Study for Meditation Mat

Study for Meditation Mat
Handspun Tapestry Weaving

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Indigo Blues: The Dyeing Continues

We had wild thunderstorms on Friday evening and through the night.  Rain pounded the roof and the thunder rolled like tanks through my sleep. In the morning, there were bits of fir tree on the back deck, branches from the trees in the front yard.  All down the block, large limbs had snapped off trees and a couple of trees had toppled completely.  People posted amazing photos of the storm rolling in from the west; the skies were dark, dark, ominous indigo, set off by thick bolts of lightning.  Some areas of the city sustained heavy damage to their roofs, water in their basements and other misfortunes. Apart from some interrupted sleep, we were lucky.

It rained most of the morning yesterday, so I didn't wander down to the annual Folk Festival until noon.  The Festival is free all day, with paid admission to headliner events in the evening. The Farmers' Market and various food and merchandise vendors are there; I bought a gorgeous bag from Guatemala. (Have I ever met a bag I didn't like? Not many.)

I hoped to see the Indigo Girls in a workshop in the afternoon, but for reasons unannounced, they weren't there.  Instead, we heard Indigo Joseph (close enough) and a treat of Latin fusion groups, including Mexican Institute of Sound, Quique Escamilla, Andino Suns, along with Mo Kenney, Clinton St. John, and Leonard Sumner. Apart from Mo Kenney and Indigo Joseph, I hadn't heard of any of these people, let alone heard them play live, but I'm never disappointed with the music at Folk Festival and I wasn't yesterday.

I've attended Folk Festival for many of the years since it began; sometimes, I don't stay long because the crowds overwhelm me. People pack into the park, shoulder to shoulder, sometimes stacked one on top of the other (literally).  Often, I'm lucky to find standing room anywhere near the stages.  Here's what makes me check things out every year-in my experience, it's one of the few, if not only, times in this city when thousands of people come together and everyone is happy. People are kind.  Street people mix with suburbanites. Generations from a single family listen to music and dance together.  People see old friends and make new ones.  You can chat while the music is playing or you can listen attentively. Unlike sports events where opposition is required or other concerts where people can be utterly inconsiderate, Folk Festival is not like that. Much as I dislike the expression, "It's all good," it really is. I go to Folk Festival, despite the crowds and the rain or the beating sun and the mosquitoes-the swarms of dragonflies took care of that for us nicely-just to be among that community.  The Festival gives me hope for humanity, which is a rather sappy sentiment, but it's true.

What does any of this have to do with indigo dyeing? Well, after seeing all the brightly coloured tie-dyed pieces and fluid clothing yesterday, along with hearing a group called Indigo Joseph, I feel inspired to get back to my indigo pot.  I may head to the Festival later, but yesterday wore me out, so I've spent the morning binding cloth for dyeing.  I have an assortment of cotton and silk fabrics; some of it was naturally dyed several years ago and some of it is washed, but untouched.  The tied pink cloth in the photo is silk dyed with cochineal and the multicoloured fabrics are cotton. I've stitched some of it with nylon thread and tied off other sections with cotton string. To the left is the indigo dyed cotton from last week:

Everything is now soaking in hot water, along with a small batch of Corriedale fleece I dyed in the juice left over from a jar of sweet pickled beets.  The day will tell whether it is time for more folk music or time to shift from hearing music of the folk to working with cloth using a process with its roots grounded in folk history. Either way, I'll be among my people.


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