July 25th, 2011 / posted by paularath

Indigo Artist Darius Homayounpour

Yesterday marked the opening of Darius Homayounpour’s one-man show, “Blue Feet: Tales from the Life of an Indigo Dyer” at Hawaii Pacific University Art Gallery.

It was Darius who first introduced me to the magic of indigo and I am forever grateful. His indigo vat holds magic for me and has been a boon to my art.

The title of the show, “Blue Feet,” comes from the fact that, as a local boy, Darius dyes while wearing rubbah slippahs so his feet are perenially blue.

"Moon Noren," six hemp panels dyed with cochineal, madder, weld, persimmon tannin and indigo. It's a style called itajime (clamped) shibori.

In this show, Darius experimented with various fibers  (hemp, handmade paper, silk taffeta, silk charmeuse) and a variety of dyeing materials in addition to indigo (persimmon tannin, cochineal, madder, weld and fiber reactive dyes). He also employed interesting techniques for wrapping, clamping and shibori to create other-worldly shapes and shadows.

"Many Moons in Another Sky," hemp, indigo, itajime shibori, pieced together.

Silk taffeta, fiber reactive dyes, ori-nui shibori (stitched).

The art community came out in force to see what Darius has been up to.

"Make a Break for It," hemp, persimmon tannin over-dyed with indigo.

I just bought a book called “Indigo: In Search of the Color That Seduced the World,” by Catherine E. McKinley. I love the the first paragraph, which reads:

“Blue is one of nature’s rarest colors. Indigo, a dye obtained from the tiny leaves of small parasitic shrubs that are part of the Indigofererarsa tribe, creates the bluest of blues. For almost five millennia, in every culture and every major religion, indigo has been one of the world’s most valued pigments. No color has been prized so highly or for so long, or been at the center of such turbulent human encounters.”

Here is more of Darius’ work, all inspired by the magic of indigo:

"Three Moons," hemp, persimmon tannin, indigo, itajime shibori.

"Shadow Moon," hemp, indigo, itajime shibori.

"Bolt Hole," silk charmeuse, fiber reactive dyes, ori-nui shibori.

If you missed the opening, don’t fret. You did miss some great jazz, but the show will be up through September 16.

Mahalo to artist Sanit Khewhok for the great work he does as curator of the HPU Gallery.

– Paula Rath

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