Blue days this week at Anne Leon’s studio in Mullumbimby, dipping banana paper into vats of strong smelling indigo to see how the dye will react wth the banana paper. I also tried wax resist during the dying process with a tjanting which allows the melted wax to feed into a stylus like drawing tool. I was a bit worried when I had to wash the paper afterwards, subjecting it to boiling water to melt off the wax. Amazingly the banana paper held up to such treatment, the water enhancing the paper with a bubbly texture.
I was keen to get the paper into the studio to see what other interventions I could impose on its surface. Screen printing and monoprinting, keeping the banana trunk and leaf theme with the screen prints as a test sample for colour, shape and contrast. I was very happy with the results and keen to try more indigo dying.
My interest in indigo was aroused by reading about an indigo/sound collaborative project I am Ai, We are Ai, which was a two site installation in the Tokushima Prefecture, Japan and Illinois, USA. The two installations included multichannel recordings of the many processes involved in making indigo dye together with over two hundred pieces of indigo dyed cloth. Sound artist Norbert Herbert collaborated with fibre artist Rowland Ricketts in the project which combined immersive sound practice with the techniques and philosophy of Tokushima’s traditional indigo culture. To read more and listen to the soundscape go to the website: http://iamai.jp/en/soundstreams.html
The idea of an immersive sound installation all about the banana paper making processes is very appealing. Perhaps it indicates a future direction……
 Norbert Herber, “Awa Surfers: Riding the Syncretic Dynamics of Sound Art and Traditional Japanese Indigo,” Organised sound suppl. “The Sound of Cultures” 19.2 no. August (2014).