Hey Minnesota, Indigo Griots love the heat!

Surface Design Association 2011 International Conference in Minneapolis,  Minnesota, USA  started Today 9 June 2011!!!

and 2nd day of Indigo Griots – Tales in Making an indigo vat celebrated with Cecile Margaret Lewis.


What is a Griot some wonder?    Griots:  (gree-oh!): n.  A western Africa traveling  poet, performer, musicians  or storytellers whose function is to keep & perpetuate the oral traditions and history of a village or family.   Traditionally this oral history was the cultural knowledge repository of a community.  In the Mali Empire’s Mande Society this role is called jali.

Short catchup:

Tuesday 7 June:  2 Hours after landing in MSP (Minneapolis/St.Paul) I was in Ceci’s garden,  visiting the pond and plants, wilting in 39C/103F heat! ahhhh heat!

Wednesday 8 June:  Day of Natural Indigo vat preparation,  discussion,  colours and hard wood ash collection,  pH 12 !that’s good Ash!! 😉


Here is our announcement posted at SDA Confluence 2011:

japanese indigo (polygonum tinct.)  in bloom

indigo from garden on cloth plants in Ceci's garden of colours

Indigo Griots features hands-on creation in a natural, local site entwined with story-sessions and dye-pots.   This unique exploratory installation & interactive performance will be presented for the first time in South Minneapolis, visit during Confluence’s run on Saturday June 11th &  Sunday June 12th at 4308 Oakland Ave. South,  Minneapolis.

Blending Ash, Plant-cakes, Water and Heat we catch Magic on our cloth.  Indigo is an elemental which grabs a’hold of a heart in search of perfect love and never lets go.    We meld dyer’s arts with plant-bacteria symbiosis, stirring, laughing, singing, breathing earth and fire.  We will share stories of magic & life as Urban North American, Multi-cultural artists, chanting primordial songs of community, transformation and joy.

Valérie d. Walker & Cecile Margaret Lewis, are creating an improvisational Indigo dye-shed immersive art experience featuring natural Indigo dyeing & story-sessions around the dye pots, at 4308 Oakland Ave South, Minneapolis MN 55407, USA. We will also explore the pond and natural environment across the road in this multi-ethnic Urban locale. We warmly invite all Confluence attendees and the public to visit and take part in creating new colorful stories.

Coaxing nature’s colours onto cloth in the old-ways, we re-learn how to care for and heal our Earth and transform our future. We will celebrate with surprise visits from sound artist & teacher Douglas Ewart  http://douglasewart.com/home.cfm during the public performance times.

Public Schedule for Indigo Griots :

Saturday 11 June:  11:30 am – 12:45 pm   & 5 – 7pm,  (watch us care for the indigo vat, share your stories!).

Sunday 12 June:  Dye-installation open to public from 2pm -> sunset (8:30pm).   Bring a well-washed, small amount cloth made of (cotton, silk, linen, hemp, rayon) to dip if the vat is ready for sharing!

Sunday is the final public presentation event,  the experience will continue on Monday morning with a closing ceremony of thanks.

Directions: From Radisson:  take 35W (south) to 46th street exit, turn Left onto 46th (easterly direction), go ~4 blocks then turn Left onto Oakland, 4308 is 3 blocks north.  Follow the cloth!

Indigo Griots thanks the Concordia University/CUPFA Professional Development Grant program for their support of this project.
Photo credits:  all photos by Cecile Margaret Lewis.

dye plants from Ceci's gardenindigo dyed, stitch-resisted images of hands and skulls, indigo dyed


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