In the air

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Mary Hark’s work at the Textile Center of Minnesota

You know how when you learn a word, you start to read and see it everywhere? That’s how I feel about indigo.

Recently, I was purchasing items that evoke those traded in the 1760s for my job at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. My to-buy list was deep—garters, sugar nippers, escutcheons, cloves—but my colleague, a graphic designer, felt we needed one more thing. She suggested “French indigo.” I said, “Why not?” So I hopped on Botanical Colors and bought a pack. I should receive it by midweek, and it’ll add a vivid blue to our display.

Then yesterday, while sitting at my home office, I saw this display float past. It was Friday prayer at the local mosque, and the local Somali women were headed over. Note the one on the right, an indigo lover if ever I saw one.

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View of Somali women from my window

My same work friend, Kris, suggested we knock off work early. It was a beautiful, sunny Friday, so we crossed the Mississippi River to the Textile Center of Minnesota. What did we find? An exhibition of Mary Hark’s indigo dyeing work, drawing from the richness of African shibori techniques. There is much here for Kim and me to learn!

Outside, the robins are singing, the crocus are poking their purple heads through the earth, the joggers are gamboling around on bare legs, and indigo is definitely in the air.

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