Estelle Carlson
dyer, handweaver, tailor, USA


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Into Indigo

In 1999 I spent two months traveling in Mali and Burkina Faso, West Africa. While visiting these countries I met weavers, dyers and spinners. Among the dyers I met in the Dogon Country of Mali was a woman named Aminata. She was so generous with her time and information-she was quite proud of her dyeing tools, dyeing gourds and fabrics. She was a wonderful inspiration to me.

Upon returning home I decided I wanted to dye my next warp with Indigo dye. Near my home is a shop called The Weavers' Cottage-the owners of the Weavers' Cottage have set up an indigo dye vat. So with my warp in hand I went to the Weavers' Cottage and spent several days dyeing my warp in indigo.

After completing the dyeing process I threaded my loom (8 harness network twill) and wove my fabric. I put a gold stripe in the fabric-to remind me that the ancient kingdom of Mali was once an important trading center-gold being one of the items of trade.

On the edges of the coat I embroidered with Indigo dyed cotton symbols I found on the handpainted homes in Po, Burkina Faso. I combined my woven fabric with indigo fabric I purchased from Aminata. The lining of this sleeveless coat is silk which is dyed in a manner similar to Aminata's resist dyeing technique. The lining is combined in Dupioni silk, handpainted fabric and Adinkra fabric.

The coat has an uneven hem-it has a narrow bodice and then flares out at the garment's hem.

Into lndigo- my Mali coat - it holds many wonderful memories for me.

Price: please contact

these pages submitted to africancraft.com by Estelle Carlson,
Oct. 1999 -- last updated, May. 2003