Unique Opportunity at the School of Folk Arts – Mississippi’s Best Community Newspaper
Through Paul D. Sullivan
Did you know that indigo was grown in Natchez as a cash crop a hundred years before cotton became king?
Natchez once had a thriving indigo industry on the river bank. Ships sailed from Natchez to England carrying processed indigo dye cakes to Natchez from locally grown indigo.
Indigo Natchez made its way into the blue uniforms of the British Navy in the early 1800s.
You can now learn traditional Nigerian indigo dyeing techniques at the Mississippi School of Folk Arts in Natchez. Gasali Adeyemo will be giving a four day workshop from Saturday May 29th to June 1st.
Gasali grew up in a Nigerian village, where he learned the ancient art of indigo. Gasali has taught his indigo course all over the world and we are lucky to have him in Natchez.
Indigo dyeing is a fascinating process, a combination of science and art.
The dyed fabric emerges from the dye vat a lemon-lime yellow color, which turns indigo blue when the fabric is exposed to air. The color changes only take a few minutes and you can watch your blue color emerge from the yellow!
Almost every culture in the world has a tradition of indigo dyeing. Gasali will teach us how to use natural casava paste and chicken feathers to create traditional patterns, how to create the natural indigo vat, and other secrets of the mystical indigo dyeing process.
The tuition fee includes all materials, as well as the fabric and clothing to be dyed during the course.
There are still spaces for the workshop, which is limited to 10 people. The cost is $ 375.
Also join us for a “meet the artist” event on Friday evening, May 28 from 5 pm to 7 pm at the folk school. Refreshments will be served and Gasali’s work will be on display.
Finally, the school is holding a free tie-dye workshop for children in grades five and up on June 2 and 3, 2021. There are two time slots each day, one at 9 a.m. and one at 3:30 p.m., and classes last an hour and a half.
We can accommodate up to 90 children, spread over the four sessions, and hope to fill every seat. Please give your child a chance to experience indigo dyeing. Children will learn traditional tie-dye techniques and design and dye a handkerchief provided by the school.
Humans have been staining indigo for thousands of years all over the world. Now is the time for your children to join the tradition. They will not forget the magic of indigo and will come home with an indigo-dyed handkerchief that they dyed with their own hands.
The school is located at 209 E. Franklin St., Natchez. Please call 601-493-4242, or go online at msfolkart.org/product-page/children-s-introduction-to-indigo-tie-dye to register. The email address is [email protected]
The Mississippi School of Folk Arts is teaching a number of classes for children and adults this summer. Come see what we do and learn with us!
Paul D. Sullivan is co-founder and director of the Mississippi School of Folk Arts.