A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Friday, September 23, 2016

african indigo textiles

More inspirational photos from a program given by Matthew Scheiner, Director of the Gallery Jatad in Houston.  The gallery features fine traditional African art and contemporary works on paper.  They have a Facebook page and are open by appointment. 

The pieces he brought to our guild meeting were impressive.  You can see the audience was in awe and cameras were aimed at this one from all directions. 

Close-ups of the same cloth. 

A similar design with additional natural color added. 

I can almost see all the needle marks on this one to figure out how the stitching was done.
"Adire are indigo resist dyed cotton cloths that were made by women throughout Yorubaland" according to the Victoria and Albert Museum site - click here to read the entire article.

This is a different textile and I didn't make note of the pigment or dye used to create the rosy areas.   I love the texture retained after the stitching was removed.

Another fabric with similar design and colors but smoothed to show the stitching lines.

More stitching and clamping techniques next time when we dive deeper into the indigo vat.  


  1. Where and what is the guild you mentioned ?

  2. The first photo made me think: could I use soy wax to resist the indigo? I would need to wash it out with hot water after the indigo had oxidized... would that hurt the indigo?

  3. Unknown: The guild is the Contemporary Handweavers of Houston and their website is weavehouston.org - thanks for asking!

    Judy: I think soy wax would be good experiment! It is soluble in hot water and soap so it might not give you really sharp edges. The first dip into indigo should be 10 to 15 minutes (according to some practitioners) and that might begin to soften the soy wax. You might try rinsing in ice cold water between indigo dips to reharden the soy wax. Let us know how it works! Photograph the process so you'll know if you've lost any of your design details. Washing the cloth with hot water won't hurt the indigo as far as I know, but you really don't have to rush the wax removal, do you? Let the cloth mature and stabilize a bit... time is said to be the best way to "set" the indigo.


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