La Villa Real de la Santa Fé de San Francisco de Asís was the official name given to the capital city of New Mexico when it was founded in 1608. Santa Fe (Spanish for “Holy Faith”) sits at the endpoint of an ancient trading route created by the Spanish that linked to Mexico City, and by extension to Spain. The Spanish established settlements and missions along the route during the 16th century, mixing, clashing, and making up with the indigenous peoples.
The smell of an indigo vat just as it begins fermenting and springs to life is one of ripeness. In this moment of rich potentiality I stand between the history of the materials and processes that enable me to create this dye from a handful of seeds and the promise of all the works that the dye vat is still yet to realize. The labor of small-scale indigo farming, the tasks of resisting and dyeing cloth, and my dyed and other artworks embrace and embody this unmediated state between the past and future, a state of immediacy I sense so strongly in the work of indigo.
The weaving of rag rugs (bocherouite) made by Berber (Amazigh) women in Morocco continues an ancient textile tradition based on the availability wool--and continues, spiritually charged, vivid in color and rich with tradition, based on the availability of rags.
Art quilts, made like paintings to be hung for display, versus the traditional functional bedcovers, are a relatively recent development in the quilting world. The art quilts of contemporary fiber artist Kate Stiassni are among the most striking of this new art form. Examples of her latest work may currently be seen at the ArtQuilt Gallery in New York City. According to Cathy Izzo, Co-Curator of the ArtQuilt Gallery, Ms.
"Weaving is our tradition," Suschila explained to me, raising her voice over a ruckus click-clack coming from a nearby weaving shed at the Action Northeast Trust (The ANT) campus in New Boingaoan, Assam. Suschila and I sat with steamy chai talking over a relentless composition guided by dozens of hands pounding wooden shuttles against their handlooms in a steady beat.