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Marlies Neugebauer

A little late to the indigo party but welcoming my order of natural Indigo dyed tote bags and table cloths from Tensira a few weeks ago made me want to share a few facts about this deep midnight blue, often referred to as blue gold...

I ordered the bags after admiring them on the internet and although dark blue is my favourite color and I am familiar with real indigo, I was still blown away by the brightness and depth of the colours of the bags and throws when I opened the box. Nothing beats mother nature's true colors!



Besides being one of the seven colors of the rainbow (between deep blue and violet), indigo is among the oldest dyes to be used for textile dyeing and printing in Asia, North America and West Africa. Indigo can be obtained from a variety of plants, but is mostly devived from the plant Indigofera. 

The primary use is as a dye for cotton yarn, which is mainly for the production of denim cloth for blue jeans, in the old days. A large percentage of indigo dye produced today - several thousand tons each year is synthetic.



However, Tensira's indigo designs are all natural and unique. Obtained by the traditional vegetal indigo dye that has been passed on from generation to generation in Africa. Indigo was the foundation of centuries-old textile traditions throughout West Africa. From the Tuareg nomads of the Sahara to Cameroon. Clothes dyed with indigo signified wealth.

The patterns on Tensira's textiles are created by artisans in West Africa with the 'tie and dye' method where each dot is separately attached before dying and detached after dying. All fabrics are 100% cotton, hand-spun, hand woven and hand dyed in workshops in Africa.

Tensira's mission is to develop a long-lasting activity for West African craft communities and encourage an ecologically responsible mode of consumption.

You can find the indigo Tote bags and table throws in our store here.