Indigo dying has been a long tradition in Japan, using “knotweed” brought over from China. Originally used to dye cloth by women for the family, it developed into a commercial exploit, with dye houses in each village, and where women were excluded. Indigo dyed fabric was sold at inflated prices, while the peasant communities had to make do with the smallest pieces of cotton. This resulted in many garments being made from patchwork fabric. This story of capitalization is common around the world, with people being left behind. My mother came from northern Italy and worked in a textile factory as a weaver from the age of 13. I was taught to sew at an early age and have since learnt to spin and dye textiles, indigo being the most fun as the indigo bath is enduring. I have made a number of glass pieces which represent indigo dyed fabric from areas around the world, in celebration of hand crafts. This piece is in the form of a kimono which means “thing to wear”.
This piece is made by pre-fusing sheets of different glass and then slumping them onto shaped fibre paper. The protruding portions are ground away to reveal the colour below and then the piece is fused again to flatten it. Sandblasting gives a silken finish.