In Pursuit of Color – New Publication Looks at the Rich and Turbulent History of Dyes, Eli Anapur, δημοσίευση στο Widewalls [18/2/2023]
Throughout history, people used colors to mark their status, from the Byzantium emperors who wore purple robes and whose children were referred to as born in purple — purple being one of the rarest colors that could be found symbolizing wealth and power — to dresses embellished with gold worn by many dignitaries, both secular and sacral, around the world.
The fascination with color, as something derived from nature but also altered and produced by humans, has a long tradition. Art and textile production often overlap when it comes to color use as well — one of the examples is the application of Yves Klein’s blue and Mondrian’s color combinations on various high-end garments.
In order to unpack the lost folk practices and technical processes of dyeing cloth, a Canadian-born multidisciplinary artist, designer, and founder of the London, UK textiles studio Working cloth, Lauren MacDonald, wrote a book focusing on color and the origins of the world’s most famous dyes titled In Pursuit of Color, From Fungi to Fossil Fuels: Uncovering the Origins of the World’s Most Famous Dyes.
In Search of Lost Dyeing Traditions
The story of the book starts with a viral video from 2017. In it, a pack of indigo-colored dogs emerges from Mumbai’s Kasadi river, which sparked interest in anthropologist and textile artist Lauren MacDonald to begin an obsessive search for insights into coloring cloth, a practice that is both ancient and wholly modern.
In the book, MacDonald examines how folk practices have been lost to technological advancements and the technical processes that supplemented them. The author particularly focuses on substances that had a pivotal role in the history of dyeing as it unfolded over the centuries.
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