An excerpt from Rowland Ricketts Rowland Ricketts, I am Ai, We are Ai - Returning Indigo, 2012. Evening view at Omiya Shrine, Tokushima Japan. Rowland Ricketts, I am Ai, We are Ai (warehouse installation, Tokushima Japan), 2012. Ramie dyed by indigo dyers throughout Japan who use the indigo grown and processed in Tokushima. Rowland Ricketts, Untitled - After Te-Ita, 2010. Indigo dyed karakul wool, and stones. 115 x 25 inches. Rowland Ricketts, Untitled (front view, Noren partition) 2013. Indigo dyed fine ramie, and paste resist. 80 x 78 inches. 32 gradated hemispheres on white ground. Rowland Ricketts, Past Present (detail), 2010. Indigo dyed karakul wool, mop cotton, and dried indigo. 30 x 45 feet. Installation at Wright State University. Photograph copyright by Rowland Ricketts. Rowland Ricketts, portrait of the artist.
An excerpt from Rowland Ricketts' lecture at FWM on October 17, 2014
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Rowland Ricketts, I am Ai, We are Ai - Returning Indigo, 2012. Evening view at Omiya Shrine, Tokushima Japan.
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Rowland Ricketts, I am Ai, We are Ai (warehouse installation, Tokushima Japan), 2012. Ramie dyed by indigo dyers throughout Japan who use the indigo grown and processed in Tokushima.
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Rowland Ricketts, Untitled - After Te-Ita, 2010. Indigo dyed karakul wool, and stones. 115 x 25 inches.
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Rowland Ricketts, Untitled (front view, Noren partition) 2013. Indigo dyed fine ramie, and paste resist. 80 x 78 inches. 32 gradated hemispheres on white ground.
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Rowland Ricketts, Past Present (detail), 2010. Indigo dyed karakul wool, mop cotton, and dried indigo. 30 x 45 feet. Installation at Wright State University. Photograph copyright by Rowland Ricketts.
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Rowland Ricketts, portrait of the artist.
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Growing Blue: Traditional Japanese Indigo in the Work of Rowland Ricketts

October 17, 2014–Friday at 6:00 pm

Opening Reception:
Public Lecture by Rowland Ricketts
FWM, 1214 Arch Street, Seventh Floor at 6:00 pm


The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) presents Growing Blue: Traditional Japanese Indigo in the Work of Rowland Ricketts. The traditional Japanese indigo process requires a year and involves many elaborate steps. In this lecture, indigo farmer and dyer Rowland Ricketts will discuss this elaborate, year-long process that leads from seed to dyed cloth and the ways in which this tradition serves as a spring board for his work.

I grow and process my own indigo (Polygonum tinctorium) using Japanese methods that are centuries old. The leaves are harvested, dried, and composted by hand to make the traditional Japanese indigo dyestuff called sukumo. The sukumo is in turn fermented in wood-ash lye to create a natural indigo vat.

My decision to work this way is one that consciously favors slower, natural processes and materials over more immediate, synthetic options. Today, with petroleum-derived indigo readily and cheaply available, my choice to plant, transplant, weed, harvest, winnow, dry, and compost the indigo by hand is not one of necessity. Instead it is a conscious act of recognition that all the energy extended in the farming and processing of the indigo plants is just as much a part of the final dyestuff as the indigo molecules themselves.

       -- Rowland Ricketts, artist statement

In May 2014, Ricketts worked with Kazumi Tanaka, an FWM Artist-in-Residence, to teach her Japanese indigo dye techniques. The processes and fabric manipulation methods Tanaka learned from Ricketts in Indiana are incorporated in Flow (2014), a major new work in her FWM exhibition Mother and Child Reunion. Also on view in the exhibition is a video documenting Tanaka’s FWM residency, including her collaboration with Ricketts. Kazumi Tanaka: Mother and Child Reunion is on view until November 9, 2014. We encourage our guests to visit the exhibition prior to the 6:00 pm lecture by Rowland Ricketts.

Bio
Rowland Ricketts utilizes natural dyes and historical processes to create contemporary textiles that span art and design. Trained in indigo farming and dyeing in Japan, Rowland received his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2005 and is currently an Associate Professor in Textiles at Indiana University’s Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Art. His work has been exhibited at the Textile Museum (Washington, DC), Cavin-Morris Gallery (New York), and Douglas Dawson Gallery (Chicago) and has been published in Textiles Now, FiberArts, Selvedge, Surface Design Journal, and Hand/Eye Magazine. Rowland is a recipient of a 2012 United States Artists Fellowship.