London design studio JamesPlumb has revisited an antique textile that is created using medieval techniques, and has this time used it to create a limited edition bench.
The studio, made up of artists James Russell and Hannah Plumb, designed the piece as a continuation of its Burnished Indigo project. Unlike the previous collection, which included an elaborate lampshade and a Chesterfield sofa, JamesPlumb created the bench to showcase the “architectural qualities” of the textile when in its rawest form.
“The Indigo Bench is propriety disrupted. The Burnished Indigo fabric is worked hard. It’s bruised by hand, soaked, parched, closed, opened, attacked and rested; a beautiful, intriguing new chapter for a very old, almost ancient, thread. The bench is an assemblage using the cloth. A dual personality. Tightly buttoned unravels to unruly abandon. It is both opulent and ascetic. Serene, controlled and unfurled.”
The dying process, which the designers describe as a ritual, involves repeatedly submerging the fabric in the deep blue dye mixed with egg whites, ox or pig’s blood and fermented fruit juices to help the material take the colour.
The fabric is then beaten with wooden mallets or placed under large smooth rocking stones, to increase the level of sheen. Rather than dying fresh fabrics, JamesPlumb used existing material that had been treated using this technique.
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