Last year Stuart found himself in Mali en route to the remote Jazz festival of ‘Festival au Desert.’ While there Stuart wandered through villages, alleys and streets in search of local weavers and indigo dyers to learn more about their craft. In Mali weaving is generally done by men, although woman do have an important roll in the carding, preparing and spinning of the thread. The cotton or wool is woven in narrow strips and later sewn together to form clothes and blankets. Today commercial machine woven textiles are readily available in Mali but the craft is still valued and is used for wedding gifts and other ceremonial occasions. Stuart could not resist in giving the traditional hand loom weaving a try and apparently way more difficult than it looks!
The traditional dying method using Indigo is still practiced in Mali. Indigo is the most versatile of all natural dyes and comes from the young leaves of an indigo plant.