Set Backs, Disappointments, Misunderstandings, Unintentional Hurt Feelings, Longing & Desire Bound Up For Release
Every part of the natural plant-based dye process has a lesson. Momma Mary who lived in Georgetown, South Carolina transferred knowledge to me that binding the resist patterns was the most significant part of the process, not the mesmerizing color that comes at the end. “Bind up de troubles!” I can still hear her say in her thick Gullah language. I feel her presence whenever I’m “binding up my sorrows for release.”
We created the historical Algonquin and Gullah resist design patterns with tobacco twine and cotton sinew. The process always started with prayer and required that our heads be covered to help us focus according to Momma Mary’s teachings. My second secret ingredient in creating indigo cloth 2 dye 4 is sticking to Momma Mary’s teachings about the importance of the binding process. The prayers help create unique designs and recognizable manifestations on the cloth.
I listen to the recorded sound of the ocean, or to the songs of Native women when I’m binding up my sorrows for release. I use many contemporary binding materials not available to Momma Mary, like rubber bands and popsicle sticks. I continue to embed objects like seashells, glass marbles, twigs, herbs, and flowers like she taught me. I also continue her teaching about making lots of bundles to exhaust the dye pot instead of making a bundle, dyeing it, then making another bundle. The dye pot loses its energy every time you bring it to temperature and then cool it down. So when the dye pot is ready to roll, we dye.