Thursday, November 20, 2014


An indigo world quilt-100% proceeds goes to charity.

Using instagram September 15th 2014 I called upon indigo dyers from around the world to send pieces of hand dyed indigo to Ambatalia. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to International Rivers. This quilt is for sale, please send me an email if you are interested

Indigo dyers from Japan, Australia, Thailand and around the United States have sent us indigo,  people that are local to the bay area did the hand stitch work.

Special thanks to West Coast Craft for giving us the space and support.

Since 1985, International Rivers has been at the heart of the global struggle to protect rivers and the rights of communities that depend on them.
We work with an international network of dam-affected people, grassroots organizations, environmentalists, human rights advocates and others who are committed to stopping destructive river projects and promoting better options.
We seek a world where healthy rivers and the rights of local communities are valued and protected. We envision a world where water and energy needs are met without degrading nature or increasing poverty, and where people have the right to participate in decisions that affect their lives.
Based in four continents, our staff has expertise in big dams, energy and water policy, climate change, and international financial institutions. We support partner organizations and dam-affected people by providing advice, training and technical

assistance, and advocating on their behalf with governments, banks, companies and international agencies. The focus of our work is in Latin America, Asia and Africa.

I feel its a very special time in history where western artisans are wanting to be more connected to the true art form and color of the ancient ways of dying with plants. Gratitude goes to the master dyers around the world that Kept this magical color alive. 

The design of this quilt was inspired by the Japanese"boro" style of stiching indigo dyed rags to mend over and over again. Their tradition was born out of necessity and mending what they had. "To Mend" in my own words means to care for something that has great value and purpose. Ultimatley I want to connect! The rivers connecting and flowing to the oceans inspires me to connect indigo dyers together through the process of making this quilt. I need connection to others in the same way to keep my passion alive and my heart at peace. Tapping into my creativity and resourcefulness in this way gives me the most pleasure in my day. Indigo blue is a reflextion of our rivers, sky and oceans and a patchwork of healing hands stretched across the world echoing " I am a part of this" is where the magic happens.
I believe when you are touched by beauty, you want to protect it.  A child's smile. A pristine river or a hand stitched indigo quilt. The more and more connections we make the better chance we have to move in a positive direction.

     photo by Daniel Dent

 Celine from Atelier Thibault

Giveindigo local stitchers:
Bayle Doetch
Jackie Lalane
Cynthia Samson
Caty Woodstom
Anie Schafer
Laurie Moorhead
Vickie Feldstein
Avila Giraudie

Renee Beaudoin, Seattle, WA

 Elizabeth Leslie from Mujo store in Kyoto, Japan
Leslie Leslie ( vintage piece from Japan) from Mill Valley, CA
Gasali Adeyemo, Santa Fe, NM

Therapy from Sydney, Austrailia

katrina Rodabaugh from Oakland, CA

Dustin Kahn from Studio blue design CA
Niki Tsukamoto from Lookout and wonderland  L.A, CA

Territory Designs , Chicago, IL ( piece from Thailand)
 Carolyn Robbins , San Rafael, CA
Mikaela Kate Hennessey, ( vintage piece from Africa) Santé Fe, NM
Holy Sweet
Luisa Franco Madge, Newtown Austrailia

Junichi Akahoshi, Fukuoka, Japan

Danny Mankin
 Maura Ambrose, Folkfibers  Austin, TX
 Rebekah Cantor, Marin, CA
Olivia Butrick, Brooklyn, NY

  Carrie Crawford Minerial Workshop, Fairfax, CA
Jody Alexander, Santa Cruz, CA
LeeAnn Bartolini, West Marin, CA
Jennette Nielsen, Monroe, WA

Of course Jess Brown had to come play!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Indigo adventure at Ambatalia

Here at Ambatalia we have built a fermented indigo vat made from the Japanese indigo plant called Polygonum Tictorium. This plant was grown and composted for 100 days here in northern California by Rebecca Burgess founder of Fibershed. Without her work and many volunteers I wouldn't have this opportunity to build this kind of vat.

I built this vat myself with guidance from Rolland Rickets techniques. Using composted indigo
( sukomo), hand made lye form hard wood ash, lime stone and bran. Every day I care for this vat by stirring twice a day and testing fabrics, smelling and feeling the vat between my fingers. Learning each day what it needs.

The history and magic of this natural permanent blue dye from the indigo plant ( many species) goes back 4000 years through out many countries of the world including  India, Japan, China, El Salvador, Africa, Indonesia and U. S. A just to name a few.

In south Carolina a million pounds where grown by slaves and shipped to England from 1740- 1776. In Bengal India from 1777 to 1859 Indigo was grown by peasants under brutal treatment by the planters instead of food. They finally refused to sow a single seedling of indigo with the support of Bengal called the indigo revolt in 1859, a fore runner of the non- violent passive resistance later successfully adopted by Gandhi.

Since the 1850's when synthetic dye was invented by English chemist Perkins and synthetic indigo indigo tine also used in food coloring today was invented by German chemist Boeyer, indigo dye from plants were used less and less. In 1897, 19,000 tons were produces by the plant, dropping to 1,000 tons by 1914.

In the last hundred years there have been a handful of master dyers around the world that have kept this tradition alive. Only in the last few years there has been a resurgence of interest and more and more artist that are now wanting to experience this ancient magical craft of dying with plant. Even though the Japanese vat is rare and more complex many are able to use the pre-reduced indigo purchased.

I have been inspired a long the way by many and from carrying beautiful indigo textiles in the old Ambatlia fabrics from Nike davies and Yasuo Nakajima to plenty of vintage indigo from all over the world. I feel fortunate to help build a compost floor with Rebecca Burgess guided by Rowland Ricketts and did a little indigo stomp.  I have followed many masters via internet for years like Aboubaker Fofana and Hiroyuki Shindo to national treasures like Ayano Chiba.

          Gratitude goes to the master dyers around the world that kept this magical
           Color of the ocean and sky alive for us to enjoy for the last few centuries.

sifting the hard wood ash

gorgeous husband building the vat space

creating the lye from the wood ash

stirring the lye from wood ash

creating the space

sukomo and 1st batch of lye

stirring the first steps

adding the bran

inviting the indigo spirit

there is hope