Indigo, that deep, nearly black, shade of blue, is one of the oldest dye colors in the world. Made from the Indigofera plant family, cultures all over the globe use indigo dye in their traditional textiles. At The Jungalow, we’re really into the resist dyed indigo cloth that many countries in Western Africa, like Mali, Nigeria, Burkina Faso,and Senegal, have been crafting for centuries.
Techniques can vary from culture to culture in West African indigo, but most patterns are generally created by resist dyeing with the designs either painted or stenciled on in wax or a starch paste; or a method using stitching, folding, or tying to prevent the dye from coloring the whole cloth.
We’re always finding new ways to add more pattern and color into a room, and indigo cloth is especially fun because you can usually find it as whole pieces of fabric, so you can do pretty much anything with it! Remember the Dogon cloth from Mali we used to cover a table in our charity design project? We’ve also used that same piece as a rug, an ottoman cover, and a runner! And the longer pieces of Bamana strip woven cloth (also from Mali) that we used as curtains in our Amazing Anastasia shoot? You may have also noticed them covering a couch in last week’s Afribo post– versatile, right?
We’re not the only ones looking to bring more West African indigo in though- we love the cloth wallpaper L’aviva Home created using traditional indigo patterns from Burkina Faso as their source. It’d even be fun to get a similar look using a piece of cloth pinned to the wall!
Have you fallen for indigo too? We’d love to hear how you’re using it! And if you’re looking for some of your own- check out our favorite West African indigo picks on Etsy!