Fruits of the loom
Textile artist, Anna Keene retired to Saba after 25 long years away. She came back to weave in peace and to work with the indigo that now grows wild on the island introducing Saba Blue. Anna harvests, processes, and dyes with indigo and other native plants right on the island. While she often uses ready-made garments to work the traditional Japanese craft of Shibori, she also creates garments from her own handwoven material and store bought yardage. All her fibers are natural including cotton, rayon, and silk. On occasion, she uses chemical dyes to create a more colorful palette.
Indigo processing is hurry up and wait. The leaves are harvested and immediately immersed in buckets of water while she waits for the pigment to become soluble in a couple days. It is then strained, brought to ph 10 with lime which is also a flocculent, and aerated for about 20 minutes, waiting again while the pigment settles out taking about 3 days. The water is strained off and a beautiful blue sludge is left in the bottom of the bucket. It is now ready for the dye vat. The dye bath is created by bringing the ph back up to 10 with soda ash, the temperature to 100 degrees and introducing sodium hydrosulfite to remove all the oxygen from the water. The vat cools down and fabric is dipped into it. It comes out lime green and as the air hits it, the magic happens, and the fabric turns blue. Successive dips create the darker blues.
Anna’s Shibori skills include not only the old hippie tie dye with rubber bands but also clamping, pole wrapping, stitching and experimenting.
Anna works and teaches workshops at The Studio at Juliana’s Hotel. Workshops can be arranged through Sea Saba or the hotel.