Indigo Colloquium

The Year of Ethnobotany: North American Indigo Projects
Sunday, 31 March 2019 at UC Botanical Garden, Berkeley, CA

Slow Fiber Studios and UC Botanical Garden collaborated in presenting the North American Indigo Projects with guest speakers, including world-renowned natural dye expert Michel Garcia from France; Sarah Bellos of Stony Creek Colors, Tennessee; and Rowland Ricketts, Indiana. Their presentations were followed by a discussion panel with Rebecca Burgess of Fibershed; Craig Wilkinson, Sonoma; Graham Keegan, Los Angeles; and a moderator, Yoshiko Wada, Berkeley.


Keynote speaker, botanist, phytochemist, and dyer, Michel Garcia presents a PowerPoint lecture on Indigo.

Shop Link to Michel Garcia’s latest DVD IV “Beyond Mordants & Indigo Intensive”

Shop Link to Michel Garcia’s DVD III “Organic Dyes to Pigments”

Shop Link to Michel Garcia’s DVD II “Colors of Latin America”

Shop Link to Michel Garcia’s DVD I “Colors of Provence”

Curator, Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada’s gallery talk at “African American Quilts,” exhibited at the Festival of Quilts, Birmingham, U.K. 2007, and Nagoya Dome, World Quilt Carnival, Nagoya, Japan, 2005.  Recorded by Andrew Galli of Galli Creative.

Currently, the UC Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive is hosting the Rosie Lee Tompkins: Retrospective Exhibition, February 19 – July 19, 2020. Lawrence Rinder, BAMPFA Director gives a visual tour of the exhibiton.

Sunshine & Surprise, African American Quilts

From the Collections of Eli Leon and Robert & Helen Cargo.

Yoshiko Wada curated and presented for the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, U.K. 2007, this wonderful exhibition of African American Quilts from major private collectors in the USA. The work represents living and deceased artists who work with scrap fabrics to produce traditional log cabin and unconventional designs on cloth. Arbie Williams’ “Britches Quilt” sees the transformation of overalls set against a floral background — complete with brand labels and pockets. Rosie Lee Tompkins “Three Sixes” quilt is actually the work of “Effie Mae Howard” who would not allow her real name to be used in her work until after her death. This exhibition includes several acclaimed African American artists whose works are now in major private and public collections.

Link to the Women of Color Quilters’ Network website

Link to Quilting for Culture, Bisa Butler video

Link to Bisa Butler, African Fabric and Quilt

Further Reading: The Radical Quilting of Rosie Lee Tompkins by Roberta Smith for the New York Times, June 29, 2020.

Special Opportunity: UC BERKELEY BAMPFA’s Rosie Lee Tompkins Retrospective Virtual Tour

Colloquium at the UC Berkeley Art Museum: Re-visioning the Art of Rosie Lee Tompkins 

Textile researcher Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada and boro collector and book editor, Kim Shuefftan discuss Japanese boro textiles in their collections. Filmed by Andrew Galli of Galli Creative. 

Boro (Rag) Mended Textile from Rural Japan

The Japanese term “boro” refers to objects that have been used, broken, and in the case of textile, worn to tatters and sometimes extensively repaired and used beyond their expected life cycle. Boro which once meant a ‘rag’ or castaway cloth, now means a great deal more.  Boro inspired textile connoisseurs to amass collections; fashion designers to incorporate tatters and repairs in their work; some artists to mimic the mending language; and museums and galleries to host boro exhibitions since 2000. 

Virtual exhibition Tour of Japan Society’s Boro Textiles: Sustainable Aesthetics

Shop Link to Sashiko Thread from Japan

Shop Link to Nui Shibori Thread from Japan

Catharine Ellis’s Woven Shibori Scarfs

Developed by weaver and dyer Catharine Ellis (North Carolina, USA) in the 1990s, these woven shibori scarf blanks utilize weaving structure as a resist technique. Inspired by traditional Japanese nui (stitched) shibori, the blanks are woven with supplemental weft threads which create resist patterns upon gathering.

You can learn more about the woven shibori process in Catharine’s book, Woven Shibori and see Slow Fiber Studios Collection of Woven Shibori Scarfs here.