrics in the book, all made about 100 years ago, and there's something very modern about the floral designs. These prints would work well in today's decor. Earlier in the fall I purchased a couple other pieces from an Etsy seller in Japan, so now I've got a small collection of antique Japanese indigo.
It's very interesting to look at the variety of indigo resist printed fabrics around the world. The thing that got me started was the two 18th century quilts in my collection, and inspiration from collectors Kay and Lori Lee Triplett, who have collected and studied indigo much longer than I. There was also an exhibit of indigo last year at the International Quilt Study Center Museum in Lincoln. Eventually, it was impossible for me to resist the allure of indigo.
When looking for information pertinent to my two quilts, the search led to places like the Shelburne Museum, Rhode Island Historical Society, and Winterthur. It seemed like those two quilts were strong enough to be the foundation for a small collection with a focus on indigo. That's what got me looking at boro and katazome, African fabrics, early American woven coverlets, and even my own denim jeans. I don't know where this lust for indigo will lead, but it's been fun to go down that road.