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Friday, October 23, 2015

New Book Explores Indigo History

Indigo Quilts: 30 Quilts from the Poos Collection by Kay and Lori Lee Triplett, two sisters who are quilt scholars, is like a breath of fresh air. The book, published by C&T Publishing in 2015, features 120 pages, 25 antique quilts from the private (Poos) collection, (along with provenance about each of them), and five projects that include pattern pull-out sheets. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, the origins of the use of indigo as a dye agent are explored and connections are made with Africa. In the introduction, the authors state the following:

"Many researchers have focused on India's role in indigo cultivation, use, and trade. However, this book proposes that the people of Africa provided important, centuries-old knowledge of the dye when they were brought to the American colonies as slaves and came as free Africans in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries."

The authors received the Lucy Hilty Research Grant and the Meredith Scholar Award from the American Quilt Study Group to fund their research. They concede that much more work needs to be done to piece together the "African influence" puzzle but their book is certainly a good place to start!
A treasure-trove of information, well-illustrated with quality photos, the book provides end notes that could lead to further research. There could be a lot more to discover about the African influence on textiles in America as more connections are made. This is a book that is truly enjoyable and informative!

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