Hello! It’s Erika from small shop, with another edition of “Design Under the Influence!” Today’s topic I have to admit has kind of been an obsession of mine lately…indigo blue pillows! Whether tie-dyed, dip-dyed, block printed or ikat, I am all about the relaxed jumble of perfectly pretty blue patterns lined up on a sofa or bed.
Upon doing a little research on indigo dyes, the mass planting, production and processing of this natural plant extract originates in India. It is one of the oldest pigments used for direct/block printing and dyeing of textiles. Arab merchants transported it during Greco-Roman times, even as far back as 7th century BC. Ancient Greeks coined the term indikón (“Indian”) for the pigment, which the Romans called indicum, eventually making it into English as the word indigo.
China, Japan and other Asian countries have been using indigo for centuries. Up until the 20th century, indigo was the primary dye used in Japan. West Africans have been using indigo in textiles for centuries as well. In the 16th century, that Portuguese, Dutch, and English traders brought it to Europe from India with the establishment of direct trade routes. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Americans began to plant and utilize the dye, but in the late 19th century, a synthetic replacement was developed and now is the substance used in the majority of modern day indigo dye applications (such as blue jeans).
To break down some of the dyeing techniques indigo is used in, I created this handy chart:
(Find these pillows and much more from my companion post today!)
What a history this global traveler has had! Intrigued as I am? Let’s get a sense of what an indigo hue can do for a room:
Convinced? Then come on over to small shop today for some of my current fave indigo blue pillow picks!
*For a shibori DIY, check out this tutorial by Honestly…WTF!