Welcome to the Fall 2015 edition of the Turkey Red Journal. It was a great growing season in Chicago this year. The madder, weld, cota, woad and Japanese indigo all flourished in my natural dye garden. I have two plots, one in a community garden at North Park Nature Center and the other in the parkway in front of my house. Cota, Thelesperma megapotamicum, also called Navajo tea or Greenthread, did especially well and I am hoping that it will reappear next spring. With three good harvests of Japanese Indigo and a copy of John Marshall's new book, Dyeing with Fresh-Leaf Indigo, in hand, I invited my friend, Akemi Cohen over to try his methods. We spent a full afternoon preparing and dyeing fresh leaf indigo on silk. The results were beautiful, creating colors ranging from a soft blue to a green blue, depending on the silk fiber or the length of the dye process (see the photo on the left).
In this issue of the Turkey Red Journal, we have an article by Shelly Jyoti, "Ajrakh: Invoking History and Celebrating the Subaltern," which focuses on the historical, social and technical process of making Ajrakh textiles. Shelly, an artist, fashion designer, poet and an independent curator has developed the exhibition, Vastram: Splendid World of Indian Textiles, which recently opened in Muscat, Oman (http://www.shellyjyoti.com/vastram-splendid-world-of-indian-textiles-curated-by-shelly-jyoti-opens-in-muscat-oman). To learn more about Shelly's work visit the TRJ's archives (Vol. 18, Issue 1) to read about the two-person exhibition held at the Chicago Cultural Center in spring of 2013 that featured Shelly's and Laura Kina's work.
Sandra Loeffelmann's article, "Brick Red with Morinda" describes her travels to Thailand, visiting the Thai-Karen Community and participating in finding, digging, and dyeing with the root dye Morinda citrifolia, a locally indigenous tree in the Rubiaceae family. Sandra is the owner of Vermilio, a natural dye and fiber studio, where she sells fair trade natural clothing and accessories.
"The Acorn Chronicle" is Judith Musick's story of processing and dyeing with acorns, which fell in abundance all around in home in Lake County, Illinois. Judith is a tapestry weaver and dyer who combines historical methods and experimentation to create truly unique colors that she then weaves into story tapestries. Her piece, "Seascape in the Japanese Style with Stones" is currently touring with the Small Tapestry International exhibition sponsored by the American Tapestry Alliance. You can read another article by Judith, in TRJ Vol. 17, Issue 2: "On the natural dye trail: A few days in Luang Prabang, Laos."
John Marshall's article on fresh indigo dyeing and light-fastness, which was mentioned in the Spring 2015 "Dear Reader" column, will hopefully come out in the Spring 2016. John is busy working on different approaches to testing the process.
I will again be offering two natural dyes classes at the Chicago Botanic Garden in the spring of 2016. In March, 2016, a four day class, "Natural Dyes: Color Mixing," will focus on how to obtain hundreds of colors using 6 different light- and wash-fast natural dyes. In April, I will offer a one-day indigo scarf dyeing workshop where students will learn how to make a natural indigo vat and learn how to grow their own indigo-producing plants. Classes are held in a beautiful, well equipped science laboratory surround by one the world's most beautiful gardens. For more information contact the Chicago Botanic Garden at (847) 835-8261 or contact me directly at email@example.com.
We have moved to an open submission policy for articles, artwork, exhibit notices and reviews for for upcoming issues. We are interested in featuring dyers from around the world, so don't hesitate to submit your ideas for articles. Send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Back issues of the print version of the TRJ are still available for purchase. Contact me directly for further information. Please keep sending in your thoughts and suggestions. We appreciate all your comments.
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As always, a special thanks to Bob Feldman, our copy editor and webmaster for all his hard work.Pamela Feldman
Editor and Publisher