All posts tagged: Mali textiles

on perfection (and indigo)

Did you know that you’re perfect ? In case you needed to hear it … Not perfect like that. Not in the ways you wish for when no one’s looking. Not in the ways that nibble at your edges and wear them down sometimes. You’re perfect in the sense of whole. Full. Complete. Enough. You’re perfect like a stretch of indigo cloth: nobody is looking at those few ragged threads, and faded fibers have character. But the long view, the full view, the ensemble: it’s miraculous, it’s delightful, it’s perfection. And so are you. . . . Images from a Malian indigo atelier, put on by Sékou Tours. Indigo is a lesser-known Malian miracle, the little sister of Bogolan. See this beautiful  article on one of Mali’s indigo stars.

on the colors of bazin

Bazin, in all its sartorial glory: billowing swaths of starchy, stiff fabric, to make any regular person seem instantly regal (and, in the hot season, suspiciously insulated). Bazin is an Instant-Royalty sort of trick that nudges the back of your mind with thoughts like “Where’s he going?” “Who could she be?” and “What a handsome couple they make!” I hadn’t been to a bazin atelier previously, though I’d seen the flags of fabric clipped to clotheslines and flapping in the breeze from afar. A friend asked me to take a few family photos at just such a spot; It was a brilliant idea, and played beautifully in photographs. Here are a a few, mostly from the “B-roll.” Bazin is a Malian specialty, and ateliers pop up throughout the city and on its edges, inside markets, in back alleys, and in cramped residential neighborhoods. The women who dye work hard, bent at the waist over buckets of dark liquid, creating something akin to the most impressive tie-dye job you’ve ever seen, yielding a dignified stretch of fabric with haute …