Thursday, May 14, 2015

Our New Products

With our new and expanded natural dye pallet - including indigo blue from our own farm - we are excited to present our new product lines.

Mirvit has been working on a line of tableware including these gorgeous shibori place mats and serviettes, dyed with indigo and madder root. 

Mirvet added a series of hand 'couched' wool coasters to protect your table. We hand spun the wool in the traditional way our grandmothers taught us and dyed it using all natural dyes.

With our home grown indigo we are making wonderful hand stencilled patterns like this rosette based on the stone carvings at Jordan's own Castle Mashta.

- a design that works well on cushion covers and scarves. 

Speaking of scarves, Weesal has designed a beautiful line of gauzy delicate colors using shibori techniques and dyes such as madder root, indigo, pomegranate and mushroom. She uses the white cotton called bwal traditionally used for men's head dress which is the finest available. 

We are also working with canvas to make these practical shopping bags in bold stripes - all created with natural dyes. Fatme is the seamstress.

Our families will always be our main love and inspiration so we enjoy embroidering these images of our children - using thread dyed only with plants and minerals. The image is made with a resist that uses mud from the Dead Sea.

We embroidered chickens from our homes. 

And some of the cats who live in our town of Safi. 

Of course there are camels in the town of Safi too. But we took this wonderful image from the 1500 year old mosaics at Mount Nebo, where Moses is said to be buried.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Sky Blue Thinking

We have processed and used indigo from our own farm! 

Safi Crafts had access to many forms of yellow dye from such things as pomegranate and ochre earth and we recently added reds from madder root which grows wild here, but blue was an important missing element. With the financial help of the Drosos Foundation with the guidance of UNESCO we planted an indigo farm and have now a full colour pallet of red, yellow and blue with all of the secondary colours of oranges, greens and purples.

Indigo is chemically tricky to process so we invited dye experts from Oman to teach us. Here Fatme learns how to soak and agitate the indigo leaves in a vat of warm water. 

After the leaves ferment there is some blue dye soluble in the water - but it needs to be concentrated. The next step is to add oxygen by whisking the water. Our agronomist, Dr Mohammad Qinna made our wooden whisk based on palm frond whisks used in Oman.

Whisking creates a green foam and the oxygen makes the indigo become insoluble and precipitate to the bottom of the vat - like fine sand.

Once the indigo settles to the bottom of the vat the water is poured off.


It is then the sludge is poured onto cotton to dry.

Here is the processed indigo ready to use. 

Our first indigo dyed cloth from our own farm!

It's a historic crop here in the Southern Jordan Valley and this is a dye vat at the Museum at the Lowest Place on Earth excavated by archeologist Dr Konstantinos Politis- shown here speaking with one of our Omani visitors.

A huge thank you to the three wonderful experts from Oman from the women of Safi Crafts. Here is also our indigo dye teacher Jean Bradbury and UNESCO representative Valentina Gamba.