January 26th, 2021 / posted by paularath

Jack and Sadie, adorable shih tzus, snow doggies in Dad’s Cooperstown back yard

When my dear friend Darius Homayounpour, who often simplifies his name to Darius Homay, moved to the mainland, I was devastated.

Darius is the man who introduced me to indigo dyeing, one of my passions. He was the primary enabler for my indigo habit. On many Sunday mornings he fed my habit, allowing me to get elbow-deep in his vat. He kept his vat healthy, a challenging feat all indigo-lovers understand and appreciate.

So when Darius moved to Cooperstown, where the winters are brutally cold and snowy, I wondered if the vat would survive. After all, it can become a vatcicle (his clever term) in winter time.

Darius’ Indigo Vatcicle after a snowstorm

So how does Darius handle the frigid Upstate New York winters? “The vat freezes during the winter; I just make sure it’s not too full.  I installed a great sink (double, stainless steel sink with sideboards) in the basement studio so that I can have a vat going in winter.  And since my basement is unheated, I use a ‘trough heater’ to warm the vat, essentially an immersion heater on steroids to keep cattle troughs from freezing.  Works like a charm.  Only wish I had known about these when I was teaching at the Donkey Mill up in chilly coffee country on the Big Island.”

Darius has an eviable studio in Cooperstown.

Darius worked at the Honolulu Academy of Arts (now Honolulu Museum of Art, or HoMA) as the collection manager in the Textile Department. He has a deep knowledge of textiles from all over the world.

In his adopted community of Cooperstown, New York, Darius has found a welcoming community of artists, who are appreciating his many textile-related talents, as a curator and teacher.  In July, 2019, he curated a show called “Indigo/Blue.” it featured three artists who are indigo-dyers (there are three indigo vats in Cooperstown…sigh), as well as other artists in various media inspired by the blue of indigo. This show was held at The Art Garage, one of Cooperstown’s art centers.


In addition, Darius added, is “Cooperstown Art Association’s gallery in the village hall (isn’t that quaint?), and The Smithy, an historic building-turned gallery, both under the same umbrella. I’m a member of the CAA and sold indigo-dyed shibori at their holiday sale.”  http://www.cooperstownart.com

A recent work by Darius Homay

Darius is also discovering some new natural dye materials in Cooperstown. Instead of hibiscus and turmeric, popular dyes in Hawaii, he is using goldenrod, but only in the summer and fall.  Above is a piece he completed recently, patchworked from fabrics shibori-dyed in indigo and goldenrod. “And yes,” he wrote wistfully, “I’m dreaming of summer and fall and the life outdoors.”

You can take the boy out of Hawaii, but you can’t take Hawaii out of the boy. I’m hoping, when things begin to open up more here, Darius will return on occasion to teach a workshop at HoMA or U.H.-Manoa. How happy many of us would be to get our hands (or arms) deep into an indigo dye bath!

Paula Rath






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